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Posted by David Fass
Dec 9, 2008 at 10:56 PM


For myself, on Windows I like yWriter for writing and SuperNoteCard for organizing.  Both are very well thought-out programs, IMHO. —Dave


Posted by JohnK
Dec 12, 2008 at 02:14 AM


I’ve been looking at this area recently—software to produce a first draft of longer pieces of fiction. A text editor with a few bells and whistles to help me organise my thoughts. No bloat allowed. I looked at Whizfolders but it just seemed like….too much. A bit over-the-top for the relatively simple task of structuring long pieces of text.

At the moment I’ve got my list down to two options. First up is Writer’s Cafe/Storylines, which others have already mentioned. Version 2 does have a nicer feel to it, and it does everything I need, including outputting the completed draft to a single text file, for final preparation in Word.

The other option is NoteTab Pro (http://www.notetab.com/). The “outline file” option in NoteTab Pro works well—breaking a single document down into units (e.g. chapters/scenes) and again with a straightforward export option to a “standard” text file. And if you can handle a little bit of scripting, the NoteTab “clips” feature allows you to do a lot of tidying up of your project before you export. I wrote a script to remove all headings in the outline file, check the number of spaces after periods and remove blank lines, leaving me with a perfectly formatted document. Powerful stuff.

I’m still not sure which is the best option, but the minimalist in me is leaning towards NoteTab. The only annoying thing is that it’s probably the only text editor in existence that I don’t have a licence for. My existing editors (EmEditor/Textpad/Boxer….) don’t have an outline option that works as well as NoteTab. Might be time to complete my collection of text editors…


Posted by JohnK
Dec 12, 2008 at 10:45 AM


Slight amendment to my post above. It’s now a three-horse race. The Journal (http://www.davidrm.com/thejournal/index.php) is also a pretty good option for drafting long chunks of text, with a pleasant interface and good export options when you’re done. Decisions, decisions…


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Dec 12, 2008 at 01:12 PM



I know what you mean about NoteTab. There is something very enticing about its simple, plain-text interface. I often use NT for writing… usually after I’ve struggled to get something coherent written in another program. While I’ve bought a license for the Standard version, I have not yet used the outlining function. Maybe I’ll have to give it a try.

Steve Z.


Posted by Derek Cornish
Dec 15, 2008 at 02:58 AM


Steve (and JohnK)

I used Notetab Pro for my last writing project. The “outlining” features really only provide a simple Table-of-Contents. But it is surprisingly useful to be able to navigate section headings in this way.

Here are some of the downsides as I recall them:

1. Bookmarks do not work across outline documents (i.e., sections). Even moving out of one section cancels its bookmark(s). This means they are only useful in single documents, not outline (*.otl) ones. There are workarounds for this, but it’s not “out of the box”.

2. Using “undo”: Once one moves out of the section in question, one can no longer undo a previous mistake in that section. This is a major problem. Again, this only applies to *.otl documents.

3. Detailed formatting has to be postponed until the text goes elsewhere (e.g., into Word) - unless, that is, one uses NoteTab as a LaTex editor.

4. The “Paste Board” function sometimes stops working (this may be owing to interference from Zoot). In any case, using a proper clipboard extender like Clipcache is often more useful…

On the positive side, it is a very elegant program, and has its own versioning system - a major plus IMO… I really enjoyed working inside it. I am hoping that the upcoming Zoot 6 will also provide a decent editing environment, while maintaining its own characteristic understated elegance.

Other programs that may be worth looking at are:


http://www.tranglos.com/free/keynote.html [no longer being developed, but excellent]




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