Let me start by saying I can’t write reviews unless I really like what I’m reviewing. Well, I really, really like this tool.
I’ve been using StoryBox for over a year now and it ticks all the boxes I look for in a good writing tool. Not only does it do everything that Word does, it does all the things that Word was never designed to do, such as letting me keep all the information relating to my current book in one ‘project’. Story, outline, synopsis, storyboard, characters, back-story, items, geography, you name it, StoryBox keeps it safe for me, never more than one click away. When I want to check something in amongst all that information I no longer need to search through folder after folder of cryptically named files trying to find the one I’m looking for, the information is just there in one of the many categories available to me. And if I can’t immediately find what I’m looking for then I just type a word into the search pane and a moment later I will have a list of every chapter, scene or note in which that word appears. Clicking on an item in the list takes me directly to that location. I can also create global tags which let me track themes in my writing. If I need to move a scene or chapter from one end of the story to the other then I can just drag and drop it via the storyboard. If I want to track my word count or keep an eye on word usage StoryBox does all that as well. Best of all though, when my story is finally done I can export it to a .txt file, an .rtf file or directly into EPUB format! Whether you intend to publish in ebook form or not, the ability to do so without any dramas is a great boon. I personally prefer to ‘read’ my story in EPUB form as I find it easier on the eyes and it stops me from editing as I go.
As much database as word processor, StoryBox quietly takes care of all this tricky stuff in the background without my ever having to think about how it’s done. Now that’s what I call a powerful tool. But wait! There’s more! StoryBox also gives me choice. If I want to write my whole mammoth story in one continuous document, I can. If I want to write it in separate chapters, I can. If I want chapters and scenes, I can do that too. If I want to outline the story before I begin to write, I can. If I prefer not to outline but would like to keep track of the story structure I can use the synopsis function to create a hierarchical list of chapters and scenes that give me a quick and dirty ‘overview’ of the story as I go. Last but not least, StoryBox lets me choose how much or how little I want to see on my screen. As I prefer to have as few distractions as possible when I’m being creative I generally only have a few panes open at any one time, however when I do need to use one of the hidden functions I can do so with a simple click of the mouse because they are all there, quietly waiting in the background. This gives me a squeaky clean layout that is very powerful yet still unobtrusive.
All of these features make StoryBox an easy to use, very powerful aid to writing but we all know that function is not everything; cost and after sales service are important as well.
At $34.95 StoryBox costs less than a night out at the movies and much, much less than the Office Suite. StoryBox also provides something that Office does not – a real, live person to answer questions, fix problems and respond to wishlists.
The real, live person behind StoryBox is Mark Fassett. Mark is a writer just like us and he is also a brilliant programmer/designer. More importantly, Mark wants StoryBox to be the best tool out there because he uses it himself so he not only listens to suggestions, he does something about them and all the great upgrades he provides are free.