PROS / A feature-rich application for outlining and organizing your writing.
CONS / Writer's Café features may be too complex for new writers.
VERDICT / A flexible and comprehensive system suited to intermediate or experienced writers.
Much like our top product, WriteItNow, Writer's Café by Anthemion Software is an all-in-one piece of novel writing software. Here you'll find a large amount of writing features, including writing prompts and tips, a storyboard view, a journal and a pin board that lets you write and organize notes. The software is based on one particular organizational model for writers – the 3x5 card writer. If you're a writer who drafts everything – characters, scenes, snippets of dialogue, story structure – in bite-size chunks on scraps of paper, then you'll find this software comfortable and useful. And the software is flexible enough to accommodate other styles. However, a new writer still finding his best work style may find this feature-rich book writing software to be a bit too complicated.
This writing software has extensive organizational features for book writers, and much of it centers on adding cards – small areas of brainstorming or outlining that you can then reorganize and expand upon. The outline view and story board view are connected; if you move or add a card in either area, the change will be reflected in the other. The story board is organized by character, but you can also view the whole story line at once. For each card you add, you can create both a small summary (for the story board) and more extensive content. While there is no limit to the content on each card, you will only see a card-shaped section and have to scroll to view the rest. It is possible, however, to print or export everything you've written.
In the main outline window, tabs allow you to quickly navigate to details about your overall story, characters or locations. You can also add tags to various cards in order to group them together and make them searchable.
There are also multiple ways this application provides for keeping track of research and ideas. You'll find a pin board where you can write note and add graphics, as well as a scrapbook where you can upload photos and make notes. Like the journal and the notebook, these two features seem to overlap in function. However, this overlap gives Writer's Café the flexibility to be used and adapted by writers with range of research and work styles.
Our favorite writing guide feature in this novel writing software is the random writing prompts. Based on the very true idea that to be a writer one must write every day, the application offers a place and a means to make that happen. Even if you're stuck on your own story, or if you have nothing as yet to write about, one click and you can be set to work on a randomly generated problem or character. You may find yourself writing about Mohammed Beene who wants to escape from prison and has a demanding boss; about Malory Decosta who is somehow involved in a collapsing house; or about topics as simple as crossing a river or a childhood home. Write in the notebook or journal. Set the time or word count goals, and start writing. You'll find your creativity flowing within just a few sentences.
This writing software also includes quite a wealth of writing tips called "recipes." Recipes with titles such as, "How to motivate your characters," "How to make the ending work" and "How to not panic" all offer sound advice for both the writer and her writing.
Ease of Use
Most of the features in Writer's Café are simple enough in theory, but we found that using some of them was just over the "easy" line and approaching the "too complicated" line. The story board and card system is useful, but for our reviewers who weren't used to organizing their writing in that way, the features actually got in the way. Additionally, the pin board and scrapbook sections were functional, and useful for organizing information, but adding the notes and graphics and other research or ideas proved cumbersome at times. The program is not difficult to use, but it's not as intuitive as some other programs.
Help & Support
There is a wealth of in-program help available through searchable help files that aptly describe how to use this book writing software's features. Additionally, the website offers FAQs and an email address to contact for technical support.
Writer's Café is good writing software, with enough flexibility to be functional, and enough structure to be valuable. The writing prompts and tips, as well as the journal feature, really encourage writers to write every day. However, if the structure and organization of the book writing software vary too much from your own preferred work style, you may find it cumbersome to use. For this reason, we'd recommend that new writers who are still figuring out their preferred organizational method check out our top product, WriteItNow.