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Scrivener-like outliner for Windows?

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Posted by Edwin Yip
Sep 29, 2009 at 03:58 AM

 

Hi Sebastien,

Wow, ‘find related notes on the fly’ is very a very good idea, I have seen such a feature used in some online ticket system to avoid duplicated questions/request, I did not realize this can be such a help in writing, I’m glad and feel lucky that I jumped in this thread :)

Well, I would say the Writing Outliner will be pretty much that kind of tool you described in that thread, imagine this:
1. A treeview like the one in treepad being added to the left side of Word, upon clicking any of the node (document) the document will be shown in Word’s editor.

2. Each of the nodes (documents) can be viewed as index cards like the ones in SuperNoteCard.

3. When you type a new document (a draft or a note), Writing Outliner extracts all keywords from it and use the keywords to match other notes (BTW, should the drafts included in the search?) in the same writing project and list the matching notes on another pane inside Word.  Interesting!

Thank you for the good idea Sebastien!


Sebastien Berthet wrote:
>Hello Edwin,
> >Thank you very much for your words about CbC.
> >I did not want to say that
>Scrivener or Writing Outliner can be restrictive in some way. The fact is that there
>are merely two kinds of writers: those who have a plan and those who don’t. That said,
>this is not that binary, because there are part of a story that can still be fuzzy when I
>jump into the first draft. I mean there is a grey area between the “got plan” and “no
>plan” way…
> >On the other hand, what’s sure about writing tools is that they still
>don’t cover all the writing process. Here is a topic where I posted my “most wanted
>feature” in that eternal quest of the perfect
>outliner:
>http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/viewt/148
>Maybe Writing
>Outliner can do that?
> >Again, I will be happy to test your software. I will tell you if I
>can use it efficiently in my writing process. Please contact me directly when you can
>make it available.
>Kind regards,
> >Sebastien

 


Posted by Sebastien Berthet
Sep 29, 2009 at 06:26 PM

 

Hi Edwin,

I’m glad you like the idea! I’m always very enthusiastic about new projects, especially when it’s about writing software. And what you describe is very exciting and ambitious.

But it’s very hard to say how useful and efficient it will be.
I can only tell you how *I* intend to use it:

Here is what I have: a thousand of chaotic doc and txt files in separate folders.
Here is my problem: I don’t know how to *dig* into them!

So, your outliner would help me to:
- import them all
- see how they are “connected”
- add new ones and see on the fly the related notes (NB: note titles are irrelevant, most of them have no title at all, what matters is the excerpt around the matched keywords)
- copy/paste interesting notes to SuperNoteCard (cards) and Word (draft and final documents).

Understand I’m not only a long time user of MS Word, but also a long time user of SuperNoteCard (I suggested many features to Jason Block over the years, to the point I feel like he did this software partly for me!). And I don’t want to replace any of them…
I’m rather looking for a *companion* software that would bring a better “digital coverage” of my writing process. And, as of today, pre-writing is the bad duck (I use Treepad, but that’s not efficient for this purpose… mainly because of its lack of ?find related notes on the fly?).

Kind regards,

Sebastien

 


Posted by Edwin Yip
Sep 30, 2009 at 02:57 AM

 

Hi Sebastien,

Thank you for the detailed description on how you’ll intend to use such a tool, it really helps. Importing existing notes/draft documents is need not to mention a must must feature. Regarding seeing the connections between notes, I can see two ways to find the connections:

- Document tags. if two documents are tagged with the same tag there is a relation between them. This is the easiest way I think.
- Matching documents with excerpt (not only keywords) as you suggested, and this seems to be quite completed and it’ll need quite a lot of engineering work on it to make it speedy (You know I hate slow software ;-)).

Regarding the note cards, you sure have you preferences, but I’d like to mention that as a Scrivener-like writing software, a corkboard for arranging note card (index card) that is *tightly integrated* with the other parts of the writing system is a must :)


Edwin Yip
Writing Outliner - Turn Microsoft Word into an all-in-one writing software.
http://WritingOutliner.com

 


Posted by Sebastien Berthet
Sep 30, 2009 at 10:07 AM

 

Edwin,

Up to me, tags are OK if they are not written down by the user but *proposed* by your program (So I’m not sure if I can still call it a “tag”). Each word used for indexation would simply be shown up, as a tag candidate. What I mean is that “tags” should not represent another mandatory entry for the writer but a kind of degree of control to indexation. For example, one of the indexed word may be removed by the user if he/she thinks this word is not relevant to the overall meaning of the note.

It may sound obvious, but please use the synonym engine of MS Word to find the related notes! This feature would justify by itself to have an outliner *inside* MS Word (even if automation can be used externally, like CbC does).

If you mix the two paragraphs above, imagine the writer choosing the right synonym for each proposed tag. This way, he/she can narrow the meaning of the note, and thus increase the chance of your search algorithm to pop up this note on the fly at the best moment in a later session…

Sebastien

 

 


Posted by Edwin Yip
Oct 9, 2009 at 06:56 AM

 

Sebastien,

Sorry for replying late, I was in a vacation. Thank you for the further suggestion on the index, using synonym is a good idea, though I’m not sure will it work, even Google does not use synonym to match contents…

PS. I assume you mean the thesaurus function of MS Word by ‘the synonym engine of MS Word’, please correct me if I’m wrong.

Sebastien Berthet wrote:
>Edwin,
> >Up to me, tags are OK if they are not written down by the user but *proposed* by
>your program (So I’m not sure if I can still call it a “tag”). Each word used for
>indexation would simply be shown up, as a tag candidate. What I mean is that “tags”
>should not represent another mandatory entry for the writer but a kind of degree of
>control to indexation. For example, one of the indexed word may be removed by the user
>if he/she thinks this word is not relevant to the overall meaning of the note.
> >It may
>sound obvious, but please use the synonym engine of MS Word to find the related notes!
>This feature would justify by itself to have an outliner *inside* MS Word (even if
>automation can be used externally, like CbC does).
> >If you mix the two paragraphs
>above, imagine the writer choosing the right synonym for each proposed tag. This way,
>he/she can narrow the meaning of the note, and thus increase the chance of your search
>algorithm to pop up this note on the fly at the best moment in a later
>session…
> >Sebastien
> >

 


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