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I've always found Word processors very poorly adapted for organising ideas, which quickly become scattered across many separate pages. Trello allows to edit and move around ideas right on the screen but it's limited because it's not designed to that end.

Any idea what app could do the trick better?

Specifically: what app allows to represent visually and organise ideas with a view to write a book for instance, or a series of videos/lectures? This app would offer a way to build a global, visual representation of all the ideas and sections.

The app should run on Windows (10), I don't mind paying if it's not too expensive. I have no particular features in mind except the ability to create and move around ideas/sections on the screen. Mindmap isn't enough I think because for each idea/section I'd need the ability to add content into it like with Trello cards, and that content would only become visible when clicking on an idea/section.

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  • I have never used it (hence this is just a comment, and not an answer), but I have a friend currently using Scribus (scribus.net) to write a book. Might be worth a look. Oct 4 '20 at 19:49
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Maybe some outlining editor is what you're looking for. I like the Workflowy.

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I use WriteItNow. It is mainly designed for writing novels, I think. It has an area for listing your characters, chapters, events, places, ideas, references, submissions, props, etc. and, when you click on any of them, the one you clicked on is loaded into an editing window where you can write content for that item. I don't know if it will lend itself well to your need, but you can find it at this URL if you would like to take a look at it: https://www.ravensheadservices.com/index.html

I was also thinking that Warnier-Orr diagramming might support what you are wanting to do, but the software that I know of for doing Warnier-Orr diagramming with a computer is from a now-defunct company. It was from TLA systems and it was called, "Brackets.exe" or "{.exe." It uses brackets to associate ideas under parent ideas and it represented logical flow between those ideas. It ran on DOS. It had the ability to generate source code in both COBOL and C for generating computer programs. I used it a lot in my programming job way back when. Here are a couple of screen captures from Brackets that I took just now while running it under DOSbox on my Ubuntu computer. Splash screen of Brackets program Example of brackets describing a main idea and its parts

I also was thinking that any of the image processing programs that support image layers might lend themselves to arranging ideas and moving them around. I use GIMP on linux. If I put each idea into a graphic on its own layer, I can move them around and print them together as one image, showing their relations to each other.

Beyond these three, I don't know of any software that does specifically what you described. If anything comes to mind, I will return here and post again for your benefit (potential benefit, anyway.)

We always did idea organizing on a whiteboard in a conference meeting. Maybe software that is used for teleconferencing might do what you want to do. We used to have conferences that were set up by software companies and we would each sign in to a web site with a specially assigned invitation ID and the conference would appear on our desktops. I don't know what software they were using. I wish I could be of more help than this.

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  • Interesting piece of software, thanks! It's designed for fictional story telling though right? With character, a storyline, etc. In my case it would be more for non fictional series of videos surrounding one general topic so no chronology, no characters, but still the desire for me to visually organise my thoughts in order to plan the series
    – Trypoh
    May 2 '20 at 17:13
  • I don't think it is exclusively for fiction. I was trying to think what other software might be available for what you have in mind. We used project management software, venn diagrams, etc. in our computer programming department but I don't think that would lend itself well to what you want to do either. I wonder if image processing software such as GIMP or CorelDraw, etc. would serve your purpose. If you put each idea on its own "layer" you could move the layers around to see variations in the big picture. It might be a little clunky, though. Maybe a guru will provide a better answer. May 2 '20 at 18:45
  • Welcome Stephen! Please take a look at our help system to see how you can improve your answer. Thanks! May 3 '20 at 13:34
  • @RockPaperLizard How does this edit look to you? May 9 '20 at 0:11
  • Fantastic Stephen! Truly fantastic! Thank you! May 9 '20 at 6:53

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