If you are a writer, you would have used tools like Final Draft or Scrivener to create your work. What if you are a Linux user and those tools are not available on Linux platform? What choices do you have to create your novels, scripts, or screenplays. Well, you are not totally lost. Here are some Linux-based creative writing applications for you.
Celtx focuses on scriptwriting (television and movies), although it does also have templates for novels. When opening the program, you’re prompted to select the type of project you’re working on (novel, comic book, theatrical feature, etc…), with the ability to add items to the project such as scripts, sketches, bookmarks, and characters. The main window contains an editor for your writing, with some rudimentary styling controls available.
One of the main features of Celtx includes index cards you can use to brainstorm and organize your thoughts by plotline, the ability to arrange scenes into chapters and parts. There are two versions of the application available: a free version, and a premium version that provides extra features such as the ability to arrange index cards into plot and timeline views (they are displayed in a flat list only in the free version).
In contrast, Plume Creator is focused on prose-based creative writing. It also maintains your writing in scenes and chapters (with early support for an outliner), but in addition to characters also helps manage places and items, which are key features for writers of fiction. Plume lets you maintain a collection of these elements and associate them with your work(s) as appropriate for easy reference in the right-hand panel.
Plume also features a fullscreen (i.e. distraction-free) interface, and the ability to attach a synopsis and notes individually to the novel as a whole, or at the chapter or scene level. It is available for download as a .deb file.
Billing itself as the number-one open source program for novel writing, Storybook does offer more advanced features than Plume, including the tagging of locations and characters, multiple views (by timeline, by chapter, and views of the entire book). It also focuses on organizing scenes or chapters into “Strands,” or plotlines. Other useful items are a global pool of idea/notes and the ability to assign status to scenes to display them in “to-do” lists.
The Pro version contains further enhancements (and no ads, as the free version does), including exporting of content (such as chapters and/or the entire work) into formats such as PDF or ODT, with formatting. It also offers graphical views of characters (such as one called “Who is Where, When?”) and a Gantt Chart of character lifecycles. Lastly, the Memoria tool allows authors to track objects over time (a usefule feature for longer series where characters change significantly). Storybook is available as a .bin file, and will install to your “~/opt/storybook” directory.
Don’t let tools like the Final Draft and Scrivener fool you… Mac and Windows aren’t the only creative writing platform in town (although Scrivener has been testing a Linux beta for some time now). If you’re a Linux user with an idea for a novel, you’ve got access to all the tools you need.
Let us know if you are using other writing tools not mentioned in the above list.
Image credit: write
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