Another Software Review – Text Tree


There are a lot of things I like about Bryce Beattie. He’s one of the followers of my online novel, Ghost Hunters, first of all. But beside that, he’s also a talented pulp fiction writer with his own online serialization going. He hopes to one day be published, like me, but he also has aspirations of seeing it as a major motion picture and a Broadway Musical. (Check his site for more information on those.)

Along with producing his own weekly adventures series, Bryce is a full-on software developer and the webmaster of a lot of sites, not the least of which is BabyKatieMedia.com. This is a site where Bryce provides software that you can download and try for free before you buy it. I like that, but not as much as I like freeware, of course. Still, Bryce is an honest guy, and he even made a potential book cover for me when he promoted Ghost Hunters on his site. How much more can a guy do to pimp my story?

When I finished my story, I was looking for a piece of software to use to outline the next one. I’ve recently reviewed some very cool software for writers, and I hope you caught those reviews. But there wasn’t really anything I had to easily and quickly construct an outline. Most of them would take care of all the steps subsequent to outlining, and Liquid Story Binder XE has an outlining feature, but at the mo’, I don’t have the funds available as expendable capital to burn on LSBXE, or any other software for that mater. So, what’s a guy to do?

Well, knowing that Bryce had the Baby Katie Media site, I went and checked him out. Lo and Behold, there was an outlining software he’d written, with a free trial version available for use. Huzzah! Just what I wanted.

Now, Bryce as a writer is sort of a disciple of Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method of novel writing. That’s not a bad person to emulate; a successful writer willing to share the experiences and methods that worked for him is always a valuable resource. Essentially, the method starts very simply and builds to complexity. That’s where Bryce’s software, Text Tree, comes in.

With Text Tree, you’re starting with a couple of simple steps that blossom and grow, and you can do a lot of it right there in the software itself. Expansion on the outline makes it gradually grow into a full-blown novel in fractal steps, and Text Tree facilitates that beautifully.

I wasn’t sure how large the files could grow before having problems with either character counts or file size limits, but Bryce himself says that he does the outlining in this software and the actual writing in a word processor. While Text Tree may not be your all-in-one software for writing, it certainly handles thing very well. It allows different nodes for setting up characters, chapters, etc. And, it has an export feature that’s surprisingly rich. It can export to RTF, text, HTML and Noterrific, which is a Pocket PC program. That’s pretty versatile.

And it’s not just for novel writing, either. Text Tree can be used to build a lot of things. BabyKatieMedia.com was built, at least in part, with the program. It can create FAQs, Basic FAQs (which includes some of the questions, I think), Basic Story (really cool), articles and biographies. It even has templates for each of those kinds of documents. Sweeeeet.

In addition, it has a scratch pad feature, which are little notes you can jot down about the project. You can manipulate the notes in various ways and they can be saved as a separate file if you want.

It has a spell-checker, too, which can either check the entire Tree for you, or just the individual nodes. For those of you that need that help. Not me, of course.

The program is pretty versatile, and for $19.95, it’s not going to break your bank. In addition to the program itself, Bryce has a nice Flash tutorial on using the software on Baby Katie Media that you can check out and follow along with to get the feel for it. Not a bad deal.

So, if you’re looking for a flexible and powerful outliner, think about Text Tree. It’s worth a look.

-JDT-

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2 thoughts on “Another Software Review – Text Tree

  1. Hey JDT, thanks for the review.

    As for size of files, the data is stored as plain text in a simple xml file, so there’s very little overhead. I’ve never had anyone report back saying it died on a large file, and I know of a couple of users that have used it for fairly large projects.

    Anyway, I hope you find it useful.

  2. Hey, Bryce, thanks for coming by and for clarifying the file size question for us. I’ve only used the program a couple of times, but I can already tell I’m going to really like it.

    So far, I’m envisioning using this to develop the novel almost to full writing, and maybe using either RoughDraft or PageFour (probably PageFour) to do the actual text writing. Since TextTree exports as .txt files, I can import the completed synopsis/outline directly into the book without having to make any adjustments.

    It’s been excellent and exactly what I was looking for. I love the simplicity so far; while the word processor feature of TreePad is nice, this program compares very favorable with it, and I like the speed and ease of use.

    Great job on this and I can’t wait to use it for my next novel. Thanks again!

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