Using StoryCraft Pro and WriteItNow together

In a recent post I talked about two excellent pieces of software for writers, StoryCraft Pro and WriteItNow. They fit together perfectly and make writing great fiction very easy indeed. A number of you have asked how these two programs can be used together. So here’s how I do it:

I start off in WriteItNow, which looks after the characters, locations, key events, notes and jottings, and so on. The Timeline is fantastic. I also use it to automatically generate some of the minor characters. I tend to have the major characters in mind already, and I use our own ideas4writers Writing Engines to help flesh them out and make some decisions about which way certain events should go. Then I enter all the details into WriteItNow to keep everything in one place, and I can easily drop the characters into scenes and see them on the Timeline.

Then with the basic story idea and characters in mind, I load StoryCraft Pro, decide what sort of story it is, and fill in the blanks (the online tutor guides you through this process and gives you prompts if you get stuck, though I tend not to use this). It turns my basic story idea into a mighty epic, fixes any problems with the structure, suggests new scenes that will enhance the story, and creates a complete outline which I export into Word. I also add any new scenes to WriteItNow.

After that I keep WriteItNow running in the background and write the whole thing in Word (out of habit I guess – you can write the whole thing in WriteItNow if you want to as it has a built-in word processor, but I prefer not to). It’s then just a simple matter of expanding the outline. I mark each scene as “completed” in WriteItNow as I finish it, so I can keep track of progress. This method also allows me to write the scenes in any order – which I do!

With the two programs combined (3 if you count Word, though as I said you don’t really need it) it’s very (very!) fast, very easy, and works like a dream.

I’m often also asked my opinion of a piece of software called NewNovelist. I don’t like it. It lacks the depth of StoryCraft Pro. The first version was also unstable, prone to crashes and losing work. Version 2 is out now, and I hope it corrects that problem. But as far as I’m aware (I’ve read the blurb but not tried it) it still doesn’t have the depth required for professional writing.

The word “new” in the title is the one you ought to pay most attention to – after you’ve written your first novel you’ll be looking for something better. (That’s StoryCraft Pro by the way!) I don’t honestly think that any novel solely written using NewNovelist would ever be published, because of the aforementioned lack of depth. I’m happy to stand corrected on that point if anyone knows otherwise. StoryCraft Pro, on the other hand, can be used time after time, even by advanced writers, and is perfectly capable of producing publishable work.

(I have no connection with either StoryCraft Pro or WriteItNow and do not receive any reward for promoting them – I’m just a happy user!)

EDITED 11 FEB 2008: PLEASE SEE MY COMMENT ATTACHED TO THIS POST. STORYCRAFT PRO HAS BEEN ‘UPGRADED’ AND I NO LONGER RECOMMEND IT.

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62 thoughts on “Using StoryCraft Pro and WriteItNow together

  1. Update – the version of StoryCraft Pro I use is 4.3. StoryCraft has now been ‘upgraded’ to version 5, and I no longer recommend it. The new version is absolute garbage and should be avoided at all costs. If you can get hold of version 4.3 – go for it.

    I’m now recommending StoryWeaver from http://www.storymind.com, which is much cheaper than StoryCraft but the end result is the same – a decent story with a proper structure, laid out in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take.

    I’ve got both StoryWeaver and StoryCraft 4.3, but I’m sticking with StoryCraft.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the writers of StoryCraft realise their terrible mistake and put v4.3 back on sale, or release version 6 urgently with the same functionality as version 4.3, but with a modern look and a few more story structures (which are supposedly built into v5, but you’ll never find them).

  2. Hi. I am quite devoted to WriteItNow and have devised my own writer’s interface to go with it. It is my 92,000 words The Writer’s Interface, which is either a pdf file ebook for you, or an interactive file that fits right into WriteItNow. It costs a little but saves a lot of time and learning.

    It’s quite different from commercial software. I am simply a professional writer and these are my notes and structures for writing the novel. My ideas come from over fifty writing craft books, from my own writing experience and from novels of course.

    Basically, you review my many lists to go with novel elements, such as plot and character, and you revise and make your own lists using mine for guidance.

    You learn writing craft as well as get your own story craft imagination stimulated.

    Rob of WriteItNow supports The Writer’s Interface as a good approach using his software.

    I supply the advanced craft tools lacking in non-writer designed software, which includes probably all the software out there.

    It’s a new concept that instead of having a paper third party manual on how to better use the software, as a professional writer of manual-type books I supply much more writing craft ideas and tools than are available elsewhere, and all in WriteItNow itself, which is good software and allows this to happen.

    Hope this helps some people!

  3. I bought StoryCraftPro 5.0 in August 2007 after reading reviews about StoryCraft and seeing screens that looked like there were lots of story structures and formats. What I got looked nothing like the screen shots. I’ve tried contacting the company (thinking maybe the software didn’t download correctly.) No response. You’re right – I never did find the story structures. If you found them, I’d love to know where they are at.

  4. Hi, I have read everywhere that the current version (5.0) is a dog and to avoid it.

    Since it looks like the product is no longer in production maybe the 4.3 version will become an abandoned piece of software, and hence freely distributable and shareable with any registration key being shareable.

    Until then does anyone have a copy of 4.3.that I can evaluate? I would appreciate any help regarding this matter

    Jeff

    PS since the file when compressed looks like it should be able to be sent via email?

  5. THere is now Storycraft 7.0 but the screenshots on their site are still 4.0. I like the program, did the online course but I believe they are not developing it any longer. Even their support email address isn’t working any more.

  6. THere is now Storycraft 7.0 but the screenshots on their site are still 4.0. I like the program, did the online course but I believe they are not developing it any longer. Even their support email address isn’t working any more.

    1. Version 5 is awful. It is not an improvement on 4.3, it is very much a backward step. Leave it well alone. The same applies to v7 – also awful. However, I understand that it is still being developed and look forward to seeing a much improved version 8 one day (I have sent the developer several suggestions). In the meantime, stick with 4.3 – it’s definitely the best of the versions that have been released so far.

      The only version currently available is v7 – you can get it from the writer’s supercenter website. You shouldn’t have any problems if you buy things from there, but I wouldn’t recommend buying it until v8 becomes available.

  7. Would it be possible to post or email some screenshots of 7.0? I’m curious to see what changed during the years. I bought and followed the online course and even got 2 books published. I assume that the basic idea stayed the same, right?

    1. I’ve emailed you some screenshots. v7 is now web based, with multiple frames open on the screen at the same time – most of them are just help/advice screens, but experienced users don’t need to see any of that (though they’ll want a small link so they can call upon it if they need it). Being web based, it has now lost much of the functionality of v4.3 – you can’t type anything into it, or import or export your storyline. You have to do everything in your word processor.

      The screenshots and description on the website still refers to 4.3, which is very misleading to potential buyers.

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it being web based – it could even be a positive move – but it needs a complete redesign and streamlining to make it look much nicer, and be more useable. I’ve suggested that v8 should simply be a web-based version of v4.3. Future development can build upon that firm base.

  8. I don’t think it will be developed further because John Jarvis died last year. Pity, I believe he knew a lot of mythical structure and could have done a lot still in improving the teory behind StoryCraft.

    1. Although John has sadly died, the programming (apart from v5) was done by Irwin Berent from the Writers Supercenter. He developed v7 (after John died) and as far as I know he is planning to continue development. Unfortunately v7 isn’t anywhere near as good as 4.3, but I’ve sent him some guidelines and suggestions for v8. I haven’t yet heard whether he plans to do anything with them.

  9. I purchased StoryCraft Pro a few years ago, I was charged twice and had a devil of a job getting them to even reply to my emails let alone repay the money. I didn’t opt for the cd version at the time and downloaded straight fromt the site, I had so many problems trying to get it running that I gave up on it and opted to use write it now instead, which Im still using having upgraded to the new version 4. I also have new novelist and agree with Dave, it’s very basic and no-where near as good as write it now.

    1. Unfortunately version 4.3 hasn’t been available since about 2006. It was upgraded to v5, and then to v7. Both those versions were terrible and nothing at all like v4.3 – avoid at all costs. We’re hoping there might be a v8 at some point that fixes all the problems. We sent a list of fixes and suggestions to the developer but we haven’t heard from him for some time, so the project may have been discontinued. In the meantime we are recommending StoryWeaver instead. It does more or less the same thing, though not quite as elegantly. You’ll find it at http://storymind.com/storyweaver/

  10. Hi Dave, I found you via a bit of a complex route. From the back matter of Nigel Watts ‘write a novel’ to the Writersupercenter (WSC), where I found StoryCraft Pro, a lookup for reviews found Ideas4, and I’ve just signed up as a member.
    It looks like WSC is now bundling SCP v.7 (luxury version) with the monster Power Structure for less than $120.
    I know I’m late to the SCPro party, but do your views still stand? Any thoughts on the Power Structure linkup? I downloaded the trial a few months back, and it seemed to be a beast of a thing.
    I have WriteitNow (and LiquidStoryBinder) but I need something to give me some direction with plot development/characters etc.
    What do you think?
    Regards
    Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff – thanks for joining ideas4writers. We’ve sent you an important email – if you haven’t received it please let me know here. (We have terrible trouble getting our emails through to people.)

      SCpro7 – I still think it’s awful. I was hoping for v8 by now, and I sent the developer a ton of suggestions for it (at his request) when v7 came out, but I never heard back from him (I suspect I may have upset him with my comments about v7). There’s no sign of any further development so he may have given up on it – a shame really. If he scrapped v7 and went back to v4.3 and started again from there it could be an awesome product. But it looks like Power Structure has overtaken him – it’s pretty much what SCpro v8 should have been.

      Power Structure: I’ve only just seen the 90-second video overview, but it seems simple enough to use and should do everything you need – it looks similar to SCpro 4.3 combined with WriteItNow. I will definitely be checking it out properly. I see that it has multiple story templates – SCpro (and StoryWeaver 3 which I also use) only has the 12-step mythic one – the first option in Power Structure. I can’t see that anyone would need both SCpro and Power Structure when Power Structure covers it all (and far better than SCpro7). I only ever use the 12-step mythic template, but screenwriters will find the other options useful.

      I have Liquid Story Binder too, though I don’t use it – I got it free somewhere and installed it and ran it once and never went back to it.

      Everyone seems to recommend Scrivener as the writer’s tool of choice these days, and I might well go that route myself in the near future, particularly as it exports directly to Kindle format and is ridiculously cheap for what it does. But I generally just use Word (or the free OpenOffice that I have on my netbook).

      For plot development and characters I don’t think you’ll go far wrong with Power Structure.

      (I’m glad you mentioned it, because I’ll be able to include it in the new version of The Fastest Way to Write Your Book that will be coming out later this year! SCpro, which I praised in the first edition (based on v4.3), will not even get a mention in the new book.)

      Best regards
      Dave

  11. Hi again Dave, just an update – (I’ve chosen to use comments rather than a direct email via the Ideas4writers contact area, to enable casual visitors to see the development of the thread).
    Firstly, I’m really happy to have found ID4W and joined as a member, and although I’m a bit too busy lately to participate in the forums, the wealth of info inside is exceptional, and I thank you for it. I’d urge any reader to pop in and see what’s on offer – it’s well worth a look.
    That said…
    Since February, SCPro appears to have plummeted in price by $50, which (it still being v.7) looks like it’s now shelved.
    Liquid Story Binder didn’t fit me in the end, It’s just too ‘busy’ for me on the screen, as is Scrivener (at the moment). I have, however, upgraded to WriteitNow 5 and

  12. I’ve got Storycraft 4.3, demo, the one you have to insert the product code after a month. Problem with it is it stopped on the second day and stated it must be registered. So I don’t even bother. Storycraft 2std comes free with screenwriter software that is also a demo, but after installing screenwriter, the StoryCraft is full and don’t need to be registered. Wonder what the people thought when they made that “demo”?! I did try the 4.3 and to be honest just the interface and a bit of lacking on the txt editor differs from 2std. Even the quick scanning through the “advice” there don’t even appear to be much difference. So anyone can search for “Hollywood Screenwriter” with storycraft in google and try that. Fully legal, fully working and no headaches!

  13. Is this program still supported these days? I’ve used it as well when I bought it which was version 4.3.
    The developer John Jarvis died years ago and the site looks still exactly the same. I don’t think this program is worked on any longer.

    1. I don’t think it is supported any longer. The guy who helped John Jarvis develop it released a later version some years ago, which I tested and reviewed, but it was dreadful. At his request, I sent him a long list of suggested fixes and improvements but I never heard from him again. I think he’s abandoned the project now. A shame as a new version with the fixes I suggested would be well received by the writing community.

      1. Out of nostalgic reasons I searched for this program my computer, but cannot find it. I probably lost it years ago and there doesn’t seem to be a demo version online any longer. I used Storycraft 4.3 to write 2 novels in the old days. Loved it. It had a nice look to it even though it would be considered old fashioned these days. New Novelist ripped Storycraft and pretty much copied the manual word for word, that’s at least what I remember when I checked that program years ago.

        I created a software version of “My Story can beat up your story” and “Structuring the Bulletproof One Hour Pilot!”, both story structures from Jeff Schechter in File Maker. (I am not a software programmer, no idea how to do that) But maybe it could be interesting to re-rcreate Storycraft in File maker? Just a thought.

  14. Sounds like a good plan. Would people need File Maker to run it? The most recent version of Story craft (v7) was simply a load of HTML web pages set up using frames with up to 6 pages on the screen at once. Horrible to use, no real user interaction, and it looked dated.

  15. No, FileMaker isn’t needed to run the compiled files. But probably it’s not allowed to create a SC version in File Maker and put it on the market, I am sure it’s copyrighted. For own use though, it could be interested to put it together. I don’t have the original SC file any longer, so i cannot try it out.

  16. Just wondering, but would anyone like to share their copy (trial versions are good) of Hollywood Screenwriter/Storycraft so I can have a look at them? I bought both programs many years ago and always came back to them because they have that great old fashion feel that I miss in other programs. Also, I am thinking of recreating Storycraft in Filemaker, but need to refresh my memory on how it looks like and get the information from the windows ext. I looked all over the internet and these 2 programs aren’t available any longer which is understandable. I can understand that this is a silly question, but it doesn’t hurt to ask :) I believe it’s a shame what happened with the Storycraft line, it deserves better.

    I had many conversations with Patricia who worked with John Jarvis while I did the free writing course that came with the program and she told me that he lost interest in the program at some point, stopped giving support because he was working on a Wagner project. But she also thought the program was very well put together, so I think it deserves a 2nd chance.

  17. I have it, someplace, that’s how I got storycraft 3.0 std, which was the one that came with Hollywood screenwriter (my bad). It is to big to attach via email. Also, the pc – very old Dell – I have it already “installed”. I (don’t know if it “legal” or not as SC3 is so old?) copied the SC3 folder over along with the hollywood screenwriter after my p1 75mz compaq laptop “exploded” (luckily someone was able to get about 80% of my work and programs from the hard drive – 6gig hd haha) and SC3 worked, but not ScWrit. The whole SC3std is, however, only just over 2mb. As I said don’t know if legal or not, but it came with the demo/shareware. Can email the thing if you want, but hate legal issues.

  18. I found I also have the storycraft 4.3 setup file, that demo that worked for 1 day only.
    I am wondering if it has to do with the fact that the file date stated I downloaded it august 2002 (:-( It is 3.3mb so if anyone still wants it, I can email it to someone and they can host it.
    As for “hollywood screenwriter” my demo setup file states its corrupted (its burned on CD from the time I was at an internet cafe helping out for internet access). I have still a few dozen old cds to go through, but I may just be able to locate another copy (wife may have been too hasty in judging that I backup things a few tooo many times!)
    So please let me know if the SC 3.0 Std, its exe file states “StoryCraft30cexe” (There is a period between the ‘c’ and ‘exe’, but I don’t want the site being tagged when someone searches for the exe) or the sc4setup file for 4.3.

    1. I remember that I burned it as well many times on CD, but all these CDs are at my ex-wife’s house. I am going to try to get hold of them. Not sure though if the CD will be in that collection or if they even will work any longer. I also send a mail to Patricia who helped my those days with developing my novels using Storycraft. I asked her what her thoughts are about me developing a new Storycraft version in Filemaker and if I need to ask permission for this at someone. There is probably copyright on this. For the time being, it would be just for the fun of making it.

      It would be great if you could send me a demo version. As long as it runs long enough so I can check out what I need for working on a new version of the program, it’s good for me. I will guard the program(s) with my life, because they are very difficult to come by it seems! I will put them online in a Box.com folder.

  19. So where can I send them? I will obviously zip them so its easier to send by email. I am apparently stupid as for your email address. The 4.3 I can’t vouch as to if it will also stop after one day. As for 3std, it run as is.

  20. I also found the SC3 demo which was called writecraft and just can’t save, but you will maybe be able to sort out as what you may want to do. If possible could you, if you make that file maker version send me one? Just asking as I will also use it for personal use. BUT only if you want, no pressure.

  21. I have mailed the company where I bought Storycraft in 2006 and asked if they could send me a copy of the program, but I doubt they will answer. I have a feeling that there is nobody that is checking that website any longer. It’s a pity, really.

    1. Irwin from the support centre at Writers SuperCenter send me StoryCraft 7 and Writer’s Software Companion, so that will give me a change to work with them again, although I would love to see 4.3. I believe that’s the best version still.

  22. Sorry for all this posts, but after a long winding road that lead back to my darn zippy share place, I got all 3 files for all those who wants them.
    First file is storycraft 4.3 demo that works, supposedly, for a month, but its very old so, as stated above, not sure if it will be full 30/31 days or just one day like I have experienced.
    https://www88.zippyshare.com/v/nGEdUpXa/file.html
    Second file is that storycraft 3.0c Std that came with hollywood thing. It has no restrictions as it can save, export, etc. It isn however, its watered down as can easily seen with writecraft 3.0 demo (3rd file).
    https://www79.zippyshare.com/v/nYAhdrX2/file.html
    https://www34.zippyshare.com/v/VXfNCEmt/file.html
    I have been using the sc3 std as it helps a lot and the Jarvis method coincide and works excellent with the Hero’s Journey steps set out by J Campbell as well as John Truby (Anatomy of a story) as well, strange as it may seem, James N. Fry’s 2 Dam, key as well as the things Fry teach in his other books. Also of note, in Dramatica the help file contain a book call ‘Theory’.
    All boils down what this Storycraft does.
    Last note.
    As for legal issues – which I hate – the SC 3.0std is no where stipulated that it can’t be shared – I read the whole thing – it only stated that its packed with hollywood as a bear bones to get your story down before exporting it to it. So, even with stating that, I intend no harm or any thing bad by pating it as well as it is, for all intends and purposes, an abandoned piece of software. At least, I hope, someone will use these and decide to buy the new one that everyone hates, or the one that follows.
    Let’s hope this gem will not go so quietly into oblivion that other software.

  23. Hi all. I am in the middle of creating a new StoryCaft software version. I have no idea about the copyright issues on this software, but from what I heard from G Grobbelaar, it’s hard to find anything about this. Also, according to John Jarvis himself, he took most of the storycraft elements from other writing systems and brought them together, so copyright could be difficult to trace back.

    I don’t see a way to show any screenshots here, otherwise I would have loved to share what I did till now.

    The software will run in the first place on a Mac (that is where I developing it), but there is a chance it will be easily ported to windows. I will look into that when I finished the Mac version. If anyone is interested in testing it when it’s ready and knows more about the legal issues in making this new version, please let me know. I am not interested in making money of it, and are doing this purely for the love for writing and story structures. I did the same already with 2 other story structure systems and never made 1 dollar with it.

    1. It’s finished. I am doing a last check now and then will compile the program. For now it will only work on a Mac though. I will see if I can make it work for windows as well. That should be possible in FileMaker.

    1. Yes, I will absolutely look into that. btw. Do you know how the deal is with copyrights on making this program? Would I be allowed to spread this program around as it is now for free?

    2. I realize now that I actually need a windows computer to create the windows version with FileMaker. I though that File Maker would be able to compile it for different platforms. I only have a Mac here so for now I cannot create a Windows version. Unless you have a Mac emulator on your windows computer.

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