Friday, November 19, 2010

And now for something completely different.

I was going to do a proper NaNoWriMo post, but then I realised that a) a lot of people have said what I wanted to say, and I'd just be repeating them and b) meh. So instead I'm posting about a program that I was introduced to through NaNoWriMo... last year, I think, actually.

Liquid Story Binder is developed by Black Obliesk Software. It's basically exactly what it sounds like - a virtual binder. On using it for the first time, it can be overwhelming because it's such a versatile program, and can be rather complicated at first.

I initially wasn't that drawn to it - there was too much for me to even think of using, and I just couldn't be bothered to figure it out. And then as more and more of my writing settled itself in the same universe, and I needed a way to be able to cross-reference between storylines and character profiles and timelines, I realised that it was probably much better to use than I thought.

It's a teeny little program - download size comes in at about 7 mbs. And then you open it, and then you discover just how much is stuffed into that itty bitty program.

I would say it's like Microsoft OneNote meets yWriter5 meets a simplified version of XMind. And maybe a few others besides. I mean, sure, you could use any of these programs individually, but eventually having several programs open all at once can get a bit taxing (and that's if you're actually organized. I am not. This helps with the organization a lot).

Off the top of my head, this program can:
- produce outlines
- create mind maps
- create character listings
- has a fully-loaded word processor (that's more like Wordpad than Notepad) which also has a full screen mode
- produce storyboards
- a built-in journal section
- an image gallery
- create checklists
- create timelines
- a playlist manager (which I've never used because my sound card is on the fritz and I rarely listen to music on my computer anymore)

I'm still looking for the option that makes me tea, but it does A LOT. And it's teeny. I think the developers have access to Time Lord technology.

Considering all it can do, LSB costs a fairly reasonable $50 USD. If that made you wince a little (I did just say how small the program was, after all), that $50 registration/license/whatever code entitles you to 1) free upgrades for... basically forever... from the time you buy it and 2) the ability to use the program on any computer (that runs Windows XP through 7, of course) you wish. (It was actually point 2 that I was concerned about, because my computer is getting up there in age, and I may need to replace it within the next year, and I didn't particularly want to spend another $50 to get a new license when I do. Apparently, it's nothing to be worried about.) Which - considering the racket that a lot of programs have (Microsoft Office, I'm looking at you and your "three computers only" license deal you have going on) - is incredibly reasonable. (It's also currently discounted for the month of November - 50% off. I paid $24 CAN for it. They're supporters of NaNoWriMo) You can also test-drive it for 30 non-consecutive days and see how much you like it.

I don't have any screenshots of my own setup (suffice to say it's very simple and everything centers around a listing), but the LSB website has examples of how it can be set up.

All in all, I really like this program. :D


  1. I wandered over from Eyeconic Makeup. I -=LOVE=- the header image!!

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo!

  2. @ LiAnn: Thank you! :D NaNoWriMo turned out pretty well, all things considered. :D