Three Reasons to Try
Storyist writing software ($59 software for Mac) helped me produce a 320 page novel during July’s Camp NaNoWriMo. Storyist was one of the camp’s three corporate sponsors. With Storyist, I decided to exceed the 50,000 word NaNoWriMo goal and do 80,000 instead. And I did. Here’s how.
Everything in One Place
Storyist writing software has everything necessary to crank out any writing project. The typing area can be full screen but is initially bordered on the left by a collection of project tools. First among these is a set of bookmarks for quick access to any part of the manuscript or tools. Next, the manuscript itself is summarized into chapters and each chapter into scenes or other short sections, each with its own summary page.
Then come character and setting summaries. When I first started using Storyist, I put too much detail into the summaries. Now I include for each character only a birth date, full and nick names, a three sentence summary, a speech peculiarity to remember as I write, and a sketch of the character’s growth arc. For each setting I include only a single word for each of the six senses (including intuition) and an unexpected contrast that brings the setting to life.
The final two tools in the left-hand column are a collection of every image added to the project to help the writer visualize characters, settings, symbolic objects, and anything else, and then a collection of all research documents used in the project.
It helps to have all those tools just to the left of where you are entering text. Other apps for writers have similar arrangements, but few have the two little arrows that make all this work so well in Storyist. Like a web browser, a forward arrow and a back arrow reside at the top of every page. Not only can you avoid having half a dozen windows open on the desktop, but it takes only a single click to jump back to where you were working.
Storyist has storyboard and outline views. However, the chapter and scene summary pages can also be used as an overview outline. And they are always available just to the left of the text entry area.
Probably the feature I most appreciate in Storyist is its ability to design and track the growth of any character. Every scene or subdivision provides a place to link to some milestone along a character’s arc.
There are several other features described on the Storyist web site. Storyist has everything you really need without any of it getting in the way. I once told Steve Shepard, CEO and the developer of this writing software, “It is software the way I would have designed it: customizable to my way of working, not overly structured, and running the way Mac users would expect.” I still think that.