Writer’s Café – Storylines (1)

Welcome to another exploration into Writer’s Café. This post covers a very basic item, one that is the essence of the program: setting up a new story and starting a first scene or chapter. (Please note that I do not possess a Mac computer, so I can only detail PC-keyboard shortcuts.)

To start a new storyline in Writer’s Cafe, you either click File in the menu bar and then select New Project, or you click the “New” button in the toolbar:

"New" button


After that, you select the kind of project you want to start, in this case: Storylines. Follow the wizard to enter the details you care to enter at this point (everything can be changed afterwards).
Note that you need to enter at least 1 Storyline name when going through the wizard.


After going through the wizard you will see similar things on your screen:
at the top there is the Outline window on the left and the actual writing area on the right.

Outline and write area


(Click the image for a large version in a new window)
And at the left hand bottom you find something like this:

Story overview



1 storyline called “Storyline” (or what you called it), and a block showing the first scene or chapter.

(Again, click the image for a large version)



At this point things can become a bit confusing for first-time users: before you can write in the summary pane, you need to click the white block in this area, to select the scene you intend to write. Otherwise writing will not be possible. Try it. After clicking the block (be it chapter or scene), you can use the pane in the second image to can write your summary of the chapter or scene. In this example it is coloured grey (for easier reference). The first words of what you write in the summary will show in the white block of the last image, which makes navigating through the lower area easier.

To write your actual story content, you click the “Content” tab (second image, over the grey area).

If you do not want to grab the mouse all the time to switch between all the tabs, you can use F2 (switch to summary) and F3 (switch to content). F4 takes you to the annotations tab and F6 takes you to the report tab. And indeed, F5 does not take you to the properties-tab.

More clever things to know: double-click the column to the right of the chapter/scene you created and a new one will be made there. You can also right-click there and select “New Card” from the popup menu. Through the Storylines menu you can accomplish the same, as with the Ctrl-Shift-C keyboard combination.

More fun bits about Storylines in a later post.

Remember: you can get a free trial version of Writer’s Café at the Writer’s Café website. Writer’s Café runs on Microsoft Windows, just about any flavour of Linux, and on Mac computers.

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