Organizational Tools/Programs and Strategies

I’m a bit new here and would like to start working my story ideas. Just asking for any good strategies of organizing ideas for your story’s world, characters, plot, etc or any good online tool recommendations that aren’t too expensive

Any help would be appreciated


Welcome @BlazedSteel!

Nowadays, I use Scrivener for pretty much everything. You have what is essentially a project master file that you can see at all times on the sidebar, in which you can add text files and organize them in folders as you see fit. Anyone who’s reading this who’s ever used Photoshop or any other kind of image editing software will understand what it means as it’s essentially giving you a basically identical method of grouping layers, but with text files, and you can switch between these text files as easily as any layer, no need to wait for Microsoft Office to open up again. In writer’s terms, this is like have loose leaf versions of all your information that you can freely move around the folders of a binder.

Then it takes all this one step further by letting you personalize the metadata of your project. This means you can create tags, keywords for easier searching, and cross-references between documents so you can retain context of information. It also has a corkboard of sorts that lets you add PDF files of things you find interesting/necessary to keep close (say, a poem that inspired something in the work, the biography of a person who inspired a character, etc) as well as images, kind of like a Pinterest inspo board, but more words.

They have versions of Scrivener for Windows and Mac and it’s quite affordable at only $18USD!!!

And I swear I’m not a shill for Literature & Latte, but they also have another program called Scapple which is a super useful tool for interactive fiction, as it’s essentially an digital brainstorm device that, while you can use it as intended, you can just as easily use it as a visual reference for your game, choices, and branches! And it is available for the same price as Scrivener, $18USD.


I asked a similar question a while back. It’s not exactly the same thing, but it should help you since a lot of experienced writers responded.

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Another program I’ve had my eye on is Campfire. It looks very pretty and seems designed with storytellers and writers in mind, though I don’t think I fully understand its pricing structure…

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I’ve used Wavemaker in the past. Probably not as fancy as the other options, but it’s free, so in my opinion it’s worth a try.


After I write out my outlines, for narrative design I use Twine, which is free and open source, as a way to prototype and have a visual guide to how my branching will occur. Even if my Interactive Fiction or narrative design role is not utilizing Twine, its still a good visual guide and will help myself and other teammates see the flow of the narrative. It also impresses audiences for presentations to have a tangible visual for them to see.

My approach are 3 things. Word for writing generally. OneNote for world building stuff and CSIDE for ChoiceScript writing.

1 - Plotting:
This is brilliant - really, really fantastic. Highly visual, hugely customizable, excellent for plotting.

2 - CSIDE - specifically developed for writing in choicscript, this will save you huge amounts of time and is very well supported

3 - Dashingdon - one of the simplest ways for a newbie to see what their story will look like, and share it with beta-testers. Great support

4 - Choicescript tutorial
This is an amazing resource - check out the sections on structuring your story

5 - Code writing shortcuts:

e.g Add prefix : Add Prefix/Suffix into Line - Text Mechanic
You can add a prefix and a suffix to a list of variables copy pasted into the program. It is much quicker when generating multiple variables for your startup.txt file, that use a similar stem to variables you’ve used before.

6 - Map generator: Azgaar's Fantasy Map Generator
Fun tool to stimulate your worldbuilding ideas. You can generate and edit maps, and the about section seems to say you own the writes and can sell them (ie include them in a game, maybe with a filter to make it look more unique)


I’ve been known to plot out the major threads in some of my games using pen and paper. Cheap and doesn’t get accidentally deleted if your computer goes down :fearful:
Can either get a cheap book, or go with a posterboard/A4 pages stuck together and just fold it up when you need to. Can build little bubble flow charts to your heart’s content that way :slight_smile:

It does depend on how complicated they are though. For example I don’t have a full map of Abysm’s veil on paper as it got too complicated, but otherwise I recommend it.

I just make a txt file with descriptions for characters, another one for ideas, and one more for an overview of the plot. Don’t need anything too fancy really. I know some people use those freebee character creators to visualise them better if that’s something that appeals to you. (Heaps out there, just do a search.)

I’m mainly using notepad++ (free) for coding, and occasionally switching over to CSIDE (also free :slight_smile: ) for some stuff. (Recommend CSIDE for CS specific coding, I just got too set in my ways and am kind of used to notepad++ by this stage.)

Actually, Each-uisge started off its life as a partially written twine game. Long story, but I ended up porting it across to make it into a CS game instead (which required some changes, but only really because it needed to be converted across coding and structure wise). Really easy to use the bubble format to copy across choices. Just have to add the CS code which you can largely add in there anyway when you’re writing it if that’s your thing. It’s not a bad way to organise CYOA type games although I don’t usually use it for most projects.


Outlining and prototyping with analogue tools such as pen and paper is something my younger colleagues thought was a really weird activity I did, even though our senior engineers did this all the time with the whiteboard. Often times, I usually will have filled Yellow Pads with outlines and hand written code before I even apply it in VSCode. Oh, and look into Visual Studio Code as well if you are more into the software dev side than just the narrative design side. Moreover, it has an extension for Choicescript.

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This means I can use emmet for CS??? Great to know there is an extension for it, never thought of checking before.

Played around with this one. Oh, geez… this is fun!

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Loving all the resources listed here! Does anyone else use Plottr ( It’s what i’m using now for my outlining and story bibles.

Hello everyone!

I’ve found myself on the incoming urge to switch the operative system of my PC before starting a new endeavor in my life (cause fu windox11 and beyond), and with it, it came all the hassle of trying to find alternative applications to the ones I’m used to and taking advantage as of now that could do everything I do now, and maybe more, but on Linux.

A little of rambling

From windows, I use:

  • notepad++ (to write choicescript and take notes about anything)
  • simplemind (to make mind maps of the plot and branches as the game is created)

Regarding notepad++, I kind of made it work with the wine/bottles emulator, but I’m not that happy with it knowing that it could be a hassle to make it stable, update it, and whatnot.

I prefer a native application, and although there are some similar ones out there like notepad-qq, I couldn’t find a text editor in which I could easily make a new syntax highlighter for the choicescript language without having to learn to code it from scratch (which I don’t know how to do so it needs to be easier like Notepad++). Until I found that someone else had done it already.
The software that I’ll be replacing notepad++ will be VS Code
In which our friend here @Sargent has already created a syntax highlighting for choicescript, and some other testing tools you can add to the program effortlessly, so the notepad++ thing is pretty much all sorted out.

Now for what I’ve truly come here.
simplemind for me, is one of those apps that you can find similar ones all around the internet but all come with one or more caveats: a limited trial, paywall, lacking of functionality, compatibility, etc.

What simplemind allowed me to do was to double click, create a node from the selected parent, move it around freely to anywhere in the canvas (stupidly important for me), change the color, and pretty much that’s all I use from it, all of that with a simple dark mode that doesn’t burn my retinas.

Btw, this is what it looks like one of the chapters I made in simplemind.

Now, it seems easy, but I haven’t found a single free software that could create nodes you can reorient freely as you would like to. The free Linux compatible apps freemind, freeplane and a bunch of others, as far as I could see there’s no way to move the nodes at will.

Now I’ve found a free software that isn’t exactly made to create mindmaps, but it can do all that, and a lot more.

It is more of a second-brain, note taking, do it all, utility app, you can tune for whatever way your workflow needs. It uses markdown language, which is the same one we use here on the forum to make bold **bold**, italic *italic*, bullet lists, and much much more.

The software I’m talking about, and I didn’t find any mention of it here on the forum, is Obsidian

I think many of us would benefit from the feature rich potential of this app given the intrincate tangled mess of our stories, such as one of its community addons named “excalidraw”, in which you can create mindmaps:

Checklists to track whatever you like just writing - [ ]

You can create links that take you to another text file using [[ ]] like in the image, if you click the [[chapter_2]], even if that file doesn’t exist, it’ll create one and take you there

I’m barely scratching the surface of all the functions it has, as I just recently discovered this tool and didn’t put my hands on it too much yet.

Another of the benefits is that, if you don’t go too far on the addons, everything is stored locally in plain text files, so your information is yours, and you don’t need to have the app to access everything you created inside it. The app also offers a proprietary pay sync method, but you can use dropbox or drive to store and access all your vault from different pcs.

Well that’s enough to get you started, you can take a look at it if you think it’s worth it.
If you happen to know another free app that could replace simplemind to create mindmaps and move the nodes freely with a dark theme available for Linux please let me know! Meanwhile, feel free to comment on what you think about Obsidian. Did you know it already? Does it seem useful? I’ll read you below.