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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23 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

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