Software Review: Snowflake Pro

Originally posted on another site on 23 April 2010.

Some weeks ago I purchased a copy of Snowflake Pro, writing software based on the Snowflake Method of Writing a Novel technique. I use the technique, or parts of it, all the time, so I was eager to try the software and see how it compares.

The creator of the software has used the KISS method – keep it simple stupid – which I found to be perfect. However, in my opinion, I think anyone new to the technique would be looking for more thorough information at each step as not enough is included and I remember how confusing it was to begin with. To those people I suggest using the software and the creator’s website in conjunction with each other.

The software is simple to use. There are ten or so tabs (one for each step) at the top of the page, so it’s easy to move back and forth between steps as the ideas start to take shape. There are a couple of “tip” buttons, which can be used as reminders as to what you should be doing in each step. And…there’s an audio tip button too, I found this very helpful (and even inspiring in a way as it felt as if someone was interested enough in my writing to give me that little extra push).

You start out by filling in the basics, such as story title, author name, genre, approximate word count and target audience. Then you move into an area where you give more details about the author (you) such as providing your mailing address, contact phone numbers and email address, together with a short biography. Then you get stuck into planning your story/novel.

You create a list of characters and then you write a brief description on the setting. You alternate between characters and setting in each step, so that the overall story is progressing altogether. The list of characters is built on so that you have backgrounds, reasons, motivations, goals and conflicts. The brief description of the setting becomes a fully realised world and believable plot.

By the end of the process, if you’ve put in the hard yards and seriously put a lot of thought into it, you will have created well-rounded characters, a realistic world, a strong plot and you’ll have a two page synopsis ready to use in your submissions.

But there’s more…at the very end, there’s an extra special step where you can click on “print” and it will print out a complete proposal for you to use to submit to publishers…and it’s set out exactly how it should be too. Wonderful!

Of course, you don’t need the software in order to get the same results. You could set up documents and follow the steps on the website and you’ll end up with everything mentioned above, except the proposal. But even that can be achieved if you put in some time and research.

However, I like the software because it makes the process easier and tidier. I’ve used the manual method and having to open and close documents to find the information I’m looking for is tiresome. With the software it’s all filed right there in front of me and I use one screen to get to anything I’m looking for.

I recommend this software to writers who like to plan their stories before they write. If you’re a seat-of-the-pants writer, then you’ve just wasted your time reading this post, but then again it is nice to know what other people might be doing. 😉

No matter what type of writer you are, why are you still here? Shouldn’t you be writing?!

Legacy Family Tree Software

When building a family tree it’s important to chose software that isn’t restricting. I’ve used several family tree programs but most of them always had something missing. Some looked great, but were not user friendly. Others were user friendly, but didn’t give the reports I wanted. Others still had the tag of a family tree maker but left me feeling incredibly stupid as the program was so difficult to navigate and use.

Eventually, I discovered Legacy Family Tree and I honestly haven’t looked at any other genealogy software since. It’s easy to install and use. It allows me to print all different types of reports. I can perform a multitude of searches. There’s a bookmark facility and also a note taking function that I find helpful. I can add photos of all types to individuals and family groups. There are functions that will search from the program directly on a number of websites and display the results (I’ve found new ancestors through this function alone). This software will even generate a complete, functional website for me.

I’ve used the software for several years now – over five years. I have no complaints. And…at the moment Legacy family tree is offering the deluxe version of their software at a 10% discount until the end of this month. If you want to take advantage of this special you must use the word November as the coupon code in the checkout. Remember, this offer expires on 30 November 2009.