Writing Software for Writers

Guest Post by Anne Duguid

Tree Sheets

Despite the title, this month's free software choices are not simply for writers. But they are worth mentioning because they can potentially save money and time. I admit being prone to play with new gadgets and ideas. My time savers can soon become time wasters, if I'm not careful. So when I read the recent reviews for Tree Sheets--another planning/ list making/to do tool, I was skeptical. Nothing the matter with my "to do" lists in Word, I decided. But I couldn't resist taking a look--and I love it.

It took a little time reading through the interactive manual which teaches you the system as you go. Even using it in its simplest form, I have found it fun to use, it saves me time and I am whipping through my lists of work to be done much faster than I would normally. This, I suspect, is because it is more than a list maker. It allows me to plan as I go and so speeds the writing process.

You can create grids of any size. The squares expand to  fit text and you can insert new grids inside the squares, add photos, and organize your ideas in an order to suit you. I find it far more flexible and faster to use than Excel or other spreadsheets and think it will be excellent for planning not only daily tasks but also book outlines.

It creates a tree-like mind mapping structure for your thoughts.

You can download it from the site above or from sites like Softpedia or Cnet.

Office Solutions

For writers disillusioned with the ubiquitous Microsoft Office, there are several free office suites constantly updating and improving and coming closer and closer to challenging the MS programs.

Open Office has had recent upgrades and the newer Libre Office is well worth looking at. Both are compatible with and can save docs in Word formats. Libre Office, I believe, may work better with the Word Track Changes function beloved by e-book editors. I have downloaded it, like the new templates for its presentations, and joy of joys, it is not clashing with anything else on my computer.

Worth a look especially if money is tight.

Create an Online Comic

This might be another way to plan a book or picture book. Comix I/O is an online cartoon generator which is a great way to get to grips with learning html -- very useful to know when it comes to building your own websites.
It looks a bit daunting but try Geek Gurl Diaries #17 on You Tube, a quick six minute video on how to do it. I'll add my comic clips once I've practiced a bit more lol

My browser settings are not compatible with the editor feature but I can work around by copying the html into Notepad, changing the text there and then saving the new version with the html suffix--i.e. I save as mycomic.html in the new title box. Remember to keep a .txt version too to be able to change the text again.

Anne Duguid is a freelance content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and she tries to pass on helpful writing,editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers.

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