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Fiction vs. Nonfiction writing/software

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Sep 3, 2008 at 05:18 PM


Well, I suppose it is true that nonfiction is often—though not always (think of the great true crime accounts)—more linear than fiction, so might need less emphasis on structuring tools… so an information manager and a word processor would certainly serve one’s purpose. However, there are many tasks in nonfiction that could be made much more quick and painless with the right software. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be in a long history to track all the footnotes and sources. It seems to me that this in and of itself is crying out for a software… IdeaMason is built to do this arduous work, but seems too unweildy. The question is, is it the developer’s lack of skill, the coding environment (I think IM uses .NET technology - notoriously clunky), or the complexity of the function that is to blame.

Perhaps, as is the case with Scrivener, Page Four and Liquid Story Binder, most of the people behind these projects are themselves aspiring novelists, and they are building the software they wish to use. (Oh, and I’ve thought of another application specifically for fiction writing: yWriter.)

I still find this an intriguing topic—and one that’s a little frustrating for those of us, like me, whose focus is on nonfiction writing.

Steve Z.