Literature… and latte. Photo illustration Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
These days you can easily share data and collaborate on almost anything, from Rdio playlists to photo streams. But when it comes to plain old written text, your options are terrible. You’re pretty much caught between working on a shared file in Google Docs or shuttling versions of your work back and forth via email. Add more than one collaborator and this becomes a total nightmare.
Thankfully, tools exist to smooth the process of collaborating on writing projects. I’m currently editing the second draft of a novella, and I’m looking for a way to work with “beta” readers. I’m testing several pieces of software, and so far one called Draft is in the lead. Not only does it let you share a document with other people, it lets the team comment on any part of the source document and also allows them to edit a copy. Then, when they submit their versions, you can preview any changes before accepting or rejecting them.
Better still, because Draft can sync with a document in Dropbox (as well as several other cloud services), you can sync the edits from your beta team with a local app, like Scrivener. Here’s what you need to make the collaborative magic happen.
Outspoken ex-Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée has never been afraid to speak his mind, even when contradicting the most powerful Silicon Valley executives.
But even by Gassée’s usual standard, he doesn’t have kind words for Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella. Having read his recent “3,100 plodding word” essay sent out to 127,000 Microsoft employees to describe the Windows-maker’s new vision, Gassée calls Nadella a “repeat befuddler” who could learn a thing or two from Steve Jobs on how to express himself.
Write, the distraction-free note-taking tool that’s been a great success on iOS, is ready to make writing easier on your Mac.
Whether you’re a student, a blogger, a novelist, or simply too forgetful to remember what you need to pack your holiday, Write’s incredibly simple design and clutter-free user interface can make writing a more enjoyable experience. But don’t let its minimal beauty fool you — Write is packed with handy features.
Brett Terpstra’s Marked app started out as a quick way to preview any Markdown file as it would appear when rendered into rich text or HTML. It still does that as well as any of the apps that have their own built-in Markdown preview, but Marked is now arguably something else entirely. It analyzes your text and gives detailed statistics, as well as suggestions on how to improve your prose.
Wow, this is a surprise. StoryBuilder is a new browser-based web app from… Amazon. It’s a pretty great corkboard app for screenwriters to plan their screenplays, and because it’s browser based you can use it anywhere, on your Mac, iPad or iPhone.
StorySkeleton is an amazing app that’s been around for a little while, but a recent update to add iPad support has made it even better. At heart, it’s a kind of index-card-based note and outlining app for writers (screen, fiction and non-fiction) to help structure and plan stories. But the design is fantastic, making it easier to use than most other alternatives.
Oh, and it exports directly to native Scrivener files.
Somehow, Adonit and Evernote have together managed to solve the biggest problem in iPad styluses: the size of the tip. Instead of a big fat pinkie-sized blob of rubber, the new Jot Script has a point that’s more or less the size of a regular rollerball ball.
And best of all, the latest version of Penultimate, Evernote’s note-taking app – has been developed in tandem with the pen to work like, well, to work like an Apple product.
Brett Terpstra’s SearchLink is a System Service for OS X which automatically generates links from your text, without you having to bother to look anything up on Google first. It’s like having an unpaid intern inside your Mac.
And Editorial is that fancy new iPad text editor that incorporates workflows that you can roll yourself.
Now the two have been combined into one amazing iPad ball of goodness.
Quip is an odd new app that looks like it could be incredibly useful. It’s billed as a word processor, but it combines text editing with instant messaging, change tracking and sharing — plus it has a very cool interface.
Oh, and it works on your iPhone, your iPad and your Mac (in the browser).
Scapple is a great new app for writers. If you were looking for an app that creates a sheet of paper on your Mac, then this is it. Scapple comes from Literature and Latte, the folks behind the amazing Scrivener, so you know that it has been designed and used by writers.