Today’s article is was written by up and comer
There are a ton of writing software programs out there that all claim to be super helpful for new and established authors. The problem is trying to find the right one for you that’s also budget friendly. Costs can range from free to hundreds of dollars and monthly versus yearly subscriptions. Most of the time you get what you pay for – so watch out for some of the free ones.
Here’s where Dabble comes in
Jacob Wright is the creator of Dabble. He is a self-taught programmer and didn’t start working on this app until he started getting into novel writing. Jacob knew he wanted to make beautiful software, so he combined his passions together and created this beautiful writing software. He wanted a tool that would focus on writing and none of the crazy extra features you see in other applications.
Dabble is a monthly ($9.99/month) or yearly ($99.99 — two months free) subscription software that offers a 14-day free trial before you commit. I used this for the month of November during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) because they offered a free month’s trial for NaNoWriMo writers.
I discovered Dabble after signing up for a free trial of another writing software and finding that I wanted something similar but simpler to use. A fellow writer told me about the NaNoWriMo trial and said I should give it a try.
In this post I will talk about what I like and dislike about this software after using it for a month. This company is relatively new so they’re still working out the bugs and adding functionality. Some of the things I mention might not be there or will become available in the future.
But for now, here are my thoughts.
What I like about Dabble
- It automatically saves your file to the cloud. It syncs after every word. So if your computer decides to crash, the last thing you wrote will already be saved. You can use this online and offline. It keeps a copy stored on your computer and on the cloud. So if inspiration strikes where wifi isn’t available, you can still get to work. The next time you log in when you’re connected to wifi, it’ll sync to the cloud.
- It’s a pretty cool feature that I like because right now I have hundreds of files saved onto my laptop and if something should happen to them (heaven forbid) I would lose everything. So, having my novella saved in Dabble gives me peace of mind since I have an extra copy outside my laptop.
- You can plan out each scene/chapter/event that you want happening in your novel in a separate section called “Plot”. It gives you the ability to build a “Plot Grid” so you can map out what your whole story will look like before you start writing. You can also add “Plot Lines” where you can map out each character’s arcs and how it intertwines with the entire plot.
- You can separate your book into chapters and scenes just like many other awesome writing software programs. It seemed easier in Dabble though. All you have to do is click “add scene” or “add chapter” and it’s done.
- Each scene has an index card where you can write down notes on what you want to happen.
- There’s an area for Story Notes where you can add character sheets and world-building notes. This is a great section to have so that while you’re writing you’re not going back and forth between different documents to make sure the world and characters that you’re writing match with what you’ve already established in your notes.
- As you write, it slowly fades the toolbar and sidebars out of view and just gives you a nice distraction-free space to write. It’s a nice feature that is almost seamless and you hardly notice that it goes away as you write. Everything pops back up when you move your mouse, so just focus on letting the words flow through your fingertips as you type.
- It shows your word count for each scene and chapter and keeps track of your overall word count for the day. When using this during NaNoWriMo it automatically synced your word count with the NaNoWriMo website. You can also create goals for the week/month/year and it’ll show you your progress with the goal!
Jacob is always working on updates to bring
What I dislike about Dabble
- It doesn’t have
spellcheck or grammar check. So when you’re finished with your novel, you need to export it as a word or text document and then do your spell check or grammar check then. If you use Grammarly it shouldn’t be an issue because all you really need to do is copy and paste your chapters to make sure you’re doing well.
- Jacob and his team are already working on this function and I can’t wait for it to finally be implemented. I know I have a lot of spelling and grammar errors in my NaNo novel
- You also can’t do fancy formatting. In my
novellaI am doing some different kind of formatting to distinguish between my character’s real thoughts and the voices in his head. I was originally writing in Word, but when I switched over to Dabble, I lost the special formatting. I know I can do it over when I transfer it back to Word, but it’s just another extra step before I take it to the editor.
- It’s only available with a desktop app or using a laptop browser. Even though your file is accessible through the cloud, you cannot access it on the iPhone’s web browser. I love being able to write anywhere and not have to carry my huge clunky laptop with me wherever I go. They’re working on mobile access soon.
There really isn’t much to dislike about this software because it’s so simple to use and that’s the whole point of Dabble.
Dabble is available for both Mac OS and Microsoft Windows users and you can access it on any browser as well.
I’ve mentioned this earlier, but the awesome thing about this software is that the creative team listens to the users. They have a suggestions page where you can let them know how to improve their software. You can also go peruse and upvote any suggestions already made.
Their roadmap page shows what improvements they’ve made so far and what they’re going to be doing in the months ahead.
This is why after using Dabble during NaNoWriMo, I decided to continue and subscribe with the software. I love having the ability to go and section off my novella chapters. I like working on each chapter separately and without distraction. So far, it’s been a great help for me and I can’t wait for the new features to be implemented.
Summarized Key Information:
Pricing: $9.99/month; $99.99/year
System Requirements: Mac OS; Microsoft Windows
About the Author
Emi Sano is a freelance writer and blogger with her writing blog http://writingcreatingmagic.com. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a Film and Animation degree in May 2014 with an emphasis in screenwriting. A few of her screenplays have placed semifinalist and finalist in different screenwriting competitions from 2014-2018. Emi returned to her fiction writing roots and is working on publishing her first young adult novella, “We Don’t Talk About That” and short story anthology “Voices” in the next year.