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Sell Me On Dabble

I heard about Dabble on the NaNoWriMo website and got the free trial. But…it just seems like a word processing software to me. What am I missing? What would I get that is worth $100 a year? Sell me on it!

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You are probably looking for everyone other than me to sell you on it, but I will start off with, “you get what you pay for”. Dabble goes above and beyond its desktop and other online competitors by:

  1. spending more time in development making things simple. Making something simple is hard. By working hard in up-front design and development, we make it easier for you to understand so you can focus on writing rather than learning tools.

  2. providing services they can’t (or won’t). Dabble has built-in sync, so you have your words on any computer (and soon mobile device!), and don’t have to worry about losing data. Dabble supports co-authoring (unofficially now, officially soon). It works on desktop with the app and in the browser and is the same on every operating system. It has great customer support with a turnaround time of less than a day during the week, and often on weekends as well, especially for critical issues.

  3. growing with you. Dabble continues to improve and you get those features automatically as they come out. This last year we added Find & Replace (I don’t know any others that provide project-wide find-replace), built-in ProWritingAid spelling/grammar/style checking (we couldn’t for if we only charged a 1-time fee), Dark Theme, and a lot of tiny improvements and fixes.

  4. providing a great community. This group of writers is amazing. Even if you don’t end up using Dabble, I encourage you to stay and participate in these forums.

There are specific features I could talk about, but I’ll let others share. I’ve done most of my talking already on the website.

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I have to say, this could not be more true! I’m I. Australia, so on the opposite side of the world to Jacob. Yet when I have an issue on weekends (so let’s say either Friday or Saturday overnight) I tho k the most I’ve had to wait for Jacob to respond is about an hour. He’s great and so is this community.

What are you looking for in a writing app? Dabble has a plot grid, a manuscript section where you can add parts, scenes, chapters and books. It allows me to have an entire series in one place, and to have the story notes linked. And Jacob is adding so many new features that enhance this app.

I think it’s safe to say I’ve tried them all. I don’t like Scrivener because it’s too complicated, and apps like StoryShop are too clunky. I do use Evernote still for all my brain vomit.

I came to Dabble for the app and stayed for the community. I’ve used it to wi. Three NaNos so far, and I wouldn’t go back.

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I find Scrivener too complicated as well. That was another one where I got a free trial and was so confused by it that I stopped using it before the trial was over.

I don’t know where you access the community here from the dabble homepage, though. When I go to dabblewriter.com I don’t see any place to access the community. I’m working on a laptop.

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I don’t know what sold anyone else, but for me, it was the ease with which you can rearrange scenes, chapters, even entire books. I don’t always write a novel in sequential order, so the ability to easily move around scenes is INVALUABLE to me. I’ve been looking for a program that does this quickly and easily for ages and here comes dabble with drag and drop to change scene order!

I also love the plot grid, which lets you track different plot lines if you’re doing something with multiple, interweaving threads. Plus the ability to make world notes right there? Yeah, I love this program. Hope that explains why I dump regular cash on it!

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uhm, it says ‘community’ right in the line below the banner … next to other useful links.

I love Dabble. Period. And I don’t pay that much anyway as a NaNo winner.

You have an influence on the features that come out next-ish. There was an open discussion on pricing, too. (Was it on the old forums? I can’t find it now.) Anyway, at a later date, there may be more price options depending on how frequently a user thinks he might use it.

Hence, today’s users are tomorrow’s developers … uhm, :blush: okay, co-developers.

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Must have been the old forums, may they rest in peace. I may resurrect that conversation in the future. I still want to figure out how to allow the most amount of people to enjoy Dabble without going out of business or making it feel cheap.

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Which I can only find if I haven’t signed in. Once I sign in and see my own projects, there are no links to anything else.

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Ahh, you are at app.dabblewriter.com then. In that case, if you click on the Help menu at the top-right, you can find the community link there.
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I’ve been using Dabble for the past two years now and don’t know what I’d do without it. I’ve written my last five novels using it and find the plotting feature invaluable. If I’m writing and get stuck I can hit a button and my complete plot is in front of me. Then back to writing! When I’m finished, I export to Word to do my formatting and editing. I’m working on my NaNo project now. 38K into the 50.

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For me, it is the option of making notes that are easy to find again as I’m writing or editing. I’m editing a novel I wrote this summer which I plotted as I went along. Before Dabble, I would have to go back laboriously to find out characters names, place names, ages, and note all the errors on paper, then trying to find that spot on a Word Document. With Dabble, I use the Plot Line, or make a folder called Characters where I can make a page of notes on each -names, ages, relationships. I also have a folder called “plot problems” where I can mark by chapter the problems I’ve encountered…and note, for example, by Chapter 15 that Day 3 of the novel seems have several days of events therein…so I’ll have to go back to change that. The ability to keep notes on the screen makes it easier for me to draft and edit as I go along. I feel happy with this new tool.

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So, I’m a little late to this discussion, but as I’m a new user who came here from Nano I thought I’d drop you a message.
The thing that sold me on Dabble was that it is really easy to use. I also found Scrivener confusing, but Dabble is really straightforward. I love that you can put notes on the side and create character profiles that are really easy to use and to access. It’s easy to create character arcs and remember them.
I’m still figuring out things on the site, but a really great thing about Dabble is that if you have an issue you have a real person right there helping you out with it. The response time by people actually in the know was insanely fast. If you have an issue, someone will be on it very quickly.

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I’m a little late to the party, but here’s my perspective as someone who’d been using Scrivener for many years.

I love that Dabble is cloud-based, which means I can work seamlessly from different devices. I use a desktop computer at work and two laptops at home (one for work and one for everything else). The ability to pick up where I left off is invabluable. Sure, I could use [insert third-party solution here], but the chapter/scene navigation is SO much better on Dabble. Also, the ability to keep the story and story notes in the same project is a nice bonus.

I see most people in this thread think Scrivener is complicated, and I agree that it has a pretty steep learning curve. IMO, Dabble does everything I need from Scrivener in a way that’s simpler, faster, and more user-friendly. The only feature I haven’t used extensively yet is the Plot Grid, because I have an age-old Google Sheet I use to plot character timelines and plots, but I’ll definitely give it a shot for my next novel.

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I’ve just come to the end of my free Dabble trial and I am undecided about purchasing a subscription. Over the course of a year it’s a good chunk of money and I don’t have a copy of the software to own, whereas if I purchase a competitor’s product for $50 at least I own a copy of it.
The other issue I have is that it is unsupported in chrome on my Samsung tablet, which is odd because it’s just a browser after all.
So I too would be interested in the ‘Sell me on Dabble’ answer because I feel I’m maybe missing something here.

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Support for mobile devices is coming this year; see more features ahead here: https://www.dabblewriter.com/roadmap

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Dabble should work on your tablet in a couple of months. I’m working hard to make this happen sooner if possible.

There are differences between owning a piece of software and subscribing to one. With the latter, we can provide ongoing services. It is like the difference between a maid service and a vacuum. With Dabble, we provide automatic sync and backups and new features when they come out instead of bundling them into the next version you have to buy.

Future services we are planning to provide which 1-time competitors will not be able to offer without changing pricing models is:

  • Co-authoring, planned this year, write with another author in the same project
  • Export to Web or Sharing, to publish your novel to a unique URL to share, post on social media, etc.
  • Beta Reading, providing the novel online and inviting beta readers to read, comment, etc.
  • Editor Workflow, inviting an editor to read and provide edits (think GDocs Comment mode or MS Word’s Track Changes mode) and bring changes back into the main document

These are not available yet, but because we are a subscription, I can work towards those.

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Dabble has built-in spelling, grammar and punctuation checking. I can’t be sure but it feels like it’s built on top of ProWritingAid (PWA) which is a leader in its market. Having that built-in to Dabble is a wonderful productivity feature.

In general I too find myself averse to monthly subscriptions vs. buying software. In the case of Dabble I make an exception because I really like the direction that Jacob is taking it. I want it to succeed. So I subscribe to Dabble to finance its development and participate in the Dabble forums to contribute to its community.

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Everything Jacob has said is true. It’s simpler, but not missing features I need.

I’d never thought about the fact that PWA couldn’t happen without a monthly charge.

The support turnaround has been the biggest benefit I’ve experienced. Jacob has been there to fix any problems that came up, and so quickly!

Things I look forward to:

Feature-rich character sheets

Editing collab

iPhone app

More fonts (can help with editing)

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I’m a bit late, but my comment might help newcomers so I thought I’d post anyway. I came to Dabble from Scrivener, which I’ve used for years. One of the main reasons I signed up for the free trial is simple and a bit shallow, but important. Dabble looks nicer. It’s cleaner. It’s crisper. Scrivener has a ton of features, but it’s cluttered and, in my opinion, ugly. I’m a professional writer. I write 40,000 - 60,000 words a month. I spend a LOT of time in my writing app, and I want it to look nice.

The plot grid was what kept me in Dabble. I’m a huge plotter, and while Scrivener has plotting functions, they aren’t as simple to use (or as nice looking).

And now, with the mobile update, I can’t see myself going back. I have Dabble on my desktop, my laptop, my phone, and my iPad, and my work can be accessed from each one in an instant. I love being able to start writing on my desktop, then close the program and pick it up on my phone five minutes later when I’m sitting in front of my TV. I don’t have to try to link anything to Dropbox or manually update the files. It all happens right away, automatically, and seamlessly. Being able to access my writing from anywhere at any time is huge for me. It’s already boosted my productivity, simply because it’s so * easy*.

Dabble makes writing easy. That’s why I love it so much. It may not be perfect for everyone, but it’s definitely worth signing up for the free trial for. And for me, it’s more than worth the monthly fee.

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With the new mobile version, I find myself more and more writing with a Bluetooth keyboard and my iPhone. It’s just nice and slick and easy.

One of the things that I like most is the fact that it’s web based, and even if all my machines were destroyed in some disaster, I could pick up on another device, bought or borrowed, and pick up writing right where I left off. That doesn’t mean that I don’t back things up. But it has become more and more important to me to be able to jump back into my writing projects right where I left off. Google Docs works pretty well for that, but not for a novel sized project where you need to be able to put a bunch of sections together for the final novel.

Thank you Jacob for your efforts. The mobile support upgrade has been so awesome!

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