Perhaps you saw this e-mail. A writing/marketing consultant sent me an e-mail “offering me a seat which wasn’t free” to an upcoming webinar about novel-plotting software. He did give recipients a free tip: after analyzing multiple programs, he liked Plottr best. Plotter’s slogan is Plan Your Books The Way You Think.
I cruised through the website and what I saw reminded me of the note cards, outlines, and other annoyances that English teachers used to force on us every time we wrote a paper. My answer to Plottr is the same as my answer to English teachers 50 years ago: Nobody thinks like this.
Perhaps a programmer using C, COBOL, or assembly language thinks like that, but writers certainly don’t. I’ve written computer programs and noted the difference between their structure and the structure of a story.
So, after seeing what the consultant wanted me to learn more about, my mood went from pleasant to bad. It got worse when I saw that the way to learn more was through a webinar. Holy hell, I thought, that’s about the slowest possible way to impart information. Very linear. Much slower than a booklet with headings and subheads that let me go directly to the points I want to know more about. With a webinar, I have to suffer through the whole darn thing to get to the points I care about. I have no idea why this is such a popular method of dispending information. It’s probably cheap.
Now, if the webinar came with a transcript I could refer to later, I might give its creator a little slack.
While on the Plottr website, I kept seeing mini-testimonials flashing on my screen from people who loved the application. I didn’t see any testimonials from well-known novelists. Joe Doaks says Plottr is great. Okay, wonderful. What’s the name of a novel he wrote using the program?
You can see, I think, that I’m not in favor of this kind of software. If it helps a writer, that’s fine. Nevertheless, I tend to see it as a detrimental approach that gets in the way of a story’s development. For goodness sakes, I don’t need a thousand-word dossier on every character before writing the words “Once upon a time.”
Enough, already. I’ve said most of this before.
Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing