After much blood, sweat, and tears (i.e., a google search), I managed to track down a few writing software packages for the PC.
I’ve been tinkering around with them, and I decided to take my mental thoughts, form sentences, type them into this glowing box, and share them with other poor PC users who are jealous of Scrivener and looking for something to fill the void.
I started with Writer’s Blocks 3.
Not an actual screenshot
I’m always amazed when I open a new program that looks like it was made in 1985. Writer’s Blocks is one of those programs. The opening screen looks like a less fun version of Zork II. Although, after I worked through the tutorial, I was pleased to discover users have the ability to change the font and color of the blocks. I adjusted the settings to be more visually appealing and continued exploring.
My second impression was that it seemed promising (the first being that I want to buy a DeLorean). The program allows users to import a manuscript, summarize plot points in boxes, and arrange boxes in columns, which logically would represent chapters. The boxes can be set to different colors which can represent themes, characters, plots lines, etc. When a box is moved, the associated text moves with it. So as you rearrange thoughts, the text rearranges to match. I will say the boxes don’t always cooperate when you try to move them, and the border does an annoying strobe effect when it’s engaged. But I have a feeling that's the kind of thing you get used to the more you use the program. It even has a word processor, so the manuscript can be directly typed and edited in the program.
Writer’s Blocks seemed like just the thing to “unjumble” the last few chapters of my book. I decided the next time I opened it I would import a few chapters and play around with their order. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance. Halfway through my 15 day trial, the program stopped opening due to an "Error in saving message." The website does offer a solution.
Apparently my User Account Control system doesn’t like one of the program’s components. I can't figure out why the program worked for several days before giving me the error message. To solve the issue, I have to run Writer's Blocks as an elevated application. I’m not going to do that, so this is the end of the road for me and Writer’s Blocks. WB, I wished we'd had more time together. I mean, we barely got to know each other!
Overall, Writer’s Blocks maybe might woulda coulda been a useful program. The blocks are a logical way to take an outline, fill it in, and rearrange it, all while working on the text in the word processor as well. There is nowhere to store character info, location details, or a timeline- which would be useful , but is clearly not the focus of this software. I’m a little concerned about the “bang for your book” aspect. It’s pricey, at $149, considering essentially it’s MS Word with post-it notes.
Requirements: 500 MHz Pentium computer or Higher
Memory: 64 MB RAM
Disk Space: 40 MB
Operating System: Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows ME