Plume Creator a Writing Program for Linux

I have recently come across Plume Creator, a one-man effort to create an Scrivener-like IDE (Integrated, Development, Environment) for writers on a cross-platform toolkit known as QT. That’s programmer lingo meaning you can run it on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Plume Creator is being coded by Cyril Jacquet. (No, I’m not kidding you about his name. Cyril is the name of a female alien in my novel Tyrmia. No relation, but interesting coincidence.)

Here’s what the editor looks like when you have a project open and are writing. You have space for notes and a synopsis at the bottom, writing with tabs in the center and to the left you have a timer and word counter. All very useful things to have at your fingertips while writing.

(You can click on these pictures for a larger version.)

Plume Creator unfortunately doesn’t handle the Unity interface of a standard Ubuntu install very gracefully. But if you are running KDE, an alternative desktop, it would look much nicer. Maybe someone will code up a native GTK version if this program takes off.

This is what the program’s full-screen capability looks like in Unity. I couldn’t find a way to make the margins larger, so the text is all bunched up in the middle, wasting screen space. I’m not a big fan of full-screen writing, so this doesn’t bother me much.

There is a tracking program for keeping up with what characters and objects are in each scene. It’s called the Attendance Manager and to my knowledge there is nothing like it in Scrivener. If you keep up with this as you write, it could be a very useful tool. But if you let it slip or spend too much time fiddling with it, it could become a distraction for you, and wind up working against you.

There is a slightly unconventional Outliner that comes with the program. I personally prefer to have a spreadsheet and generally don’t like cork board or antique paper looking interfaces when I’m trying to work. I guess I’m more business than fun with my writing. Some folks love this kind of thing, others don’t. It would be nice to have a more traditional handling outliner or spreadsheet like interface as an option here.

This is how I have set up the main editor set up for my testing. There are some pretty cool features in this program and it’s not even to a 1.0 version yet. I encourage you to download it and take it for a test drive. Let Cyril know what you think and if you are a programmer, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind some help with it.

I’ll be testing Plume Creator a bit harder over my vacation, but I wanted to show it off to you now because I just love that someone has stepped up like this on Linux.

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5 comments on “Plume Creator a Writing Program for Linux”

  1. Val

    Oooh, shiny! Looking forward to your evaluation of Plume — the local romance writers are all over Scrivener and Writeway Pro. I like alternatives.

  2. Cyril Jacquet

    Hello Mr McConnell,

    I stumbled over your nice article and I can’t stop myself pointing one or two details :
    – You can change the margins in fullscreen : right-click / options / text width.
    – Unity integration : I run KDE (linux mint), but I will see into this.
    – and least, I’m a male human, not a female alien ! :-)

    Enjoy yourself !
    Regards,
    Cyril Jacquet

  3. KenMcConnell

    Cyril,

    I did some looking around and found this page that explains how to make a QT application use GTK themes. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Uniform_Look_for_Qt_and_GTK_Applications

    Thanks for the margins tip!

    I really love that you are building this on Linux and I want to extend an offer to help you out in any way I can. I’m going to be finishing my latest novel here soon, and when I start my second novel, I’ll be using your program. This will be the best way I know to really test it out.

    Keep up the great work!

    Ken

  4. Frank Bird

    Long time user of Scrivener, bouncing between MS to Linux using Dropbox as a filing system.

    Recently tried Plume and quietly impressed!

    Seems much nimbler and quicker than Scrivener and doesn’t have the QT problem Scrivener has with KDE.

    I wonder what it will be like with a full novel though rather than the few sheets I have imported.

    No 1 issue for me is the lack of Mobi output.

    Keep up the good work!

    Regards

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