Creative Writing Software

The limitations of my memory become blatant when trying to write serial fiction with gaping gobs of time in-between. This week, I finally worked on my The Dwarf Making Sweet, Sweet Love To The Skeleton story again.

I should really come up with a better name for it than the throwaway title I gave it when it was just a little piece of flash fiction, but hey, at least the title’s original. It’s not likely to be confused with another: “Did you read The Dwarf Making Sweet, Sweet Love To The Skeleton?” “Which one?”

I like this story. I like my characters and I have a lot of fun writing it. Most importantly, it’s funny. I can write fiction and I can write funny, but until this story, I’ve never been able to combine the two, so I’m very pleased with myself. Pat on the back. I’m not saying you should go back and read the whole thing (even though you should), but seriously, it’s funny. It’s not Douglas Adams level of funny yet; it’s more Terry Pratchet.

Not many of you care about it, and that’s okay. It is over 6000 words now and no one wants to read part 10 if they missed the first 9 parts. I understand. I have a hard time finding the time to do that with other people’s stories. I keep saying to myself, “I should go back and read the rest before I read the new part,” but then, I don’t. Blogs aren’t really an appropriate forum for novels anyway.

And, yes, it is a novel. I decided it will be one. I don’t want to get too big for my britches here, since it is still only a baby 6000 words, but perhaps, it could be more than just a novel. Maybe someday, it could be a series, like Chandler’s Marlowe or Hammett’s Spade… Goldfish’s Drake.

In order to write part 10, I had to skim through parts 1-9, and even then I stumbled a bit. There’s a line in part 10 where Walker says, “It’s noon!” Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to figure out what time it was in the story world? Here’s a hint: hard. I couldn’t remember how much time had elapsed in the story since a lot of time had passed in the real world since I visited.

I really just wanted Walker to visit Fifty to drop the stuff off, but then I remembered the part about the goons. However, I forgot that Walker had called Fifty that very morning since that was happened somewhere around part 4. I had to add the “Not bad for a couple of hours sleuthing” bit.

So, you can see where this will be a problem moving forward. Since my memory is crap, I started investigating writing applications to help. I checked out the highly rated Scriverner, which while it has a very nice interface, is missing a crucial element for me–the timeline. I need to be able to tell easily how much time has elapsed and what has happened in the meantime.

Ultimately, I found a little app called Story Mill, which seems to have everything I could ever possibly need to write a story, including a timeline.

StoryMill 4

I’ve plugged all of my data in there, but I haven’t actually used it to write, so I can’t tell how effective it will be yet.

Since it’s not free and I will need to pay for it once my trial is done, I thought I’d ask your opinion. Do you have any experience with writing applications? Do you like them? Which do you prefer and why?