What is it?

Dabble is an online writing platform for plotting, writing and editing.  It works best in Google or by using their app but can be used in any browser.

Features:

  • Dabble Account and cloud storage
  • Plotting tool
  • Export to Word/text file
  • Word counts
  • Novel series
  • App (works on a PC)

During November, they offered a free trial to NaNoWriMo participants.  We were able to use the site for free and they enabled a word count tracker – nifty!

Price:

Dabble Writer usually costs $9.99 but at the moment there is an introduction offer of $4.99 which if you subscribe will be at 50% forever.

Dabble Writer is an official sponsor of NaNoWriMo. If you took part, check the NaNoWriMo offers page to see if there are any exclusive additional offers for NaNoWriMoers.

 

Projects

I created two projects to test out the software.  One was Daisy Chain (my NaNoWriMo project) and the other was Jewel of the Sea (aka Drift).

  • Daisy Chain:  This required regular updates so I needed to work on the story whenever I was able to.  Switching between computers (and browsers) did cause a little technical issue but the support guys at Dabble were awesome.  The site runs best in Google chrome and the app.  There is also a little cloud that you can click to save your progress and ensure it has been backed up.
  • Jewel of the sea:  I uploaded this so I could experiment the downloading to word feature. I was really impressed.  It puts it into the correct format for agents so all you need to worry about is the line spacing.

Word Count

  • Word Count total:  There is a tracker that shows your overall word count for the novel (or project).
  • NaNoWriMo Tracker:  The word count tracker for NaNoWriMo was incredibly intuitive.  It deducted words if I deleted any and updated my daily goal based on how many words I needed to reach to keep on target based on my total.  They are currently developing a personal goal tracker so writers can set their own word count goal at anytime in the year.

Plotting Tools

This was one of the features I enjoyed using the most as I currently have nothing like it.

It looks a like pin board with post it notes stuck on it.  You can create different boards for tracking different things.

On the board you create different headings (or timelines).  I found it easiest to use it to track my characters developments within the story and plan I needed to happen and when.  It was easy to move and edit these too so it didn’t feel like a digital hindrance.

The ‘post it note’ (tile) has a heading and brief description.  You click on it to open up and a little note paper where you can go into more detail about the plot line.

This is a great planning aid and helped me to visualize the story.

Story notes

This is another great feature.  I’ve never shared my story notes *cringe*.

Dabble Writer - story notes

I split my notes into two categories (headings) ‘Characters’ and ‘World Building’.  Within those sections I create a note on different things that are important.

It is really handy to have everything stored in the same place and organised instead of loads of files saved in different places or programs.  I love having some where to stash my ideas and notes about the story.

Novel series

Within a ‘project’ you can create multiple books.  This enables you to track a whole series all in one place.  Genius!

Dabble future?

Customer Service:  The team at Dabble are extremely responsive to their customers and I think this will take the company forward to a bright future.  They were always on hand whenever I had a question about using the site.  No problem was too big or too small.  I wondered if they ever slept.

Development:  They have developed the site a lot from Sept to Nov so I’ve no doubt that they’ll make true on their promise to continue improving and bringing out new features.  They also ask their subscribers to suggest features and vote on features to help them prioritize what their users want the most.   Here are some of the features coming soon that excite me the most:

  • Goal tracking – set your own word count goal any time of the year (not just for NaNoWriMo)
  • Images in story notes (save a picture of your world map or the engagement ring or a celebrity that looks like you character)
  • Editing mark up (you can highlight a section you know you need to rework)
  • Novel cover (upload an image for you novel cover)
  • Character image (upload an image of how your character looks) and character tools
  • Restore a previous version as a new file
  • More ways to import and export including dragging a project to your desktop to save it
  • Social – enable word count competitions and stats to be shared socially

Am I subscribing?

I am very tempted to subscribe but currently I have a lot going on that I don’t think I will have the time to really make the most of having a subscription.

However, Dabble Writer is something I would definitely consider in the future as I found it a very easy to use interface, fantastic customer service and the features were exactly what a writer needs.

Ally plus text

 

3 thoughts on “Review: Dabble Writer

    1. I used Scrivner when it first came out and didn’t get on with it. I found Dabble simple to use and suited my writing style. Scrivner has changed a lot since I used it that I’m not the best person to compare the too. I’d suggest looking out for trial codes to test them out. I’ve seen both offer deal for NaNoWriMo participants to try it out during the challenge month.

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