Inspiration! Liquid Story Binder XE

I remember many years ago, I was reading Melissa Marr's blog (she was then just a simple struggling novelist like me). She was talking about her process while she was writing Wicked Lovely. I was mesmerised by her creativity. She would set a mood all around her with pictures taped to her monitor and desk so she could capture the scenes of her imaginary world. It was a familiar world in that it was city-scapes of today, but since she didn't live right in the heart of a major city, she needed to immerse herself in that world.

I also remember thinking that I'd love to do the same thing with my work, but I couldn't at the time. I was writing a middle grade novel set in the here and now and also set in the town I was living, but I never forgot the inspiration she shared and it followed me to my current WIP. This one needs mood because it is set in an imaginary world. And I have to be immersed in that world or I won't be able to write it very well.

I tried to use pictures in a notebook. Whenever I'd start writing, I'd open the book to the pictures I'd need, but there was always something missing when I'd get to writing on the page. It was blank. All I had was my mind to keep me there, but if I needed more inspiration, I'd stop writing and pull out the notebook. It was very cumbersome. And then someone suggested a new writing software program that has changed my writing life forever!

It's called Liquid Story Binder. And it's so modern and so inspiring that I've written over 7000 words this week. No longer do I have to stop writing and look at the pictures of inspiration--they're right there staring at me as I work. The picture to the left is an example of what my workspace looks like (although it's a sample from the product website--I couldn't take a pic of my workspace.) Black Obelisk software was kind enough to give me permission for the photos.
The features of this software are amazing and I can use it for any of my work--long or short. It has a story board feature, perfect for my picture books.

Here are my favorite features:

1. Get Organized fast! Everything is encompassed in chapters, so each chapter has its own gallery (pictures), outline, chapter writing (where you do the writing), goal word count, project stats, time it takes you to write in the session and more!

2. Outlining is easy! You can first create a folder for your book. Then you create how many working chapters you might have. In each chapter, you can write a synopsis outline for that chapter. As you write, you can refer to your notes to see if you're on the right path or you can modify what you want to happen as you go (or not use this at all if you don't like to outline.)

3. Writer's Tools at your fingertips! Every writer's feature from Microsoft Word is stepped up in this program.
  • Word count: Every time you open a chapter to work on it, there will be word count stats at the bottom--it will show you the total word count, how much you've written for that session, time for the session and word count goals for the chapter. If you want to see the total word count for the book itself, you can hit a tab that will give you all stats for the book as well as visualize your progress for every chapter and whether you made your goals.
  • Fancy thesaurus: Not only will it give you a huge thesaurus, but it will put every word in the sentence you've written for you (in a text box to the side) so you can instantly see if it's the right word.
  • Repeated Word visualizer: Sometimes I think I may have used a word too much but would have to reread earlier sentences to see. With this feature, all you have to do is punch a tab at the side, highlight the word in question and it will automatically show you if you've repeated it. Amazing! I'm in love with this feature alone!
4. More features!
  • character charts
  • timeline
  • mind mapping
  • professional manuscript formatting into RTX, TXT, or ZIP files
  • automatic backup
  • universal search--search your entire document for a single word!
  • record yourself reading your novel or picture book
  • music playlist--create a specific audio mood for each chapter!

5. Ambiance is breathtaking! I bought this program if nothing else but to get the ambiance stepped up for me and this program has so many different settings that you can personalize the way you write. Whenever I start on a session, I open up LSB, and it saves the way it looks for me so that if I have any pictures out or galleries, chapters, outlines, it will have it all out there for me the way I left it. Sort of like my messy desk--no one better touch my desk because I like my stuff to remind me of things, but my hubby likes it neat. Now, I don't make him crazy. My binder can be as messy as I like. And I write as I normally do in Word--my writing is on a white page with Times New Roman as my font. You can make it any color, any font you like. It's easy! The difference is that the surrounding effects make the ambiance of writing very creative. I'm no longer staring at only a white page. It's surrounded by visual details that keep me in my WIP's world.

 Here are some other things I've really used that you may like as well:
  • You can pull out pictures and keep them out while you write.
  • Need to refer to several back chapters? You can pull them out and have them out while you're working on your current chapter and toggle between them at will.
  • Minor character giving you trouble? Sometimes I forget what my minor characters look like or how they're supposed to act if they don't show up very much in my 80K novel, so I can pull out the character charts at any time and look them up.
6. The best feature? The price! It's only $45.99 and you can try it out for free for a month. I'm still on my free month, but you better believe I'll fork over the dough when it's time. It's changed my life and hopefully, I'll get this novel done by summer. With Liquid Story Binder, I don't feel a deadline. I feel the excitement of creating an imaginary, exciting world!

Have I convinced you yet? If so, go on over to the website and check it out for yourself: Liquid Story Binder XE

ETA: If you're having trouble using the program (it takes a while to get used to), hop on over to this site. It has a nice tutorial for you: LSB Tutorial


I know I haven't been here for a while (because I've been WRITING) But I want to THANK Katie M. Stout for bestowing a wonderful award on me:


That's quite an honor since I love blogs that are creative and like to nurture that spirit in others! So...without much further ado, I'm giving this award to Brian Kell because he's about the most creative writer I know (and I haven't read a stitch of his work but I can tell...trust me.) He's going to be a household name in the future...and I can say I knew him when! HA!

Happy writing, everyone!!!!


20 comments:

elissacruz said...

I've been drooling over this program for months.

But I've been too scared to try it out. It seems too pretty. So I'll spend all my time trying out the pretty features and less time writing.

Yes, you can call me a 'fraidy cat if you want. ;)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wow, that sounds like an amazing program!

Pam Calvert said...

Elissa--I think you're the one who turned me on to this program. NOT KIDDING! It's really changed my writing life!

It took about a day and a half to figure it out, but once I got it going, I've been rocking on it. At least you know it's here if you need more motivation in your writing. :-)

And my last words are--don't be scared. You can play with it for a few days, but what's a few days in comparison with major output??? ;-)

Katie said...

Oh man this is so much fun!!!!!! I can't wait to look into it!

Mary Ann Dames - Reading, Writing, and Recipes said...

I've never heard of this but from your post as well as comments others posted, I might try this. Maybe. At least I'll know who to turn to if I get bogged down. 8-)

sruble said...

Pam, that sounds really cool! Also a little bit like Scrivner (which I have, but haven't started using yet).

Happy you found something that works for you! BTW, I love the first image, with Melissa's cover and the shadowy figures in the misty background. That would make a great desktop (especially if you can replace the book cover with your own if you want to)!

Pam Calvert said...

Stephanie--Yeah, I love that screensaver--it comes from one of Melissa's fansites. I'm not sure if Harper put it together but I recognize the images. Her original web designer made them. Awesome mood, huh?

And to everyone if you decide to try it out and get stuck--don't hesitate to ask me about something. :-) It's really not as hard as it looks, but you have to play around with it. Takes a day...

Rachel Writes 4 Kids said...

Wow, sounds very cool. I'll have to check it out.

brian_ohio said...

Crap! Pam I just now saw this... I haven't spent much time on my blogger account... but I'm trying to change that.

Thank you SO MUCH for the award. I'm honored. Honestly. Thank you!

Erin Edwards said...

I read your post on the blueboards and followed it here when I first read your blueboard post. I spent some time thinking about what I wanted out of a program and now all of your info makes so much more sense to me. Thank you!

So I have a question: In LSB can you write in scenes and reorder the scenes in a master manuscript? (And does it *really* work?)

I have also put a post of my question on the blueboards in the Computer and Web section.

Thanks!

Pam Calvert said...

Hi, Erin:

My advice to you would be to try it out for yourself. You get a free 30 day trial and aren't out any money until you decide it's good for you. I don't write like that where I'd plop scenes everywhere. I write to an outline BUT you can keep up with your scenes, I'm just not sure if you can pick them up and move them easily since I've never had to do that. You could always email the company. They got back to me very quickly when I contacted them.

The manuscript builder is amazing. You don't build it until you're done. You can flit from chapter to chapter at any time so you can keep up with what you're doing with a click.

I didn't see your question on Verla Kay, so sorry I didn't respond if you had.

Best,
Pam

Erin Edwards said...

Thanks Pam!

I *think* I'm writing in order, but then I always end up moving some scenes. :)

Sliding on the Edge said...

Thanks for the ambiance. Your site is lovely and inspiring.

Alexis said...

Princess Peepers looks adorable and I am going to look for it!
I am also going to check out the program your talking about, it sounds too good to be true! ;)

Pam Calvert said...

Erin--I have a gf that writes scenes. Lots of them! Then she uses notecards to fit them all together. I thought that's what you meant. *grin* Anway, this tutorial might help you! I posted it in my original article but here it is for you: http://notenoughwords.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/liquid-story-binder-tutorial-part-1-setting-up-for-brainstorming/

Erin Edwards said...

Thank you, Pam. I will check it out!

Merrilee said...

Hi Pam, and thanks for the link to my LSB tutorials.

covnitkepr1 said...

I’ve enjoyed looking over your blog. I came across it through another blog I follow, and I’m glad I did. I am now a follower of yours as well. Feel free to look over my blog and perhaps become one as well.

Gail said...

Love the princess-esque signature at the end of the post. And thanks for the heads up on Liquid Story Binder; I'll look into it. Glad you hopped over to my blog and joined for the contest!
Gail

Bob West said...

I hope you enjoy my blog as much as I have yours. Very interesting.
I am now a follower.
God Bless, Bob
http://westbob.blogspot.com/2010/05/god-vs-science.html