When it comes to most writing programs, you’re dealing with something that was built to let people work no matter what the project. While it’s always nice to have access to fourteen trillion different features, it’s easy to get bogged down. Dabble offers a pared-down experience that does its job, and lets you get to the work of writing without anything to get in your way.
When you initially get started, you’ll create a new project. You can make this a single novel, or a singular place for all of the books in a particular series or timeline. Once you get in there, things are pretty simple. You’ve got a screen dominated by the word document in front of you with sidebars to the left and right that deliver handy information. On the left is where you’ll find all of the documents in a project, including plot notes and character or location settings. To the right are notes for the scene you are working within, along with a word counter and stats from your last 30 days of writing.
Adding a new scene, chapter, character sketch or even book to an existing project is easy, and its easy to find. It all lives on the sidebar to the left. This of course means that it’s easy to add new characters, as well as tossing in sketches of locations, or slotting in scenes that you still need to write. It’s easy to tab between something you’re working on already, and these sketches.
Just keep writing
Since Dabble isn’t overflowing with features, it makes it easy to get down to brass tacks and get words onto the page. The only real options you have while writing are bold or italics, meaning that dealing with formatting isn’t going to be hugely problematic. While it is unfortunate that it doesn’t have a mobile app yet, it’s clear that Dabble has big plans for 2018 including bringing this platform to mobile devices.
There are times when writing with Dabble felt like I’d been stripped down to the bare essentials of MS Doc, but rather than this being problematic it was actually pretty helpful. I could see my word count as a glance when working towards a specific goal, and could easily see the scenes I’d finished already. Coming from Scrivener — which has basically every feature ever — to Dabble was a rough adjustment. I found that I was far more productive though, the only thing to concentrate on was finishing my manuscript rather than getting caught up in the middle of playing with specifics.
The community support for Dabble has been fantastic as well. They have a mighty small team, but are constantly asking their user base about the updates and features that we want to see. By supporting the program early I can ensure that as it grows, I have a hand in the type of features that are developed.