11 Open Source Tools for Writers and Authors

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11 Open Source Tools for Writers and Authors

I'm not creative by any stretch of the imagination as my skills lie more with understanding technology and its application in everyday life, so I can't give advice on the softer side of writing skills (like the actual story creation process around plot and structure etc) but I can highlight some great technological aids that need not cost much to use.

Why technology in a creative process like writing?

1. Because you can work for months on a creative work and you don't want to lose it all in one fire, theft, flood, or temper tantrum, hard drive failure - if using a laptop or PC at home always save to a DropBox, Google Drive, or similar folder that is synced automatically to a cloud storage site.
2. Stories develop over chapters and even multiple books so you need to keep track of details around characters and locations and keep building consistently on them and an application allows for ready reference and updating, often no matter where you are physically located.
3. Electronic applications also often allow for easy sharing or obtaining comment from others, organising of research notes, quick search, and many more features.
4. Various services also allow character name generation, location name generation, grammar and spell checking, etc. All this makes final editing quicker (meaning cheaper).
5. There are some services online that allow you to get quotes from professionals to do editing, cover design, and even publishing without you having to leave your home.

So whilst the creative process itself remains largely the same, there are many tools that can be considered to help organise that process.

A good place to start is with this article at http://bit.ly/2fU2EcP which is titled "11 Open Source Tools for Writers" where they highlight two well known full novel creation tools called Bibisco (http://www.bibisco.com/) and Manuskript (http://www.theologeek.ch/manuskript/). Both are free and work across Windows, Linux and Mac (in case you switch computers at some point).

A paid alternative for Windows and Mac is Scrivener (about $40) and you can look at its features at http://literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php?show=features. They have a public beta of a Linux version at https://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=33.

Hiveword is an online reource for generation of random character and location names as https://hiveword.com/. They also have a free basic servicce , and also covers the basics with scenes, characters, settings, items, and plotlines. The Novel Factory is online for $40 at https://www.novel-software.com/features

There are also good free grammar and spell checkers that can be used such as Grammarly (https://www.grammarly.com/) or After The Dedaline (http://afterthedeadline.com/ and open source). Both are free for personal use and offer pretty good functionality in their free versions. Grammarly ismore polished though and more up to date.

Online services such at Trello (https://trello.com) also provide virtual boards with cards and lists that you can organise, and it is easy to call it up at any tim eon your mobile device to quickly add or chnage something. It is a sort of better orgainsed and more visual Evernote.

And for pure brainstorming a fre mind mapping tool like XMind will take you a long way - see http://www.xmind.net/features/ or a fully free and open source option is also FreeMind at http://freemind.sourceforge.net/.

And speaking of technology if you intend to publish into eBook format, the major open standard is ePub and you can look at Sigil which is a free, open source, multi-platform ebook editor. It is designed to edit books in ePub format (both ePub 2 and ePub 3) - see https://sigil-ebook.com/about/.

I hope this is of some help to writers and authors and would be interested to hear in the comments if there are other great technological aids that assist anyone for writing or authoring books.

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