Metabook

Write the great American novel with this cool Windows application.

MB-05

Every writer, EVER, has the same dream – to write the book that will make him a bazillionaire. The book goes viral. It gets turned into a series. Movies are made from them; and their name becomes a household word. They are remembered all the time, everyday, out loud by everyone and anyone because they’ve all read the books. The key to getting started, is getting organized. That’s why I really like Metabook. It’s a Windows tool to help you create organization around your great American novel.

One of the hardest things to do when writing short stories and novels is organizing your thoughts and ideas. Yes, you have this totally awesome idea in your head and its beating down the walls trying to get out. What you really need to do is to organize the information so that you don’t lose any of it. This is where Metabook comes in. With it, you can create a structure that will help you organize information and metadata around people, places, items, actions and activities. It’s the easiest way to get your idea(s) out of your head and actually on paper where they can make sense and won’t conflict.

The best thing about Metabook is that its totally free form. You can create unlimited structure notes, but are limited to three layers. If you need to go deeper than that, you can start an individual node and drill three levels on it. If you need go deeper than that, then you can again, start an additional node, or you may want or need to rethink how you’re organizing your thoughts. The idea here is to get them down on paper and get them organized.

You can also use your document editor of choice. Metabook will allow you to hook into Word, WordPad, or any other tool you’ve got so you can write. Again, the idea is to organize and help the words come out, not to limit you to a specific tool. If needed, you can also pull in attachments – notes or other files, say…pictures and graphics or Visio files and other Office-centric data – into the tool so you can access them later. You can also create a separate project file for each book or document you wish to organize. Again, the idea is to keep it all separate so you can keep it all organized.

Metabook is a great application. If you’re trying to get organized around any kind of writing project, this is a great way to start. The app is light and easy on resources. Its easy to use. Its affordable; and it provides the basics around getting the whole party started – getting your thoughts out of your head and in some kind of organized form so you can begin writing.

The biggest issue with the app is that if you’ve never used it or anything else from this author, its not very easy to figure out how to get started. Once the app starts, you need to right click on the left pane window in order to bring up a context menu to create your first node. If you didn’t know to try that, and I didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to get very far with the app. There’s no File—New command, or any other visual clue to get you going; and that’s probably the biggest hole in this app.

Download Metabook

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Bioshock Infinite – an amazing shooter with neat role-playing touches

Bioshock_Infinite_LogoBioshock Infinite is the third installment in the award-winning Bioshock series, and whilst there is no continuing storyline from its previous incarnations, fans of the brand will notice that the stunning visuals and intuitive gameplay remain very much at the heart of the game.

This time round we control Booker DeWitt, a former Government agent who – to pay off an unknown debt – is sent to the floating city of Columbia to rescue a captive called Elizabeth.

Set in 1912, the game features at its core a civil war between the ‘founders’ of Columbia and the ‘Vox Populi’, a rebel gang looking to seize control of the city. Whilst Columbia is gloriously easy on the eye, we quickly learn its inhabitants have an appetite for destruction. The protagonists are drawn into this battle as Elizabeth is highly sought by both of the rival factions, who wish to use her unique psychological powers for their own ends.

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Bioshock Infinite is, in essence, a first person shooter, but with some neat role-playing touches that will please ardent RPG fans too. Following a well-trodden path, the game combines both linear plot points and the ability to free roam, allowing you to really immerse yourself in the atmosphere and politics of Columbia.

Whilst Booker has a number of destructive melee weapons and firearms at his disposal, he can also utilise vigors that offer a number of additional skills, including telekinesis, the manipulation of electricity and animal control to discombobulate opponents, and these – in grand RPG tradition – can be fully upgraded.

The player can also make the most of Elizabeth’s strengths in battle sequences, although she does remain CPU controlled throughout the game. The character of Elizabeth is built with a really intuitive AI model, which ensures she is of benefit rather than a hindrance – something you often find in ‘buddy’ shooters.

Using her spiritual abilities in combination with Booker’s skill in combat can lead to a number of devastating – and very satisfying – attacks. She’ll even chuck a few power ups your way when she’s not directly involved in the action herself.
The only blot on Bioshock Infinite’s copy book is the gun battle aspect, which feels clunky and a little dated when compared to many other recent point and shoot titles. But this is more than made up for in the sheer number of aforementioned ingenious battleground tactics that can be deployed.

If you’ve never played Bioshock before then you are in for a treat, and seasoned campaigners will be happy with the series’ continued commitment to sublime graphics, dense atmospherics and multi-layered battlegrounds.

Whether you are a tactically-minded player or an ‘all guns blazing’ merchant, the depth of Columbia and the responsiveness of your enemies gives the game a replay value so often lacking in first person shooters, whilst still being fun and easy to ‘pick up and play.’

The intricacies of the relationship between Booker and Elizabeth, as well as the dystopian environment they find themselves in, result in an immersive storyline packed with depth and promise. You really will want to see this one through to the end.

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