For starters, I am a hobbyist writer working on fantasy novels. Most of Causality’s script writing aspects don’t affect my novel writing in the same way they do other users. That being said Causality is without a doubt the 2nd best writing software I have ever used, with a strong likelihood of becoming #1 sometime in the near future.
The reason Causality is #2 right now is because Scrivener 3 beats it just by a smidge in certain aspects. There are certain pros and cons to Scrivener 3 which I won’t go into right now. Those can be found online by other writers & authors who frequently test writing software and write reviews for others to peruse.
Per Holmes, the developer of Causality responds to emails and suggestions.
Causality constantly has new updates coming out (compared to Scrivener which spends years in between updates). While some of the new updates, particularly the Beta ones may be a bit buggy, considering the speed they come out with it's essentially a non-issue.
More suited to multi screen setups as compared to Scrivener which can ONLY be in one window. Having the ability to set up the script on one window of my dual monitor setup and the timeline/ whiteboard in the other has been nothing short of a miracle when keeping complex storylines on track.
In fact the visual tracking of beats/snippets is (in my opinion) the superior way to keep track of lots of information for complex storylines. Just having brainstorming sessions of creating groups for vague plot points and connecting them with dependency arrows to show an interconnected web has reduced so much stress worrying about forgetting to drop a hint of foreshadowing meant to be revealed MUUUUUCH later.
While suited to multi screen setups the separate windows are not independent. That in itself while not bad immediately does get annoying after a while.
Trying to have the script taking up ½ of the left screen with a floating internet browser (weather showing research material or a thesaurus) has the non-main window vanishing if something else is clicked does destroy work flow after a while. I am using MacOS to write on, which lacks an “always stay on top” option so perhaps the Linux and Windows versions fare better.
Software background aside the biggest con is the lack of Scriptwriter options. Scrivener 3 has a MUCH richer text editing software suite. Even basic stuff like showing invisible characters and Auto capitalizing new sentences is missing on Causality.
When compared to Scrivener’s options of basic elements such as a word count bar/ setting writing goals, built in thesaurus lookups, a vastly better coded final output of book setup generator, etc, etc, etc — Causality falls significantly behind.
One of the nicer options Scrivener has is ‘Revision’ mode which allows you to rewrite certain lines (crossing out whatever you've highlighted to be rewritten and using the chosen font colour to see the differences)
If certain aspects of Scrivener 3 & Google Docs could be added to future updates such as the basic toolbar to script window, (even if just toggleable visibility on/off,) it would make a huge difference.
Other updates I would like to see would be Scrivener 3's "word target" section. The concentric bulls-eye ring located in the toolbars of the window allow one to set target goals for writing sessions. Im honestly surprised that Causality lacks a word-counter entirely.
I would also love the ability to show invisible characters alongside Text Correction tools.
Finally, having a built in thesaurus would be amazing. Preferably if OneLook could somehow be inter-grated as its linguistical lexicon is by far the best ive found online. But I would settle for separate windows no longer minimizing when other stuff is clicked too. Not only does OneLook have a reverse dictionary but its algorithm searches through dozens of dictionaries, contains a rhyme generator, and is connected to various linguistical analysis tools that show interconnected webs.
Word-count for me is also essential. Would be great to be able to see the WC of beats and scenes/chapters along with the complete WC for the book.
Currently you can see a WC for scenes in the report menu (if you've selected script format, not novel/book), but it's not as elegant as being able to see WC in a bottom status bar in real-time.
Thanks. I love the software.
Thanks for your post!
* It's on purpose that we aren't as Wysiwyg. It becomes harder to control and mine and repurpose the text if it's full of internal formatting, so we want to enforce good behavior by having you use styles, and only have Wysiwyg for simpler things like bold/italic/underline and colors -- and even colors we're on the fence about, because those colors have meaning that the app is then unaware of. We want the text to have as much meaning as possible, so that the app can be as smart as possible in other areas based on the text.
* Certainly, we have fewer bells and whistles in terms of transforming and auto-completing text. That's the kind of stuff that evolves over time. We're fully positive towards it, we're just trying to do things in the order they seem to matter to the most people. Sync/collaboration is the #1 feature request, mobile is the #2 request. And the shared #3 request is the things that are possible, like emotion tracking, storyboards and other kinds of features that are enabled by the Causality concept.
* We do have some statistics (see Script -> Reports). But we have no writing targets yet. This is planned, but it needs to tie into a broader status system. We like to integrate features as much as possible, and not design several but similar features. But it means that this kind of tracking is part of a bigger thought, like beats needing approvals from legal when a curse word is used, or assigning beats to work on for different writers, or an approval process where a showrunner has to approve rewritten beats. We have to think about all of this in order to think about something as simple as setting writing targets. It has to become a broad multi-user feature, not a narrow single-user feature. And that takes R&D.
* Showing things like invisible characters is something we have some aversion to, (e.g. "P" paragraph markers), because we don't like the idea of hidden markup. We want the text as clean and repurposable as possible. So the lack of this is due to our bias against it.
* Separate windows are not designed for the workflow of having half a Causality and half a web browser on the screen, and this hasn't really ever been tested on our end. The separate windows are designed expressly for putting separate areas on separate monitors, i.e. research or script or timeline on its own monitor, filling up that whole monitor. The whole app is designed for switching back and forth, and as we start to have more areas and emotion tracking and graphs and images, this will only increase. At some point, we'll get a more user-configurable tab/table layout.
* We've tended to be conservative with integrations, because we're not just a Mac or PC app. We're also a Linux/Android/iOS/Chrome app. Integrating with something Mac or Windows-specific guarantees that it won't run on other platforms, requiring 6 or 7 separate implementations, and this would become our full time job. For spell check, we integrate with Hunspell and open source dictionaries. For everything else, if no good open source implementation exists in the language the app is made in (C++), we need to rely on web services we can simply call out to. More such integrations are planned, but since it's possible to go to a browser and do it, it's really only an extra click, which has bumped it down the list. Again, these are the kinds of refinements that increase over time. But being a highly cross-platform app, simply making a solution that integrates with one program on one platform isn't available to us.