Writer’s Toolkit: Dabble

At the beginning of NaNoWriMo, participants usually receive an email with information about sponsors and coupon codes and the like, usually for really cool writing toys. This year, 2017, a brand new sponsor jumped on board and sought to woo NaNoWriMo authors with an incredible tool.

Dabble.png

Dabble

First: I am not affiliated with Dabble in any way. I just want everyone to use it so that Dabble is successful so I can KEEP IT. 

Look at that gorgeous front page. I’ll admit, I was incredibly tempted to flirt with this new tool. I dug around on the site, finding the images of the app to be clean and beautiful in their simplicity.

I read the story of Dabble and learned that the creator is also tech support. Hm. Interesting.

I noticed the Pricing link. Dabble is a subscription service. Not sure how I feel about that. But then, I did fork over a bunch of money for Scrivener only to be incredibly frustrated by all the bells and whistles I couldn’t understand. Not to mention I have the Windows version, which doesn’t get updated very often and seems like the girl on the side, since the Mac subscribers always seem so much happier than I do….

Dabble offered (and is offering as of 11/2017) a free month long trial, up in December, for anyone. For NaNo writers, there’s a discount subscription price for a year. For NaNo Winners, the discount is even better. And for people who hop on NOW, there’s a low subscription price for life. Hm, again.

Let’s talk about these things in a little more detail and I’ll share my thoughts with you.

Tech Support

This is a big one for me, which is why I’m discussing it first. I’ll talk about the features in just a minute. As Dabble is a brand new writing app, I figured it would have a lot of bugs. In my 20-something days of use, I have run in to one or two. The first time I had a problem, my heart stopped. Entire scenes of my NaNoWriMo novel were MISSING. Lowering my wordcount by several thousand words. It was late at night, Mountain Standard Time, but I took a deep breath and clicked the Help button and chose “Chat With Support.” I typed in my problem: “HELP!” (I was not subtle.) “My scenes are gone! Lots and lots of them!” (I was not specific.)

I signed out of the program and shut down my computer. I went to bed and – low and behold – my phone dinged. (If you aren’t signed in to Dabble when your query is answered, you get the answer via email!) And the problem, according to Jacob (Creator and Tech Support) was solved.

I logged in and found all my words back where they belonged! My relief was palpable.

Since then, I’ve had a couple of minor hiccups, and they have been addressed very quickly by Jacob. THE CREATOR. He’s incredibly friendly, explains things in terms a person with less tech training understands, and keeps his word about adding updates. Because of my fantastic experience with tech support (which is pretty nonexistent with Scrivener and Word), I’m ready to subscribe right now!

The Interface

Let’s talk simplicity. Let’s talk beauty. Let’s talk about the interface of this wonderful app.

Online or offline (because you can be offline and still adding to your novel!), it looks pretty much the same. Shiny, pretty, and basic. No distractions. Disappearing sidebars, if you want them to disappear. The ability to plot using a note-card-like-screen. Adding scenes to chapters, chapters to the book, in an incredibly easy manner. Click and drag your plot cards around until you like the order they’re in. Move scenes from one place to another. Send to the trash the things you don’t like. Pretty much all the basic functions of Scrivener I actually like using, but without the troublesome extra baggage of a million toolbars to navigate through.

Plot Notecards.png

I mean, look at this. It’s PRETTY. It’s simple. It’s not too busy. You may also note that I have different plotlines running parallel to each other. Wow. Nice. Lovely.

By contrast, here’s a screenshot of Scrivener in the Corkboard View:

Scrivener Screenshot

Look how busy that background is. The “First Draft” watermark is supremely annoying, too. And these are all chapters. Because chapters, scenes, etc., just give me a headache in Scrivener. Yes, I’ve watched the tutorials. But I get lost in the bells and whistles. I spend more time adjusting Scrivener to my needs than actually writing. I realize there are people out there who LOVE this program. Good for you. I’m glad it’s making your life awesome. For me, it’s too much. It’s too tiny. Busy. Hurts my eyes. Blah.

By contrast, I’ve found Dabble easy to navigate, intuitive, and friendly.

But It’s A Subscription Based App

I know. I didn’t like that thought either. It’s kept me away from other writing programs, like Novlr. I don’t want to pay lots of money for something that I’m going to get lost in or won’t use. But I’ll try something for free. Novlr offers a two week free trial. That’s nothing for someone like me, who squeezes in writing time between baby bottles and homework and making dinner (READ: Mom). And Novlr looks pretty intimidating. Maybe it isn’t. But it’s just not friendly enough for me. It’s $10 a month or $100 a year.

Dabbler offered me over a month of free play time, during NaNoWriMo. A month. After this, they will shorten the free trial time. But this suited my purposes. Dabbler is also offering, for a limited time, subscriptions at $4.99 a month. Then it will be $9.99 a month. But if you are a NaNoWriMo-er, you get a deal! And if you WIN, you get an even better deal. Hm.

I gave it a go, holding my nose in the air, sure that this app-thingy wouldn’t be worth even the paltry sum they are asking NaNo Winners to fork out for it….

But here’s the thing: I am loving it.

Whether I win NaNo or not, I think I’m going to subscribe and lock in that $4.99 a month rate.

News Flash: The world of technology is changing. Even Microsoft Office (or whatever they call themselves these days) is going the subscription route. The software doesn’t belong to us anymore. We have to pay to use it. The UP side to this is that when Dabble has a constant flow of money, they can give us a constant flow of feedback and features. Unlike the stagnant (beating a dead horse here) Scrivener. I paid a lot for that program and I don’t like it. It’s ugly and not very user-friendly. You have to watch HOURS of video tutorials, ask a Facebook forum, or pay some guy (no joke, lots of people are making him rich) over $100 bucks to teach you to use Scrivener. That’s ridiculous.

Dabble is intuitive, the creator is a nice guy who answers my questions, and I’m happy to pay for that. You get what you pay for and a constant influx of a small amount of money is going to keep this company running better than one lump sum.

And Dabble’s creator has promised to keep rolling out the updates as authors need them, ask for them, come up with them. I know, I know. Novlr has promised the same. But I’ve already told you how I feel about them. They scare me.

Dabble JUST released at the end of September 2017. They are brand-spanking new. (By the way, no one spanks new babies anymore. It’s pretty unnecessary.) Get in on the ground-level, right? By using Dabble, you can help make the program amazing for many future writers!

In Summary

I like Dabble. I’m not affiliated with it, and I like it a lot. Tech support is great. The price is fair for what I’m getting in return. It’s shiny and new, and oh-so-user-friendly.

I’m going to win NaNoWriMo, and I’m thinking Dabble gets some of the credit for that.

Pop on over to www.DabbleWriter.Com and give it a try. Anything you type is obviously yours to keep. If you don’t like it, you’ve not wasted any time. You can download your text and move on your merry way. 🙂

But I think you’ll like it. I really do.

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