Note Keeping Software for Writers [Escaped]

Note Keeping Software for Writers [Escaped]

Escaped From The Ultimate Guide for Writers (free to download from this site), I am publishing the software I consider would make good note keepers (from several sections within the UG4W e-book). I have also added some new software I’ve discovered since which will be included in the next edition of The Ultimate Guide for Writers.

This post will guide you to some note-taking database tools which work to keep character profiles, scene notes, research notes or what-have-you’s. Most of this software is freeware.

Of course, there are also some excellent full writing applications available both freely or commercially which include not only text editors for the actual writing, but various project management and organisation modules which allow you to take down notes on characters, settings and plot point. The Ultimate Guide for Writers lists pages of these for both Mac and Windows users. I am including one of my own favourite free ones in this post (yWriter) as a comparison.

Character Keeper

[Free, Adobe Air App] #

Created by the Magical Words group blog, Character Keeper is designed on Adobe Air. You will need to install Air if you have not done so already. Version 1.0 is free.

Simple text notes can be input and categorised into the clip database.



[Basic Free, Additional Functions – Commercial]

Debrief calls itself “software for saving notes on your PC”. By far the greatest amount of features – calendars, discussion notes, meetings, reading lists, day planning, decks of notescards etc belong to the Professional version ($39.95), but there is a Standard version ($29.95), and the Basic version, which allows simple notes in a folder structure, is free.


Idea Cruncher

[Commercial] #

Idea Cruncher is a very simple little database application which lets you create a list in a tree-like structure and put notes

against each list item. You could actually use it as a simple outliner for a piece of writing work, or to hold ideas for your writing.
There is a 30 day demo version, after that you will need to purchase the unlock code, for $9.99.


Key Note

[Free] #

KeyNote is free opensource software from Tranglos. It works as a RTF Notepad, keeping a tree-like structure on the left, and multiple richtext notes within the one file.

It integrates with WordWeb as a dictionary, and can import from html files and exporting out as .rtf or .txt files. Also can work with other freeware notes application formats such as those from Treepad.


Plot Craft

[Free] #

Plot Craft is a small free database application designed to hold a writer‘s ideas.

You can create as many databases as you need, or use just the one, and categorise the ideas you input under various categories (such as quotations). Ideas can be grouped, categorised into genres and sub-genres to help in filtering to find them again, once recorded.


Text Tree

[Commercial] #

Text Tree is a small outliner program which allows you to build tree like structures  or outlines with a large text panel to the right. There is a free downloadable demo for 17 uses, then Text Tree will cost $10


Treepad Lite

[Free] #

The free lite version of Treepad provides a useful utility for organising text information in a windows tree-like format. Each item entered into this tree can have formatted text notes entered. The items themselves can be customised with small icons selected from the range available within Treepad Lite.
Various licensed versions of Treepad are available if you want more functionality such as adding images into the notes, a secure database, or hyperlinks. There is also a free to download ebook-creator to configure your Treepad database into an executable eBook.
Can be installed as a portable app also.



[Free] #

yWriter is an extremely popular feature rich Writing application created by Spacejock Software. It is best known for containing copious features, yet being free.

Create scenes and chapters, character profiles and setting profiles. Use the internal editor to write these scenes and chapters, then build into a manuscript.

Or you can export out as RTF documents to be edited in Microsoft Word or Open Office. You can now use these Word / Writer applications to write your individual chapters and then import into yWriter also.

Also check out Spacejock‘s other free software such as Sonar and yEdit.

yWriter 5 is now available from Spacejock.


Additional References

I actually operate with a combination of organisation tools for writing. These can be summarised as -

  • Main Writing and Project Management – research notes and databases, images, character profiles, corkboard type notecards, timelines, tree-structured notes and text editors – I use Liquid Storybinder for this (the closest equivalent I could find to Mac user’s famous Scrivaner software).
  • Plot structuring itself – I use Writer’s Blocks
  • General Pre-Writing Outlining and Structuring – I use mindmapping software – MindManager 8. (This is one of the most popular posts here at JOW – MindMapping to Prepare for a Novel).
  • Note-taking and organisation including web clippings – outside of my larger writing projects I use a combination of OneNote and Evernote. Evernote allows me to also take notes on my PC, and on my iPhone, and these are synchronised onto the web database.
  • A few writing productivity tools on the desktop. You can get some good project timers in Adobe Air applications.

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This post was written by:

Michelle - who has written 262 posts on Juiced On Writing.

Michelle Thompson is building a career in both non-fiction and fiction writing. She's blogged for several years, and has previously written for arts, hobby and blogging themed magazines and websites. Her current work involves writing for some group blogs, pursuing a Second Life, and freelancing for some Second Life magazines. In fiction, Michelle is currently working on her second and third novels.

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One Response to “Note Keeping Software for Writers [Escaped]”

  1. Ashley Says:

    Thanks for the good review and info. Going to check out its features and use it.