Storyist 1.5 review

Aimed at novelists and screenwriters, both beginners and professionals, Storyist brings a level of order and uniformity to your creative endeavours. Part word processor, with support for headers, footers and style sheets, part storyboard tool, Storyist also acts as project manager to shoebox together your collection of roughs, plot ideas, characters, notes and research.

An attractive, fuss free interface, gives access to your manuscript, plot, characters, settings and notebook. All these and more are available from a customisable Toolbar. When you first open Storyist you get the option to choose novel or screenplay templates, both of which are formatted to at least look like you know what you are doing when you submit your work. Each comes with some handy placeholder text so that you see how things should look. In novel mode, text is double-spaced, left aligned, and set in a 12-point Courier font in order to enable publishers to easily estimate word count.

The Courier font is well chosen and is crisp and easy on the eye. Additionally, you can zoom the text to fit your screen so typing is more of a pleasure then chore especially on a smaller monitor or MacBook. Once you have familiarised yourself with the interface and various elements of Storyist it becomes intuitive to switch between your main manuscript workspace and the range of useful tools.

Along with text and file formats you can also import images, such as location scenes, characters and other forms of visual inspiration. Virtual colour coded index cards on a corkboard offer the option to view, edit and move story or plot elements. Story Sheets, editable forms you simply fill in, can add flesh to the bones of characters and scenes by expanding on background details to the foundations of your story or screenplay. A traditional flexible outlining tool that lets you display and edit not only your section summaries, but also any custom field, is a bonus.

A few useful new tools and features are still in beta or "on the list" with plenty of room for future development. Storyist essentially relies on you to do a lot of the groundwork to plan and plot your novel or screenplay. If you're happy to type away your thoughts in say, Microsoft Word and see where your story takes you, then Storyist is probably not for you.

OUR VERDICT

Its clear from the small but dedicated Storyist forums that version 2 should significantly build on the successes of the current version, incorporating several of the suggested features highlighted by user feedback. Until then, Storyist is still an excellent tool for shaping your novel or screenplay that looks to have a bright future ahead.

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