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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Applications > book/novel writing app (freeware is a must)

book/novel writing app (freeware is a must)
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Sep 3, 2008, 07:47 AM
 
i've decided to undertake a twitter novel
and after making the basic outline for the book i suddenly see the value of a book writing app... not just a text editor, but something that helps you outline and have characther cards or whatever...
anyone know of any good freeware of the sorts? i know what paid software is out there...and yes i would rather write the whole thing in text edit than pay...

i'm a freeware believer, neooffice, seashore, jd-darkroom, chandler, bibledesktop, camino, firefox etc...

lemme know if you've any good ideas...
     
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Sep 3, 2008, 07:52 AM
 
I can't help you, but what is jd-darkroom? I don't find it through Google.
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Or how about a really weird (or stupid) game: Nesen Probe, it's also free.
     
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Sep 3, 2008, 07:57 AM
 
(La)TeX + Editor of choice. There are editors directed at people writing books (e. g. Ulyssus or TextMate), but neither is free. It would be unfair to call them `mere text editors', but that's what they do in the end: they generate files for LaTeX to process. TeX is the most professional typesetting solution out there, if you have good fonts with all the proper typographic information, that is.

TextMate is relatively inexpensive, but beware: it doesn't look powerful at first. However, unless you are dealing with very large files, this is the most poewrful and versatile `editor' on the Mac platform.

I'm not aware of any freeware apps that advanced.
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Sep 3, 2008, 08:06 AM
 
It's not free but it's cheap - scrivener. I'm using it at the moment (well not right at the moment. At the moment I'm using Firefox). It's great.
     
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Sep 3, 2008, 08:12 AM
 
FREEWARE IS A MUST PEOPLE...
i dont care about how cheap it is... i need free.
i refuse to use my credit card on this crap... if there isn't freeware for it now there will be soon... thats my motto...
     
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Sep 3, 2008, 08:30 AM
 
Look, I can understand your sentiment, but there aren't always freeware apps for what you want to do. (And besides, I don't see a problem in supporting products I like.)

Of course, you can use one of the free text editors + LaTeX (which is free) for your projects, but this won't be nearly as good as what we have suggested so far.
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Sep 3, 2008, 09:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Of course, you can use one of the free text editors + LaTeX (which is free) for your projects, but this won't be nearly as good as what we have suggested so far.
i dont inherently have a problem with supporting the programs i like... if i were a programmer i would want people to buy my stuff... but i still just dont use it... dont need it... there is always something free thats worth it if you just look hard enough (and sometimes long enough)

as for LaTeX or TeX at all... i don't understand how it would be useful in the least for a twitter novel.

- that is... i'm looking more for something which will help me organize my ideas and just write rather than something which will make my words look pretty on the page (as there will be no page... just twitter)...
     
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Sep 3, 2008, 01:37 PM
 
All solutions proposed so far use TeX -- which is more than something to make letters on pages look pretty, by the way. TeX code is more like html or xml which needs to be interpreted. You can even make html from TeX code.

Regarding free software, for years I have used TeXShop for my writing (a free app), but for my purposes, TextMate is a lot, lot, lot better. It's not free, but I gladly paid 35 € for it, because it simply is a lot better than any of the free alternatives (and IMO also than the more expensive ones). (TeXShop is `just' a specialized editor.)

You have something special in mind. You can do it for free, but not in the way you have in mind. Just use a large array of text files to keep track of your ideas.

I've done quite a bit of research in the area of structured writing, because that's what I do for a living as a researcher. To the best of my knowledge, there are no free apps that do what you want to do. Ulyssus and scrivener probably go in the right direction for you. If you don't want to pay that much for a little fun project on the side, then ok, that's another story.
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Sep 3, 2008, 01:37 PM
 
Well, if you're going to be a fundamentalist about the free thing, then there's always /Applications/TextEdit.app.

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Sep 3, 2008, 10:34 PM
 
looks like there's not much help to be had... so it is... back to textedit...
     
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Sep 4, 2008, 01:58 AM
 
If your time is worth less than the thirty-odd bucks for an application that really does what you want then yeah, I guess you’re out of luck.

VIM LaTeX is another free alternative, it certainly beats TextEditor for screenwriting/typesetting purposes.
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Sep 4, 2008, 05:05 AM
 
guys i dont mean to be rude...
but twitter is doing my typesetting... (or lack thereof...) that is... it will never look pretty on the page... there is no intention for it to do so...
and its not a screenwrite...

so confused... i'm so very very confused at this feedback...
     
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Sep 4, 2008, 05:33 AM
 
You still don't understand: the creative writing solutions use TeX if you want to print your text (e. g. to proof read it). They are not solely meant for or limited to screen writing or any other kind of writing.

It doesn't sound as if you haven't even had a look at any of the app we've listed (regardless if you want to pay for an app or not, just to see if that's what you want).
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Sep 4, 2008, 08:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
You still don't understand: the creative writing solutions use TeX if you want to print your text (e. g. to proof read it). They are not solely meant for or limited to screen writing or any other kind of writing.
i'm not sure you know what twitter is...
maybe thats where we're unclear...
no printing.. at all.. ever... never will it ever be printed... ever.

It doesn't sound as if you haven't even had a look at any of the app we've listed (regardless if you want to pay for an app or not, just to see if that's what you want).
i've looked... i still dont see how they apply..
     
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Sep 4, 2008, 09:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by rogermugs View Post
i'm not sure you know what twitter is...
maybe thats where we're unclear...
I know what twitter is. I don't use it, though.
Originally Posted by rogermugs View Post
no printing.. at all.. ever... never will it ever be printed... ever.
I like to print stuff to check and correct, including longer emails, for example.
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Sep 4, 2008, 10:48 AM
 
Relying on freeware to save a couple of bucks over a paid program that does what it does well is a mug's game in my opinion.

However, the OP is, if I get this right, planning to publish his novel on twitter, as tweet updates. It's a cute idea, but it still needs original material that's well written. There's no freeware out there that I know of that is even close to some of the commercial products like Ulysses.
     
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Sep 4, 2008, 10:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap View Post
Relying on freeware to save a couple of bucks over a paid program that does what it does well is a mug's game in my opinion.

However, the OP is, if I get this right, planning to publish his novel on twitter, as tweet updates. It's a cute idea, but it still needs original material that's well written. There's no freeware out there that I know of that is even close to some of the commercial products like Ulysses.
thanks for the actually semi-useful response... it doesn't give me any ideas, but helps me understand there may just not be anything out there to accomplish what i want...

as for the original material... we'll see..... i'll be pleased if i write for more than just a few weeks.
     
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Sep 6, 2008, 08:12 AM
 
Have you researched the various wiki software that's out there? Most are open-source and can be installed on most commercial hosts out there (assuming you have a site somewhere).
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Sep 6, 2008, 10:41 AM
 
wow... i give up... genuinely... giving up
     
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Sep 6, 2008, 12:57 PM
 
Perhaps something like these may be what you want...

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/links.html

I don't know if there is anything free out there but at least the links on there will give you half a chance... Avenir looks like a possible candidate for you
     
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Sep 7, 2008, 08:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by Serenak View Post
Perhaps something like these may be what you want...

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/links.html

I don't know if there is anything free out there but at least the links on there will give you half a chance... Avenir looks like a possible candidate for you
look at this... the fresh faced recruit showing ya'll up.
thanks for the link.

jer's novel writer is EXACTLY what i was looking for... and even includes some bells and whistles...

its 30$, but nagware so you don't have to pay if you have an unusually high tolerance for nagging... like me...
     
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Sep 7, 2008, 04:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by rogermugs View Post
FREEWARE IS A MUST PEOPLE...
i dont care about how cheap it is... i need free.
Originally Posted by rogermugs View Post
look at this... the fresh faced recruit showing ya'll up.
thanks for the link.

its 30$, but nagware so you don't have to pay if you have an unusually high tolerance for nagging... like me...
No, the fresh faced recruit showed you some more SHAREWARE, which for some reason is now acceptable for you.
     
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Sep 7, 2008, 04:38 PM
 
Plus, we've mentioned the most popular of these apps already
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Sep 7, 2008, 05:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
(La)TeX + Editor of choice. There are editors directed at people writing books (e. g. Ulyssus or TextMate), but neither is free. It would be unfair to call them `mere text editors', but that's what they do in the end: they generate files for LaTeX to process. TeX is the most professional typesetting solution out there, if you have good fonts with all the proper typographic information, that is.

TextMate is relatively inexpensive, but beware: it doesn't look powerful at first. However, unless you are dealing with very large files, this is the most poewrful and versatile `editor' on the Mac platform.

I'm not aware of any freeware apps that advanced.
He wants to write a TWITTER NOVEL, for Pete's sake.

How does LaTex's professional typesetting features address his needs to keep the story- and character line straight ?

It seems to me like some people here will ALWAYS bring up their pet software, no matter what the question is.
E.g. ask besson anything, and his answer will be rsync.

-t
     
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Sep 7, 2008, 05:55 PM
 
Scrivener is great - Latex etc are not novel writing apps, they are typesetting programs. To be honest though, textedit is perfectly adequate for writing a novel.
     
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Sep 7, 2008, 06:01 PM
 
I don't use Ulyussus, turtle, it's not my pet program. I've mentioned LaTeX only, because it is necessary to install to have Ulyussus work (which hides LaTeX quite well). Scrivener apparently also uses LaTeX. The info on TeX was just an additional explanation.

TextMate has a mode for story (and play) writing (which does not use LaTeX) and works with projects, so I've mentioned it as well.

The OP wants to do structured writing and that's what the apps we've mentioned are used for.
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Sep 7, 2008, 08:14 PM
 
Why would you even need LaTex then ? Can't you just use that text editor ?

-t
     
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Sep 7, 2008, 09:37 PM
 
now somebody is arguing my side...

as for giving into shareware... technically nagware is a little different... but youre right... i settled... its not freeware but it was the only option offered that even came close...
     
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Sep 8, 2008, 02:57 AM
 
I can't wait to read your book. It will be free right?

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Sep 8, 2008, 03:26 AM
 
"Nagware" is shareware. The only thing distinguishing it is that the author displayed a little more faith in your honesty than was apparently warranted.

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Sep 8, 2008, 04:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Why would you even need LaTex then ? Can't you just use that text editor ?
Ulyssus -- which is a creative writing app -- internally generates LaTeX files. It relies on LaTeX to function properly. So if the OP wanted to use Ulysses, then he'd have to install LaTeX as well.
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Sep 8, 2008, 05:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
"Nagware" is shareware. The only thing distinguishing it is that the author displayed a little more faith in your honesty than was apparently warranted.

i feel like you people are finally starting to understand me
     
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Sep 8, 2008, 05:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by - - e r i k - - View Post
I can't wait to read your book. It will be free right?
since i cant tell if this is sarcasm... i will answer like it is not.

absolutely... you read it as i i'm writing it...

twitter.com/monfred_anovel

but i'll warn you... i've never attempted anything of the 'novel' variety before... i expect it to be more amusing than a great work of fiction
     
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Oct 22, 2008, 01:19 PM
 
I just recently downloaded storyist, and I can already tell that it'll be a great help for my novel. Maybe it'll work for you.
     
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Nov 20, 2008, 02:13 AM
 
Jer'sNovel Writeris pretty good, but Scrivener is much better for any serious writer of fiction, plays, screenplays or nonfiction. And BTW, neither of them has anything to do with printing; in fact, they recommend that you use a separate app for formatting (e.g. Word or Pages or Mellel or Final Draft). What Jer's and Scriv are about is organizing your info (including characters, notes and plot lines) in a way that makes it much easier to write long, structured works like novels or nonfiction books. There's nothing out there in freeware land remotely comparable, and if you're a serious writer, you'll use one of them, just like any serious artist or craftsperson will pay for the proper tool. If not, use TextEdit or, better yet, Bean, which is free and adds some nice features like live word count to TextEdit.
     
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Nov 20, 2008, 03:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by brettcamp
Jer's Novel Writer is pretty good, but Scrivener is much better for any serious writer of fiction, plays, screenplays or nonfiction.
Scrivener = $40
JNW v1.x = unlimited free trial, for which you can buy an optional $30 key
JNW v0.x = freeware

Personally, I’m using Ulysses at the moment, mainly because of the full screen mode. That said, I’m not at all sure plot and character organisation software improves the writing process. The vast majority of books were written before this type of software was even invented, and the authors have somehow managed just fine without it. Take a look at published writers today, and see how many of them use ‘novel writing software’. You can write characters’ back stories on toilet rolls, notes on hankies, and arrange plot lines on index cards, it’s not going to get magically better just because you do it on a computer. If you’re really serious about writing, the work should be consuming your life. Do you take your computer with you when you go to the toilet? Do you write notes on it when you’re sitting in a restaurant? Do you keep your laptop beside your bed to jot down something you’ve just dreamt? I find that inconvenient and awkward as ****, personally.
     
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Dec 12, 2008, 04:26 AM
 
Sure, and Homer (or whoever) didn't even write the Iliad and the Odyssey, but sang/spoke them. Shakespeare used a quill pen, but I bet both would love to have a laptop with writing software now. Of course you don't NEED fancy software to write, or even a computer, but the right app. can simply make the process a little easier -- at least the info organizing part. I share the suspicion of novel writing software that tries to make you adhere to a strict formula, though.

I like Scrivener because it lets me do things my way and makes it easy for me to find the info I need and arrange it in the order I want, or try various ways of structuring a long work. I tried Jer's, too, and it's good (and even if he does offer an unlimited free trial, I wouldn't deprive a software author of a fair price for an app he spent lots of time developing, if I used it all the time). But I know for a fact that Scrivener has saved me literally hundreds of hours over the two years I've been using it (which of course allows me to write more), and also gives me the flexibility to easily explore different ways of organizing my material. Worth a tryout, anyway.
     
   
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