Character Writer is currently in its 3.1 version, and while it will also help you organize your writing, it has some other very impressive features. It was my first foray in to the Writer Organization/Character Creation software.
Affordability: This software runs $69.99 normally, but you can often find it on sale and it is often offered at a discount during NaNoWriMo, at writers’ conferences, etc. You can download a trial version here with no time limit on its use, however some portions of the program are disabled, such as saving and printing. This does give you opportunity to see if this is something you might use. Sound a bit pricey? Read on.
Learnability: The opening screen looks like this:
The User Interface is fairly intuitive. This software is primarily designed to help you flesh out your characters. How does it do that? It uses a method called Enneagram which is used by psychiatrists and psychologists to define the details of people’s character. Enneagram divides people’s personalities into nine distinctive categories with two subcategories in each. This allows you to explore the psychology of your character by adding disorders and distinctive traits. The program then helps you by providing editable details about that person and how they would react to everyday situations. It also assists you in predicting how they would interact with other characters in similar circumstances. Plot ideas? Subplot ideas? You get them here.
Don’t have an idea for a character? Hit the Generate Instant Character Button. Now you have a basic character sketch with a name and some randomly generated details. Fairly useful for minor characters like Star Trek Red Shirts.
The Generate Story Points will create a possible scenario for your character, thus generating plot ideas for you. Don’t like that idea? Click again and create another story idea, or customize it with your own details.
Compatibility: This is a writing tool. This is not a word processor replacement, nor is it designed to be the place where you create your story. It can be a good companion, but exports and imported text are converted to rtf format. Your italics and clever spacing from your Word doc? Gone. That isn’t always a bad thing, but something you need to be aware of. The built in “fully featured” word processor is far from “fully functional” but that’s not your primary reason to purchase. This is a creativity platform best suited in aiding and finding inspiration.
Bottom Line: Is it worth it? I’ve tried dozens of “clever” software for various purposes. This one works as promised, I still own and use it. If you have trouble fleshing out those minor characters or if you just want an easier way to do it, this software is right for you. The time and effort it may save you will in the long run pay for itself. Watch the video below for an overview.
Now get out there and sell some books. You need to earn $70. (Watch for the NaNo special offers. It is how I got mine). Until next time.