PROS / Extensive instruction is based on classic story archetypes.
CONS / Users must toggle between StoryCraft and their own word processor.
VERDICT / The writing instruction is in-depth, but the program lacks basic typing functions.
StoryCraft is based on the Jarvis Method of creative writing, and John Jarvis was involved in the development of the original version of this writing software. Part of the basic idea is that there are story forms that are part of our human psyche. Think Joseph Campbell, Richard Wagner, mythological archetypes, etc. The best stories, according to the Jarvis Method, involve not only plot, character and structure, but also the "Five Elements of Story Crafting" – namely category, concept, plot type, components and story creation. Being aware of these story forms will help writers create the best possible tales.
The organizational features of StoryCraft are disappointing, mainly because there are none. Some of the information on the website mentions organizing tools as well as printing and exporting capabilities. We can only assume that these details refer to an earlier version of this software for writing.
The purpose of this software is instructional. Additionally, the developers have stated that they want to leave the choice of word processor up to the individual writer. However, we found it cumbersome to toggle back and forth between the writing software and Word, and we missed the all-in-one functionality of our best-ranked product, WriteItNow.
This book writing software does offer access to an online library of links to articles about writing, scripts, and full texts of literature. Throughout the program you'll also find links to extended instruction on various topics like "Rules of Dialogue" and "How to Avoid Melodramatic Characters."
While the writing instruction is not nearly as customized to your own story as in Writers DreamKit, StoryCraft offers three different story paths to explore. Do you want to write an action-based story? A character-based story? A story based on classic myth structure? The instruction and guidance you receive will change depending on which story type you choose.
This software functions like a course in writing. There are directions, suggestions and very pertinent examples along the way, but you're on your own when it comes to implementing them and organizing your own writing.
Ease of Use
This software for writting offers guidance in six different viewing panes on a series of HTML pages (so it can be viewed in your internet browser). The all-at-once organization is useful for getting a big picture, but the frames are never large enough. To see all the instruction, you have to scroll, and scroll, and scroll. The frames around these panes can be resized, so you can increase the size of the one you want to focus on. You can also choose to view each pane on a separate page. But still, the volume of information sometimes feels a little overwhelming. A simpler organization might alleviate that feeling.
Help & Support
The help and support features on the product's website were well hidden. After some clicking, we found a page of a few FAQs and an email address. A few more clicks and we came to these very important instructions: "When you send the email, write the exact phrase 'software questions' in the subject line (otherwise, the email will automatically be directed to the spam/trash bin.)" Luckily, the fact that the software runs through an internet browser means that you're unlikely to run into any compatibility or other technical issues requiring technical support. In fact, compatibility issues with newer software platforms is precisely the reason this version of StoryCraft is created as a series of HTML pages.
There is an email address for customer service, which is easily accessible. And in our communication with them we found them to be quite responsive.
StoryCraft offers comprehensive writing instruction that you can view from any web browser. The writing guidance is in-depth and useful, though at times overwhelming. Any serious writer would likely find something to learn from this book writing software; however, the total lack of any word processing or organizational features makes it feel a little incomplete as a piece of writing software.