I’ve recently come across Scrivener and StoryMill, two writing programs for Mac OSX, and have begun messing around with Scrivener. So far, it seems pretty cool, and with a new release due out in October, I’m sure it will become even better. With Scrivener, you have a project view of your writing and column on the left for drafts, research, and trash. Most file types can be in the research area, but only text documents can be in the drafts. What’s cool is that that you’re able to move chunks of writing around, for instance, reorganize how scenes flow. Also, you can title the scenes, write summaries, put a status on it (3rd revision, almost done, etc.). I haven’t done too much with it, but it looks promising.
StoryMill is totally geared toward writing fiction. I haven’t downloaded it and tested it out yet, but I’m a little unsure about it. It’s got tabs or stickies to write about characters, a timeline that pops up. Definitely, more bells and whistles, but are those needed?
I’ve been doing a similar thing with Google Sites to organize a project. On the main page, I have an outline of scenes. This helps me think about how the action should happen. Also, this is my homepage for my computer, so I’m forced to see it and feel guilty for not writing every time I open my browser.
Then, along the side, I have a page for each character, settings, unanswered questions, and overall themes I’d like to explore. The other thing I added was a timeline, similar to what StoryMill offers. By using Google Docs, and plugging story chunks into a spreadsheet I can view the project as a timeline thanks to an app from SIMILE. This also allows me to write up summaries, add in scenes I’ve yet to write, and associate images with a scene. While definitely not as intuitive as StoryMill, it’s a free work around as long as you have an Internet connection. Another nice feature of using Google Sites and Docs is that it versions you’re writing, so you can always go back and track changes.
Let me know if you use one or the other, if there’s something else out there worth checking out.