StoryWeaver 3.1 for Macintosh OS X

Pros: Walks you through the development of your story
Cons: Some tedium; unworkable due to frequent crashes
Rating: [1.5 out of 5*]

*For once, I feel the need to point out right from the start that since StoryWeaver is Storymind’s most popular product, I can only assume that my results with it were not typical. That said, I have to write my review based on what I experienced, not what I’ve heard about it. So, I recommend that if the concept sounds interesting, you look around for more reviews. I’d welcome any links to other good reviews (positive or negative, as long as they’re well-considered and informative) in the comments section of this review.

I evaluated StoryWeaver 3.1 on Macintosh OS 10.3.9, although it’s also available for Windows. Its purpose is to walk you step-by-step through pinning down your story ideas, generating inspiration, brainstorming characters and character details, through developing and detailing your plot, and so on. It includes plenty of questions to ask yourself and exercises to play with, links to web pages containing further information on various topics, and so on.

Individually I’ve seen most of these exercises and tips before. However, it’s really nice to have a piece of software to walk you through them, and I was very much looking forward to playing with that. One of the niftier features is the program’s ability to print your answers to previous questions in a sidebar box for you to refer to while working on relevant later questions, and I found this quite useful as I filled out character information.

I did find that some of the exercises got a bit tedious. For instance, some of the character development exercises have you take your brainstormed list of possible characters and play around with, in successive iterations, swapping such things as profession, age, and so on. If you do this several times with a short list of characters, you’ll probably end up with some of your characters back where they started; if you do it with a long list of character’s you’ll probably get very tired of the exercise very quickly (I found it very tedious after a couple of iterations, and that was despite copy-pasting and then altering rather than writing the list over from scratch each time). Perhaps it would have been better to have one exercise with suggested variations rather than trying to stretch the idea out through several iterations.

I really wish that I could evaluate the rest of the software. However, this is the point in the program at which it started crashing repeatedly. Not just once, not once every so often, but within two minutes of my opening the program every single time. Finally I opened my file at one point and found that much of my information was gone or mangled.

I did run a thorough check-and-repair program to try to make sure the problem was with the program rather than my computer. Then I started fresh with a new file and a new set of ideas to develop. Unfortunately, the whole thing happened all over again.

Perhaps it’s the Mac version, and the Windows version is fine. Perhaps it’s the Mac version on this particular version of OS X. I don’t know what the problem is. I can assume that it isn’t universal since there are apparently other people who use the program just fine, but I can’t tell you under what circumstances it will work.

I apologize for the delay in this review as I wanted to take the time to make sure it wasn’t just the one file that had gotten corrupted, or some problem with my computer. However, at this point the only real evaluation I can make of this program is that on the whole the process looks very useful, and there are some good features. However, some of the questions become tedious, and apparently under some circumstances the program simply isn’t usable.

Again, please do post comments linking to other reviews if you find them.

Posted in Reviews, Writing Tagged with: , , , ,
4 comments on “StoryWeaver 3.1 for Macintosh OS X
  1. Ellen Griesmeyer says:

    I would have been happy to hear a full review from you on the StoryWever program. It sounds like you know a lot about writing. I recently purchased StoryView and I am purchasing Dramatica Pro to get all of the nuts and bolts of a novel in order before writing it. I’m 54 years old and I am a professional artist for 40 years, I now want to write. What program would you suggest for me to use to compile into the actual book form?

    It sounds to me that you have too many programs running on your computer. My husband owns a software company and I am a computer person also. One day when I tried to run 2 graphics programs at a time I kept crashing. As time went on it got worse. In the lower right hand corner of your computer screen at the very bottom you can see all of the stuff running. Do you need it all? Also you may want to see if there are cookies on you computer, I call them suckers because they slow you down. Or pictures…too many pictures. The program probably works fine and offers a money back gaurantee. I am woking with XP Pro at this time.

    The main concern that I have is that it does not have a word processor with the program…It works off of your own word processor….I don’t know how important that is. The author helped to make Dramatica Pro. I listened to an hour of her free training program and I looked at her clip on the Dramatica companion which shows how to use the program This girl knows what she is doing on some level. I just don’t know if it is the very best program that I could buy. I’m open to suggestions so if you have any let me know.

    I don’t think that you had a fair try at the StoryWeaver program. The program is designed to be used after your story has been developed with the other programs. This program is designed be the place where you put it all together. It is the tool to use to be the very last phase of your work, the actual writing of the manuscript. Her on line video clearly stated that. She clearly says that the Dramatica Pro Software and/or StoryView would be used before you would go to StoryWeaver. StoryWeaver is to be used when you get to 3rd base so to speak, and have only to put everything down on paper in the actual document of a book format. It is designed to keep kicking in new ideas while you are pounding it out in the last phases of creating your art. It is not the tool to use when you are just starting your story.

    StoryView is not considered an absolute necessity I love organization. And most reveiws considered it difficult to learn or described it as ‘having a learning curve’. StoryView is like having Cure cards on Steroids. With a free download I found that I was like a fish in water. But I soon found out that I still needed Dramatica Pro. Now that one is a little more challenging I admit, and I was intrigued when I started to use the free download. This one is a must and I was quite relieved when I saw her training program on Dramatica.

    Thank you for your comments on this program as I am considering to purchase it at this time.
    Ellen Griesmeyer

  2. heather says:

    Actually, my husband and I are both computer people as well (that’s his professional area), and the problem wasn’t having too many programs, pictures, or cookies. A couple of other people have gotten in touch with me since then to tell me they had the exact same problem with the program, although they didn’t mention whether they too were using the Mac version.

  3. Ellen Griesmeyer says:

    I would be interested in knowing if it is the MAC version that has a problem. It sounds like you did not get all of the features of the StoryWeaver program to operate properly. I have in the past had the same problem with programs that I purchased which were advertised as WIN programs only to find out they could work on a MAC only. It’s frustrating. The program that you have may also have been corrupted.

    After reading your review I am considering other alterrnatives like Power Structure which can be found on direct from the manufacturer. With it comes another program, Power Writer, which is also rated in the top ten. Power Structure has a word processor and more tools come with it also.

    I might get PowerStructure with the PowerWriter program for a while and pick up StoryWeaver later as it might serve to stimulate the creative process. Also it may very well be the point of reference in her training sessions ‘on line’. I like the principles that it is based on only because I have never written a book and I relate to her teaching method.

    Thanks for your response,

  4. Herminio says:

    Ellen, I have Dramatica Pro for Mac, but hav also used the Windows version back in my PC days. It is a wonderful software whose reviews barely make justice to. Honestly, and I am not kidding, I read many articles on the net regarding Dramatica Pro and none of them prepared me for the awesomeness of this program. I could not believe my eyes on how intuitive it is.
    There is a DEMO version you can try. However, I do not recommend you use it for your novel because it will not allow saving. Instead, use it to play with it and get a feel of its abilities and potential contributions. I am finishing the draft of a Sci-Fi novel, my first, and I have to say i have no complaints whatsoever. It even helped in obtaining names for the characters… and got me out of a few instances of writer’s block! It is that good. It will engage you, and won’t want to stop… try it and you’ll see what I mean.

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