Friday, January 25, 2008

Test Drive Ten

Ten Things for the Demo/Free/Free Trial/Shareware Lovers

Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.

1. Dr. Louis Crew from Rutgers University has an entire page of shareware for writers which he makes available as freeware, too. Of special note for those of us who are grammar-challenged: Styled, which "monitors sentence length, word length, punctuation, syntax, weak verbs, and nominalization. It reports to disk files which you can use when you edit. It also graphs and lists to the screen" (OS: looks like Windows only, but correct me if I'm wrong in comments.)

2. Celtx bills itself as "the world's first fully integrated solution for media pre-production and collaboration. It replaces old fashioned 'paper, pen & binder' media creation with a digital approach to writing and organizing that's more complete, simpler to work with, and easier to share." Appears to be freeware but don't hold me to that. Celtx also has an interesting project site where Celtx users hang out, post work and compare notes. Although primarily designed for visual media, this one might work as a story mapper and/or a virtual whiteboard for writers (OS: Looks like Windows but I couldn't find a definite system requirement section or notation anywhere. If anyone knows, please give us a heads-up in comments.)

3. Consideo Modeler mind-mapping freeware allows you to "visualize, explore, evaluate, communicate and foresee intuitively the complex connections in any field. As easy to use as mindmapping though more powerful you can model you everyday's decisions" (OS: Windows, Linux, Mac OSX)

4. Liquid Story Binder XE provides a fully functional 30 trial download of its shareware, that is a "uniquely designed word processor for professional and aspiring authors, poets, and novelists. Writing software for those who require the editing ability of a commercial text editor as well as a document tracking system. It is for those who want the freedom to create, outline and revise but are tired of losing track of their work" (OS: Windows XP, Vista)

5. Vincenzo Ciancia's PDF200 is not a .pdf editor, but it does allow you to "import pdf files in openoffice. It takes a pdf in input, and exports an openoffice presentation where each page of the original document is put as an high-resolution image. It supports transparency and color. The pdf exporting facility of allows you to use it as a "free pdf editor", even if documents will get bigger and will have worse quality" (OS: Linux, may run in Windows and Mac, see requirements)

6. Power Writer has a free demo download to show you how it can "jump from outline to manuscript, from research to character development then back to your manuscript again all without ever losing a beat" (OS: "Windows 95 or better and will run fine on any operating system through Windows XP. Macintosh programs typically require a PowerPC CPU running OS 8.1 or better unless otherwise specified")

7. Summarizer is "a simple freeware Cocoa application that allows you to breakdown the structure of any book or text that is available electronically. Load the book, go through it and add separator markers, then just hit "Summarize". A list of sections along with corresponding word counts will be generated, ready for you to enter a summary for each. You can import the results into Scrivener should you wish to emulate the structure of your favourite book in your own writing." (OS: Mac OS X Tiger 10.4)

8. The free trial version of TextAloud "reads text from email, web pages, reports and more, aloud on your PC. TextAloud can also save your daily reading to MP3 or Windows Media files ready for playback on your iPod, PocketPC, or even on your TV with Tivo's Home Media Option" (OS:Win 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista)

9. Thinking Rock freeware "to collect your thoughts and process them into actions, projects, information or future possibilities. Actions can be done by you, delegated to someone else or scheduled for a particular date. Projects can be organised with ordered actions and sub-projects. You can review all of your actions, projects and other information quickly and easily to see what you need to do or to choose what you want to do at a particular time" (OS: Windows, Linux, Mac)

10. Writers Blocks shareware offers a fully functional free trial download that "will help you pull together your ideas, notes, and research for your complex writing projects. Use blocks to capture, organize, outline, and structure your documents" (OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows ME)


  1. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Dear Lynn/Sheila,
    I just finished reading "Evermore."
    Thank you for a most enjoyable time. Jayr & Byrne's story was enthralling. I also liked the further development of the relationship between Alex & Michael. By continuing their story as you feature the romance of a new couple in each Darkyn book, I believe that you create reality in your fantasy world. Jayr's poetry provided an extra fillip of pleasure.
    I have loved the Robin Hood legends since the 1950s series with Richard Green, but Zorro has always been my favorite. I don't suppose you could work him in somewhere in the Darkyn world?
    Thanks, again.

  2. Thanks for the listing.

    Concerning Celtx -

    According to the download page, the program has versions for Mac, Linux and windows.


  3. Anonymous8:06 AM

    Yep, Celtx is free, open source, and cross platform.


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