PROS / Step-by-step questions guide you toward a fleshed-out story outline.
CONS / There are fewer features than other writing software packages.
VERDICT / A good choice to move your story from a simple idea to a detailed writing plan.
Storymind's StoryWeaver was developed by the co-creator of the creative writing software Dramatica Pro, and it is similar in style and function to Writer's DreamKit. All three of these applications are based on the Dramatica Theory of Story Structure. Whereas the other two applications work more with the underlying structure of your story, StoryWeaver centers on inspiration and idea development. If you work through all the questions – called story cards – in this novel writing software, you'll end up with a detailed story outline that is ready to be fleshed out into something great.
Because StoryWeaver is more focused on developing your ideas into a rounded-out story, there are fewer organizational features than in other pieces of book writing software. There is always a pane for typing your thoughts and answers to the story card questions. You can add your own folder and notes, and even rearrange your story items by dragging and dropping them in the menu pane. Additionally, the tree menu on the left lets you navigate to any story card. Once you've completed all the story cards and are happy with the results, everything you've written can be printed or exported to a word processor.
The software comes with some bonus materials that vary in usefulness. Through the Storymind website, you'll get access to video lectures and articles on writing, as well as access to the Dramatica Story Structure Encyclopedia. You'll also find links to download some simple tools, such as a name generator and a sticky notes application.
This application is almost all writing guide. It takes you through a four-step process to develop your ideas. The first is Inspiration. Here you'll generate ideas about your story's plot, characters, theme and genre. Second, in the Development step, you'll flesh out those ideas until you have the basics of your story well in hand. Next you'll work on Exposition, making decisions about story points and the best way to reveal your tale to your reader. And finally, with Storytelling you will develop a plan for the sequence of your work which will become a detailed outline for your story.
As you work your way through the story cards, you'll find that the questions build on each other, as well as on what you've previously written. For most questions, the software inserts a reference box between the story card and the writing pane. This box contains answers you've written for previous related questions. For example, if you're being asked to revise your synopsis based on new character information, you will see your previous answers to character development questions in the reference box.
Ease of Use
This writing software is not fancy or showy, but it is very straightforward and simple to use. Each section starts with some basic instructions and information, and then you dive right into the story cards. Navigation between story cards and to your own notes is easy with the tree menu on the left side of the page. Additionally, all the panes are resizable, so you can make the instruction pane bigger in order to read longer story cards, or you may increase the writing space to create an even larger creative area.
Help & Support
In-program help files and instructions guide you through both the technical and creative aspects of this book writing software. If you run into technical trouble with the software, there is a list of FAQs on the Storymind website, along with an email address for contacting customer service.
If you're ready to round out a simple idea, or even need some help coming up with one of your own, StoryWeaver might be just what you're looking for. However, if you're looking for features to help you organize all your writing and ideas, you might be better off with a more all-in-one piece of novel writing software. This writing software focuses on idea and story development, and helps you move your idea from being just a small spark of a thought to a fully developed, detailed outline of a potentially great story. As the program's introduction states, "Now you have a good story to tell, and the rest is up to you."