Writing on the go can be difficult. Most of your work resides on your hard drive, or in a notebook safely tucked away at home. But brilliant ideas don’t always wait until you’re sitting at your desk, leading to scribbled reminders scattered all over with no distinct organization. With Manuscript by Black Mana Studios, however, writers can rejoice at the ease of having all their work in one spot!
A writing app dedicated to those writers aspiring to write anything from a short story to an entire novel, Manuscript allows users to outline, research, edit and export their work directly within the app itself. Users can start from scratch or import works-in-progress via Google Docs. (Note: Manuscript is currently compatible with RTF manuscript-formatted documents only.)
When using manuscript for the first time, you are initially taken to a blank library, which will soon house all your creations. By tapping the plus sign in the top right hand corner of the screen, users can enter the manuscript’s title and author name. Once saved, a picture of a book featuring the title and author name will appear on the screen. Manuscripts can be renamed simply by tapping the button in the upper right hand corner of this screen. To return to the library, use the button in the upper left hand corner.
With the initial steps complete, users can now use the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen to develop their manuscript further with the outline, chapter, research and export buttons.
The ‘Outline’ button allows users to access three helpful features: pitch, synopsis and index cards. Pitch is where users can write a concise tagline describing their work. Taglines are usually one sentence but never exceed several sentences. The synopsis section allows users to write a more detailed description of the plot, describing major developments in the work. Index cards are handy for collecting ideas and reminders, as well as jotting down notes about character and plot development.
For individual chapters, each can be outlined separately using the ‘Chapters’ button. Users create an empty chapter, outline the content, then add to them in any order and reorder chapters as they see fit. The ‘Research’ button allows users to use Wikipedia, as well as a dictionary and thesaurus within the app to aid in the writing process.
The ‘Export’ button allows users to send their documents via email or upload them to Google Docs as an RTF file, which can be read on both Macs and PCs. As Manuscript’s App Store description reads, this tool can also be ideally used for note-taking, project management and storyboards.
While Manuscript is nearly perfect with its ability to allow writers the freedom to maneuver their work in any way they choose, its inability to import and export anything but RTF files makes the transferring process a little more complicated. However, Black Mana Studios has stated that solutions for such problems are in development. Future updates shall hopefully find a way to rectify Google Docs’ inability to support XML files, which currently prevents users from exporting the outlining elements, as well as allowing users to import any sort of document, not just manuscript-formatted RTF files.
However, despite these few initial flaws, Manuscript is a near-perfect app that presents writers with an easy-to-use interface that simplifies their everyday writing endeavors and makes writing on-the-go a snap.
Manuscript requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch.