Writer’s Café – screenplay

Dear reader and perhaps user of Writer’s Café,

So far I have only displayed the magic of Writer’s Café for writing stories, books, novels and so forth. The software however is not limited to that. It is also designed to be a great help for writing plays and other scenarios. For this, there are several tools; the easiest of those being the special play-writing styles that are predefined. A tiny example of this is:

Click image for a larger view

Using these styles, which you can of course copy and customise to your heart’s content, it is very easy to create a smoothly running dialogue, insert scene-changes and descriptions that you feel should be noted.

After the writing, there is of course the aspect of time. How long does a scene take? How long are people talking? Is there something that needs to be done here, and how do we decide on that? For this purpose, Writer’s Café has a great tool. It is a timer. You can find the timer in the View menu, just click “Timer…” there, and you will see:

Click image for larger view

You can use this handy little tool to time how long it takes for a particular part of dialogue to be spoken, and perhaps decide there is too much text, or too little, or that the actors need to speak at a certain speed to put everything in the given time.

As I am not a playwright, I am probably not even touching half the options that Writer’s Café offers for writing plays, but at least you have now seen that the software is also capable of handling this.

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.

Writer’s Café Pinboard

I love the Writer’s Café pinboard. For several days already I was walking around, sitting around and dreaming around, trying to get the 9th Hilda story moving towards its end. Things are becoming complicated now, with many subplots, characters and locations, 3 fairy tales being mixed into it, bread and beer, and a handful of witches and Gods and Goddesses to top it off, instead of a cherry.

So I sat down in front of the pinboard and started detailing the bits I have, the bits that I need to fix and the parts I need to address. And that is all done now, in 10 nice and manageable blocks. It all fell or got moved into place. The blocks are spread over the pinboard in loosely the order I intend to tackle them.

There is a red box still. The box with questions. There is 1 question in it, namely: How do we find Hirum? Because when we find Hirum, we will find HMFMFMMFJHH (sorry, this is a secret, so Hilda helpfully put a hand over my mouth), and then the linking pin between 2 of the fairy tales has been established.


Writer’s Café – And now what?

Dear reader, and (hopefully) user of Writer’s Café.

Let us look at the stage where you have (sort of) finished your writing, and you are ready to take the next step. After all, you did not write your masterpiece to let it sit in Writer’s Café, did you?

Writer’s Café saves all its information in a specific file format which is of no use to any program except Writer’s Café, so sending such a file off to a proofreader is not a smart thing, unless that person also owns the software. For this you can export your work. The export function is available in the file menu, it’s called “Export”:

Continue reading “Writer’s Café – And now what?”

Writer’s Café – reports

Dear reader and user of Writer’s Café,

This post I want to address the reporting function of Writer’s Café. A report is a quick way to see how your work would look when it is displayed in a word processor or in print.

The report tab

Accessible by mouse or on the press of F6 (Linux, Windows), a report will be generated and shown inside the report window. The report default, as chosen in your preferences, will be shown initially. This can be altered by using the dropdown box on the left over the report:

Type of report

If you select another type of report, the display will update itself according to your wish. The other dropdown box will allow you to control what part of your work will be displayed as a report:

Limiting the report

If your entire report is far too large to examine for the forty-seventh time, you can restrict the report to the current sheet you are working on, or even just the storyline level you are one.

If you want to alter the defaults of the report, and influence other settings, you click the wrench-symbol on the far right, next to the dropdown boxes:

This in turn will reward you with a dialogue window in which you can set and unset everything to your heart’s content, until you are satisfied with the outcome.

Report preference dialogue

(You can click this image for a larger version if you want.)

The report is valuable if you are working on setting the proper styles and formats for parts of your work. Once you see how powerful and fast it is, you will learn to love it, if you do your formatting inside Writer’s Café.

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.

Writer’s Café – The Floating Card Editor

Dear reader, fellow-user of Writer’s Café or person who is looking for good software for writers,

Today I want to give you a look at a nice feature of Writer’s Café called the Floating Card Editor. It is, in short, known as the FCE in Writer’s Café.

The Floating Card Editor is a separate window which shows only the basics for the part you are writing. Use F8 (Windows, Linux), or Storylines → Floating Card Editor from the menu to show the window. Use one of the same methods to make the window disappear again. You can of course also click the ‘close’ button on the right-hand top.

Floating Card Editor

(Feel free to click the above picture for a more mature version.)

When you bring up the window, the content of your story will disappear from the content pane in Writer’s Café, and show up in the separate window of the FCE. Using the ‘View’ menu of the FCE, you can customise its appearance to your preference.

You can show or omit the summary-text, you can remove the properties-pane, and resize the window-parts to how you like them best. A nice feature is that Writer’s Café will remember your settings, so next time you open the FCE, your preferences are restored, and you are good to go.

Another nice thing about the FCE is that you can remove all excess information and maximise the window to use the entire screen. This is especially convenient for people who want their desktop or screen free of distractions, with only their writing project to focus on.

This mode of working is also very good when you use Writer’s Café on a device with limited screen-space. This would be for instance with use on a netbook or a tablet. Opening the FCE full-screen with only the story content will still give you ample overview of your story.

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.

Writer’s Café – auto-replace

Dear reader, or should I say writer, user of Writer’s Café.

Writer’s Café can do auto-replace for you, since its latest release (version 2.30). Some people want it, some have no need for it, but the auto-replace in Writer’s Café is quite versatile and customisable.

To see the auto-replace options, open the View menu and select “Auto-Replace Preferences…” This shows you the auto-replace window:

Auto-replace window

Here you can enable and disable autoreplace, and when you enable it, you can specify exactly which symbols and/or characters should be substituted when you use them.

You have the option to add new combinations, and delete them as well. Clicking the ‘add’ button allows you to enter a character, symbol or word, and the ( … ) button there pops up an extra window with symbols, so you can easily select, for instance, the Yen symbol and have that show when you type (yen) .



You can use auto-replace also as a comfortable tool to quickly type complicated words, for instance when you have to type “5-¢1-Hydroxy-2-(heterocyclic-amino)!alkyl-8-hydroxy-3,4-dihydrocarbostyril derivatives” very often. Generate a shortcut through auto-replace, e.g. “(5hh)” and let Writer’s Café do the hard work for you.

The second tab in the window allows you to switch between the ‘straight quotes’ and ‘curly quotes’:

Quotes, straight or curly










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.

Writer’s Café – your pinboard.

Dear reader, fellow Writer’s Café user, curious visitor,

Today I am going to let you have a look at the possibilities of the pinboard in my favourite author software.

The pinboard is a very nifty place where you can stick notes and pictures, shuffle them, colour them, and stare at them.

Getting started with the pinboard.

After opening Writer’s Café, you can press Ctrl-6 to go to the pinboard pane. You can also click the shortcut on the W.C. desktop:

Either of these actions will show you a screen like this:

New pinboard

Note that you have to click the “New” button or press Ctrl-N to prepare a new pinboard-file. After you did that, you can add your first note. Right-click anywhere in the screen. You will see a menu with several options, the first one being “New text note”. Let’s click that:

New text note

As you see in the image, the toolbar for formatting your note is available. You can start typing your note right away. You can add as much text as you want, and with the little black control at the right hand bottom you can resize the note to your liking. If you desire to add a caption to the note, simply click the titlebar of the note. There a typing cursor will appear and you enter your caption text. Pressing ‘enter’ or clicking outside the title-area will store your entered text:

Note with title and text

Of course we are not limited to white notes. Writer’s Café allows colours and changes in font, so you can make things as clear and pretty as you like:

Coloured note

But the possibilities of the pinboard do not end here. You can also add pictures and even complete slideshows. Once you added a picture, you can also edit the properties (for instance size):

Picture-note with properties-window

You can group notes by simply stacking them on top of each other. If you then select the set (dragging the mouse over the area they are in while holding the mouse button) you can move the entire group to another place.

To give you an idea how I use the pinboard in practice, here is an image from one of the projects I still am working on:

Live pinboard

In this schema there are a few storyline plots running next to each other. There is a large main one in the left hand top. A small one with some scribbled ideas that might fit in the large one. A second line with three main parts, they belong together so I stacked them in a way they are all still legible, and so on. And then there is the big one with the red background. This contains crucial questions that still require an answer. Feel free to click the image for a bigger version. The text is in Dutch, so that might be a bit disappointing.

I hope this little tour has given you an impression on how you can employ the pinboard as a valuable tool in your writing. It is a wonderful way to organise thoughts, move characters and keep plot-lines in sight.

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.

Writer’s Café – keeping track of your characters

Welcome, dear reader, to another venture into Writer’s Café.

This time a look behind the scenes, where the characters of a story live. It is very easy to keep track of who lives inside a story, when you make use of the characters-table built into Writer’s Café. Likewise, in the location-table, it is convenient to describe how the places look where your characters like to go to. Continue reading “Writer’s Café – keeping track of your characters”

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.


Continue reading “Writer’s Café – Storylines (1)”

Writer’s Café tools – the scrapbook

One of the tools in Writer’s Café is the scrapbook feature. It allows the user to create compositions of pictures, bits of text, and links to webplaces of interest. Because of its free format and handy options, I use it more and more.

For instance, I use it to keep track of how characters in specific stories tend to relate to each other, how they know each other, how they share acquaintances, and also I have notes in them how I want to keep certain things hidden (at least for now) from characters.

Continue reading “Writer’s Café tools – the scrapbook”