I've been looking for a program that can help me do more on-screen editing, and I was impressed by the designer's web site, so I decided to give this one a personal test drive. Downloading the Windows .exe file, which was 18.9 MB, took about ninety seconds over broadband. Installing was also a no-brainer and didn't take long, maybe a minute (I didn't write down the figure for memory requirement, but I think it requires around 81 MB disk space to install and run the program.) I went right into the program and started to play (click on any image that follows to see larger version):
This is pretty much what the start up screen looks like (I tinkered a bit with the defaults for the box borders and background color.) One thing I decided that immediately had to go was the little info map square at the top left of the work area; you can hide it by clicking on the slanty arrow right next to it.
I set up the boxes for some text I wanted to edit and what I thought I'd need to jot down as notes while editing:
For this book I'm creating a glossary and a style sheet, so I used two boxes for additions to those. I made an editing task list on the opposite side with notes for what I needed to check, rework or rewrite. I then went ahead and edited the text, but I had to scroll up and down a lot (the boxes have scroll bars, but to move around the work area you use the little black triangle arrows on the borders, which took some getting used to.) About halfway through the text the scrolling started to get annoying, so I resized the boxes to give me a full page of text and smaller, sticky-note size notes to myself on either side:
This was a more workable format for me, and being able to see the entire page of text definitely helped me edit more efficiently. I only had to check the online help page once to find out how to hide the info map. The only drawback to using it was discovering that I couldn't print out my notes, but I then found I could export them to Word (which was not really a big deal.)
I like this program a lot as an on-screen editing environment. I also think it would perform well as a mind-mapper, a virtual storyboard for plotting, and a simple, first draft-type writing area. I would love to see it direct-to-print enabled -- why, yes, I am that lazy -- and I think it would also be cool if you could import actual images as well as text into the note boxes (if there is an option to do this, I didn't find it tonight. All I see is an export option that allows you to send a screenshot to the clipboard or as a .png) Looking at an image of someone or something while I'm simultaneously writing about them would help me with little details that I might not remember. So would having the ability to put floor plans, scene choreography maps or story palettes up on the screen next to a chapter I'm editing.
What I really liked was how easy and logical Story Lite is to use from the first time you give it a go. The limited amount of tools and commands on the task bar were a big plus for me; I find I'm more apt to experiment and try using a new program if there aren't a bazillion menus, icons and options I have to first figure out. I also think it can be used for many other writing tasks, as you can pretty much tailor it to your individual needs.
If any of the above sounds useful to you working writers, I highly recommend giving this freeware a try. I also think it's worth watching, as the designer is planning to develop it, and has created a community for registered users to provide feedback and exchange ideas.