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Screenwriting Product Review: StoryO Software

I've been able to check out lots of software products for writing in the past year and they have all been really cool. StoryO by Jungle Software is no exception. StoryO is a software designed for scriptwriters, novelists, playwrights and anyone else who needs to create and organize their writing. The unique thing about StoryO is it combines the features of many different software products into one and then offers even more.

Let me explain by telling you what I learned when I delved into this powerful full feature program.

Organizationally, StoryO is awesome. It's broken into 5 modules called Projects, Outline, Timeline Characters and Pitch. Start by creating a project. The project can be a single program or series. Each project is broken into segments. If it's a play you are writing, each segment might be an act. Writing a novel? Then each segment could be chapters. You get the idea. Now each segment can be broken into sequences such as scenes in the play or movie. It's all color coded so you can clearly see what belongs where in the story.

The Outline module is where you answer questions about the story and characters such as “What is the goal of the main character?” and “What is the purpose of the conflict character?” By answering as many of the questions as you can, you will really wrap your head around your story and where you want it to go.

The Timeline is the module where the story is put in order. This is done by using virtual color coded index cards with the pieces, or scenes, of your story written on them. You can move the cards around in any order you wish until the story feels right to you. The timeline gives you a birds-eye view of your entire project or you can zoom in to individual segments to get as close a look as you would like.

The next module is called Characters. It is just that. A place to create dynamic characters. In this section you really define who everyone is in your story. Answer the basic questions such as age and gender but then go in for a deep look at each one by discussing their background. Things such as education, job, family, beliefs and anything else you want to include to create a rich and textured character are done in this module. As you create the color coded index cards they become attached to the character automatically so you can see where each character shows up in the story. This is priceless information when writing.

Now for one of the coolest features StoryO software offers. This feature is used in the event that you want to seek funding for your book, movie, screenplay or project. The Pitch module. In the Pitch module you can easily create a Powerpoint-like presentation using pictures of your characters, places and things used in the project. There are templates where you drag and drop pictures, type custom text or use text from your virtual index cards. It just does not get any simpler to create a professional presentation that you can show to potential investors. Before I used StoryO, I knew nothing about pitching a project, but by experimenting with the included sample files, I now know I could certainly put a pitch together easily.

I have learned from dabbling with StoryO software that it is certainly one of the most feature rich programs on the market to take a script from concept to pitch. I've found that you can also print dozens of custom reports from any module you choose. With this feature you can really get an idea of the scope of each project you create in StoryO. StoryO helps you outline your writings to the molecular level at which point the project can be exported to a scriptwriting software such as Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, and Gorilla Film Production software. If you are an organization junkie then I highly recommend taking a look at this multi-featured, fun and ingenious software.

Pros: A full feature program that covers a lot of territory when it comes to developing a script, reasonably priced, and easy to figure out.

Cons: This might be petty but it has bit of a dated looking interface. It slightly reminds me of the old Windows computer programs.

Bottom Line: An affordable software that does everything it claims it will. It's a very powerful writing tool to have on your computer.

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“I started this project on Sunday and I'm already on page 27... I will also say that even though I don't use all the features of StoryO, the application did help me solve a number of conflicts in this project. I also just used a word doc to organize my thoughts before but StoryO is turning out to be a real asset to me.” - David M. (written on a Tuesday)

“For someone who writes as I do (organically, just sitting down and pounding the keyboard, scene by scene, with little in the way of notes or outlines), StoryO is a great find. I have always been skeptical of "methods" regarding organizing your story. because they make me feel too hemmed in by decisions I made too early. But at the same time, I spend many re-writes cleaning up issues that could have been solved simply, had I utilized a more clear-cut plan. The way StoryO allows you to fill in bits of information as you are inspired allows a writer to move ahead, know that info can be available and cross referenced as necessary, without forcing you to be emotionally locked in, seems to be precisely what would work for me.” - Jim B.

“I am having a blast with StoryO.” - Nick A.

“I appreciate that StoryO is an open type of story software, without a heavy philosophy about how to create a story.” - Miguel G.

“Really enjoying using StoryO so far. It's an excellent program.” - John H.

“I have to say...for a beta version it worked quite well and provided me with the things I needed to make for a good pitch that has been sent out in first draft and returned to me with gold on to the next revision.” - Marianne J.

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