Love love love this software. It's been a game changer as I have now said goodbye to Plottr and Scrivener in favour of this software.
A few things would be awesome to make it work great for Novel writers.
I'll list below:
• Clone/duplicate beats
• Attach an image to a beat/group/block so it shows up in the side panel with the tags. Great for inspiration whilst writing.
• Create snapshots to have a different version of beats to roll back to.
• When inputting copy to the body area of a beat's pop-up window, italics are omitted so there is a loss of formatting.
• A way to see all dependent linked beats. Currently, I can only see this if I place them all under a tag. If I have a chain of 8 beats that are all in sequence/chained to each other, I would love to be able to see them together like how you can with tags.
• A way to mark that a beat/scene/group has been approved/finished with a tick or marker. Deeper usage could open up a way to look at all pending beats/scenes - effectively a to-do list of what needs more work. Currently, I'm collapsing the beats in the script panel but you lose all those positions when you toggle the display views.
• A way to easily jump to each dependent beat so that we can navigate quickly through the causalities. Could be a keyboard shortcut or an option that appears in the tools and elements toolbar.
• Keyboard shortcuts to move beats up or down in the stack of a group.
• Keyboard shortcut to add a new beat of a group/empty group is selected
• Groups to have the same optional features as beats. Option to Include INT/EXT - LOCATION - TIME information at group level. So that a group determine this info for every beat that is inside it. Currently, I'm adding this info to each beat and when moving beats around it's creating a lot of misinformation as it's then committing to locations it had before regardless of where the beat is then placed.
• The title of the block moves down to overlap the content in the groups/beats making group titles hard to read when the screen size is smaller - it presents this way on most laptops.
• To be able to drag beats into the research area, so that beats can be quickly organised into the character/other folders. Currently, all the beats are in the Unsorted area, making it quite a job to move them to designated folders later.
• Main folders could show all beats as well as the subfolders, gaining better visibility on all the content. Currently, beats are hidden in each subfolder. Would be great to see all the beats of a character in addition to the subfolder structure.
• To be able to add imagery into these folders. Many location inspirations are visual and I can't put those anywhere yet. In Scrivener, there is an ability to add them.
• Clicking on a Characters button in the Relationships section could bring up all the beats in the left content panel for easier access than browsing the folders method. (not to replace, but just another quicker pathway to get to the info).
• To open two Causalities open at once? Like how Scrivener is. Good for when comparing two books. Currently one will close down the other on opening an additional file.
• I'm mainly using the right-click mouse option but my brain wants to tools and elements bar (currently at the bottom of the screen) to run between the whiteboard and the timeline for easier drag and drop of the elements.
• Word count for beats/groups chapters, info bar at the bottom. Could be when elements are selected, or drop-down selection for default measuring from beat/chapter and totals etc.
• Being able to edit the script in two scenes side by side. Either as a popup window or columns.
• Being able to zone the panels. Currently the script is left, timeline/character/research central and notes/tags left. It would be great to be able to move the script central and still have the timeline and still have the other elements on either side. I know you can go full-screen and have the structure tab on top but you lose the full timeline. It would be awesome to have the timeline show up running underneath the main writing area in full-screen mode.
I already love this software, so if any of these things could be added it would increase productivity in a big way for me.
Thank you for responding in so much detail. I really appreciate that and I'm excited about the roadmap of the software. it's the best out there, in my opinion.
Here is the illustration of the block title overlapping the titles of the groups. It happens when the horizontal width of the area is reduced - when the left script panel and right notes panel are both making the whiteboard/timeline area have less space.
That's great about the italics patch on the beats popups. That way I would be able to edit/write with two windows open and be able to include italics in the writing.
With the filtered tags, I was thinking more along the lines of a filter in the research area that would, for example, enable me to see all the beats that have two characters in it, or that all contain an Item that I have tagged. In a way that shows the beats as a list, much like how things are organised in the research area.
I also thought for the research area it would be useful to have a sorting option, by date/by Alphabetic order. As when there are many Beats/Tags it's easier to find them in a-z order than the order in which they were added.
A little follow-up regarding novel writing. We just added an elaborate word count report. We'll get Word in/out and rich text notes.
Also, since you have scene headings, it sounds like you're actually writing a novel under the screenwriting toolset. But many authors have asked to have locations even though they don't intend to print them. So scene headings will simply become an option regardless of document type, and then novels will just not print them by default.
Sorry for the slow reply.
Duplicating beats will come. It was difficult pre-3.0 because beats were possibly too entangled, and could even be spread over multiple events in the timeline. Moving and copying was like running through a fence in your car and dragging it with you. It primarily depends on the new selection model, which is working as a prototype, but it's a deep change to put it into the app. It will happen sooner rather than later, because it's holding us back in many ways.
Anything needing a file, like images, will be after we're on the collaborative data model, since images also have to travel between devices and users.
Beats already have snapshots. Double-click a beat, and you can create versions at the bottom and swap between them. The collaborative data model will additionally have infinite history, both for tracking changes and seeing who wrote what.
I can see that the connection dialog is triggered on Cmd/Ctrl-I while in the beat editor, preventing the Italic shortcut. You can still select it from the right-click menu. I've recorded a bug.
Viewing dependent linked beats is not completely cut and dried, because it would only be clear what to do in the simple situation where the beats are daisy-chained in a single chain. The moment they branch and converge, it's not clear what to assemble in the search result, i.e. which branches to follow. I'm drawing a blank on what logic would apply.
An elaborate status system is coming, exactly for tracking WIP or approval status. Imagine a legal department hooked into a script and a beat needing to be reapproved if it was rewritten.
You can navigate by right-clicking the connection and jumping to the left or right. Otherwise it's the same problem that you could have 5 incoming or outgoing branches, and it's unclear which branch to follow. While you could imagine a UI to select the branch, this is in danger of being too much babysitting to be intuitive.
Moving beats up and down in a group is again thorny outside of the simple situation. Such a shortcut would have to work at a deeper level or simply moving beats earlier or later. But a group might intercut, or there might be an episode break in the middle of it, so it's unclear exactly what the move should do, and it can have unexpected results. These kinds of feature become very complex when you actually try to build them, because while certainly the easy situation is easy, there will be many situations that are unaccounted for and where the same behavior will be wrong. I'm not against it, I'm only saying that such a feature needs a lot more thinking through.
I'm not 100% sold on creating new beats in a group just with the group selected. It's not that it wouldn't work, but it doesn't generalize well. Would it also work for Blocks? Where in the block would the beat be dropped? At the beginning? Then what if you do it multiple times? Then you'd be working in reverse order. Or at the time cursor? Then what if the time cursor is outside of the block? What about blocks you can't see? Again not against it, but these features live and die on whether they can stay simple when you account for other situations than the easy ones.
Locations live on beats, and this is fundamental to Causality and cannot ever change. In fact, the entire whiteboard can only exist because of this. No locations on beats means no whiteboard. I can elaborate, but this is fundamental.
Please send a screenshot of the block title visibility issue.
Dragging beats into the research area, 100% yes. This was actually a feature before, but got lost along the way. It needs the new selection model, but this has to come back. It's especially the only hope at ever organizing beats in the Unsorted folder. You need to be able to sort them directly from the whiteboard or the script.
The research folder structure isn't ideal, but it's also very hard to change, and has to be weighed against whether people are willing at have a month of time added to when they can have collaboration or mobile apps. This rewrite wouldn't have the same bang as working on other things, so it's pushed back.
Image support rides on the collaborative data model, and we can't do anything until that's running.
The relationship section could certainly have more convenience feature, but the whole thing is a little bit of a failure. This wasn't thought through and was added in haste in a lapse of judgment. A better kind of graph will come, and will be rewritten from scratch.
Opening multiple instances of Causality would be toxic, because it has a footprint on disk and in databases, and it's asking for instant conflict and corruption. Other apps can do this because they mostly work in memory and their worst problem is setting different preferences from different instances. Multiple documents with switching will happen, but under a single instance.
I'm not 100% sure the bottom toolbar should stay at all. It's a lot of precious real estate to reserve for very little.
You can edit multiple beats side by side simply by opening multiple editing windows.
Eventually, the layout will become freeform-table based like Adobe apps. But it's a big rewrite and a lot of downtime without producing a different app for most people. So again, when a feature like this competes with collaboration or mobile apps or emotion tracking, it doesn't win. We feel better bumping up smaller features, because we can do them without sabotaging the major initiatives.
You can right-click any tag and choose Filter On Selected, and get a filtered script with just beats with that tag.
Is there an organised way to see all the beats based on a tag? (like in a list in the research area? At the moment I'm tagging lots of beats and can see the links made by the daisy chain on the whiteboard, but I can't view the volume of tags. It would be awesome to see them all in a list without manually putting them in folders from the unsorted folder.