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Fairfield, Queensland, Australia
Fairfield Writers Group is a mix of beginner and experienced writers who meet the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at the Brisbane City Council Library in Fairfield Gardens Shopping Centre, Fairfield road, Fairfield, Queensland. Our passion is writing and we work hard at our craft. Our aim is to encourage, support and help each other to reach new heights in our writing. New members are always made welcome and usually whisked off to the local coffee shop at the end of meetings for sustenance and socialisation with the rest of the crew.

Welcome to Fairfield Writers Group

We hope you will stop for a while and browse our site and if you like what you see, please visit us again soon.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Review of WriteItNow Creative Writing Software by Lorraine Cobcroft

Lorraine told everyone at our last writing group meeting about WriteItNow Creative Writing Software. I checked it out and was most impressed by their Screen Shots and then the free Demo Download. After reading Lorraine's review on the WriteItNow Website, I was convinced it was exactly what I needed to start my first novel and I have since paid for a registered version.

I'm now really looking forward to writing my book because I know I 'll be organised...Carol

Below is Lorraine's review that also describes very well the features of this software  - 

Word processing software offers some wonderful conveniences for writers of reports, and business documents, but novel writers need more.

Over the past few years, a number of specialist software companies have developed packages designed to meet the specific needs of novelists, but few have succeeded as well as Ravenshead Services Ltd, creators of WriteItNow Creative Writing Software. Now in Version 4.03, WriteItNow is not only an inexpensive and delightfully feature rich, high performance tool for the would-be-novelist, but also a fabulous tool for writers of other types of books and long reports, particularly those involving research and requiring convenient tools for rearranging sections.

Priced at just $59.95 USD, the software is affordable for even the poorest of writers, and the support from the team at Ravenshead is excellent. A free demonstration is available for trial before you commit to purchase. Buying is easy from their Internet store. You will be supplied with an Unlock Code to enter into your demonstration to convert it to a fully usable product, and Ravenshead generously allow you to use the same Unlock Code to use the software on up to six computers, as long as you own all of them.

Ravenshead supplies a rich array of tutorials assist you to make the most of its features —though it is highly intuitive and has an excellent Help facility built in.

The software opens, by default, to reveal a split window, with five main menu headings , a navigation window on the left, and a larger window displaying ten tabs. Regardless of which tab you select, an editing window occupies most of the screen. The appearance of the editing window changes depending on the tab selected, but all provide for typing text. The editing window features a series of tools for text editing.

All the expected word processing tools are included, like a Spell Checker with a choice of editable dictionaries; find and replace tools; select, cut, copy, and paste; and tools to move quickly to the start or end of a section of text. Each editing window features a series of buttons to apply bold, italic or underline to selected text and undo or redo recent changes. You can also use the Tools button to insert accented characters.

Two excellent additional features in provided in the editing windows are Links and Web buttons.
The Links button lets you insert links anywhere in your text to connect instantly to a chapter or scene, character description, location, event, idea, note, or to another file, a web page, or a reference. The link will appear in your text as a small graphic icon, and clicking the icon will take you directly to the linked location. It’s great for cross-referencing to, for example, ensure consistency of descriptions of people and places.

The Web button provides tools for instant look-up of relevant websites—to search the web for a word or phrase; find quotations or rhymes; locate suitable images to illustrate your work; or to reference a dictionary, thesaurus or encyclopaedia on the web. These tools are particularly useful to writers working on non-fiction books that require extensive research, and for writers of historical novels. Once you find the information you need, insert a Reference Link and record where the information or quote was extracted from, and acknowledging sources becomes a simple task, whether you choose to do it via footnotes or a bibliography.

The main tabs above the editing window enable users to move between the story overview, chapters and scenes, characters descriptions, event descriptions, location descriptions, random notes and idea, relationship and timeline charts, lists of references, and a page for recording submissions. Navigation is replicated in the navigation window, using a tree structure to expose links.

The Main Menu

The File Menu invites writers to start a new story, open an existing story (either by finding a file with a .wnw extension, or selecting from a list of recently opened stories), save a story, import an RTF file, restore from a recent revision (to recover a story if you decide you don't like recently made changes), or delete all revisions. I especially love the way WriteItNow retains multiple revisions of each story, so that changes can be easily undone.

The Export menu offers options to export your story directly to a web page (HTML) or compiled ebook, as well as to an RTF file (manuscript) or simple text file. A rich selection of Export Setup Options let you choose exactly what the exported manuscript will look like. You can:

Set your preferred page size and margins
Select the line spacing, paragraph alignment and indenting,
Set preferred fonts and sizes
Customize your cover page
Set up headers and footers
Choose whether to include your overview, notes, references, chapters, events, scenes, characters, locations, and/or ideas.
Choose whether or not to include an 'end story' marker, and define how it should appear if used.
Choose whether to include links in summary or detail
Choose whether to start a new page after each scene and/or chapter
Choose whether or not to remove blank lines
Choose whether to include your submissions list
Choose to use smart quotes
Choose to include an RTF Table of Contents

Under the Tools menu heading, you will find an excellent selection of writing aides, including a word counter, Readability assessor , thesaurus, and global find and replace tool. The newly added Story Board displays a graphical representation of your chapters and scenes and lets you drag and drop to rearrange, as well as editing, deleting, and adding scenes and chapters quickly.

Writing targets helps writers track their efforts, by setting daily targets in hours and words. Once targets are set, WriteItNow will tally the time elapsed and words written (counting only words written for chapters and scenes, and excluding notes, events, ideas etc.)

Writers struggling with characterization will love the character creation tools. You can create a random character, or use the Add-on character creator for more automation. The Creator lets you select gender, then provides detailed help to select a name. You can then use the Archetype, Enneagram, or Myers Briggs personality type specifications to build personalities for your hero, mentor, and other characters in your story. The system will automatically build a description for your character, and you can select a period in the Timeline section and enter a year of birth to find historical events in which to involve your character, or to provide a background for your story. Once your character is added, move to the Characters window to specify a date of death, edit the character description and personality, and create family, personal and other relationships. You can also optionally add a picture. Updating relationships automatically transfers relationship information entered for one character to any other related character. For example, if your description of Mary states that Mary is Jack's daughter, updating will ensure that the description of Jack shows Mary as his daughter.

WriteItNow also offers a Prompts tool, offering the choice to add, edit or use prompt sets. Prompt sets are sets of questions that guide your writing. For example, when you create a character, a list of questions about this person's appearance, personality, and habits help you describe the character. Provided prompt sets include scene prompts, location prompts, event prompts, prompts the help build ideas, acts and stories, and even prompts to help you contact publishers who might be interested in your book.

The other options on the main menu are Settings, which allows you to set a range of preferences including appearance of the screen, and which web sites are used for web lookups; and Help.


The primary tools for navigating your story are the tabs at the top of the editing window or the tree branches in the navigation window on the left, depending on your personal preferences. Both allow you to move quickly between story overview, chapters and scenes, character descriptions, location descriptions, random notes and ideas, and charts, submissions and references.

When you begin a new story, WriteItNow presents the Overview window, in which you enter a title and the author’s name, then type a brief summary of your story idea. A neat little "Title Generator" helps you with ideas for a title.

Next, you may want to create some characters for your story. The Character window initially opens to display only a series of navigation buttons, the text "0 of 0" (indicating that no characters have been created yet), and a + and - button for adding and deleting. Once you have created characters, the arrow buttons let you move from one to the next or from first to last; to Go To button displays a list of all the characters, and the indicator text changes to show how many characters you have created and which character number you are currently viewing.

Click + to add a new character, and the window changes to display fields for the character's title, first, middle and last name, usual name (nickname), gender, and birth and death dates. An editing window is topped by a series of tabs labelled "Description", "Personality", "Family Relationships", Personal Relationships, Other Relationships, and Picture. Here you can enter detailed information about various aspects of your character. Depending which tab you select, you may be presented with a window for typing free text, or specialized tools. The Personality Tab, for example, provides a list of traits to select, and for each you can set a value between 1 and 100 to indicate the degree to which this trait applies. For example, if you select 'affection' and set the value to 55, a description window on the right will indicate that the character is quite affectionate. By moving personality indicators up and down in the list, you indicate which personality traits are most dominant in this character.

In the Relationships windows, you show how the characters are inter-related at different points in the story, using start and end dates. The “Personal Relationship" window lets you set values for relationships. For example, you might create a relationship between Jim and Mary to show that Jim admires Mary, and set a value of Strong or Very Strong to indicate the degree of admiration felt.

If you upload a picture for your character, you can convert the picture to an icon to replace the simple icons usually used for selecting characters in the navigation window.

The Events tab, Location, and Notes tabs all appear identically to the Characters tab when first opened, and feature the same navigation buttons. When you create a new Event, however, fields display to enter an event title, and a split window offers a Details tab for typing details of the event, and an Event Characters window for selecting which characters are involved in this event. Below the Details window, Start and End Date selectors display the time period in which this event is set, and you can set and change these dates using the calendar that pops up when you click on the date icon to the left of the date.

The Locations, Notes and Ideas windows all display simple editing windows with a field for the title. The Charts window features tabs for displaying charts of relationships between characters, and a timeline chart of your story.

In the Submissions window, enter the details of who the manuscript was sent to, date sent, date of reply, date published, date paid, and the amount received for your story.

And finally, in the References window, enter the title of the referenced text, and author name, pages, publication date, and other details, and specify how the reference text will appear in your manuscript.

Ultimately, of course, all these tools are useless if they don't lead to a story, so the Chapter Window plays a critical role by providing a place to assemble all the location, character and event information to write scenes and assemble chapters that can be rearranged in the Storyboard to build your completed story or book. However short or long the work, the provided tools deliver welcome assistance to ensure consistency of characterization and location and to help you record thoughts and ideas in an orderly, easy to access way.

When you are finally done writing, WriteItNow automatically formats your manuscript ready for printing, or web publishing, or distribution as an e-book.

From first idea to final manuscript — from short stories to full length novels and non-fiction tomes — WriteItNow is the ideal tool for both budding and accomplished authors. It automates the tedious tasks, to let you concentrate on being creative. Keeping you organized and focused, WriteItNow removes some of the frustrating road blocks that obstruct author productivity. And when your masterpiece is done, the team at Ravenshead will be delighted to add a link to your website and allow you to write a few words to promote your work — because they don't just make great tools for writers, they actually delight in supporting authors in their quest for success!

A further review from Lorraine on WriteItNow -

By the way, I switched to WriteItNow rather nervously after using other writing software for a time and having all sorts of performance problems with it. WriteItNow is fabulous by comparison - much friendlier.

Lorraine's Website

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