Welcome to Dabble! Dabble is such a fun and simple platform, packed with modern features and tools to help you write your best-selling novel. This isn’t your old-fashioned word processor with all the bells and whistles (goodbye tables and macros). Dabble is focused on getting everything out of your way, while adding the structure that a novelist needs. Dabble’s cloud-based interface and drag-and-drop story elements take care of everything so you’re free to simply write.
Welcome to the home screen, where all your Projects are listed. They stack in order, left to right, of the most recently opened project, to your oldest project. Click the Plus (+) to create a new project, aka your future book.
Once you open a project, you land on the project screen with a left-hand nav menu for getting around within your project, and a contextual right-hand nav menu with additional helpful features such as goals. In the middle you’ll see your content.
All the Views
Each item in the Left-hand Nav Menu has a unique View. A View displays your project data. Folder-like items usually display everything underneath them, such as a Chapter displaying all its Scenes, or the Manuscript providing a birds-eye view of every element in your story. Go ahead and check a few of these Views out.
- Click on the Manuscript View, to see each card representing Scenes with Chapter dividers between them.
- Click on the Book View to see your entire book, page after page.
- Click on the Chapter View to see just that one chapter with its Scenes.
You made it! You’re here! Your book is a blank slate. Writing in Dabble is the easiest part. Simply place your cursor on the screen, and write sweet, sweet stories until you reach “The End”. Ta da your novel is finished!
Many other writing apps have a dedicated focus mode to eliminate distractions. Because of its focus on simplicity, Dabble makes focus automatic with typewriter scrolling and auto-fade.
Dabble makes writing easier by scrolling with you as you type (typewriter scrolling). The page itself shifts upward as you write each line. Your eyes don’t get tired following your words down the screen, and you never have to scroll or move your mouse.
Pro Tip: If your eyes do get tired from staring at a screen, zoom in to make the font larger. Or zoom out to see more of your page - Dabble lets you do both.
- Zoom-in Ctrl + (Cmd + on Mac)
- Zoom-out Ctrl - (Cmd - on Mac)
- Zoom reset Ctrl 0 (Cmd 0 on Mac)
After 6 seconds of typing, everything but the book page fades out. The menus stay hidden until you move your mouse. Auto-Fade is an amazing focusing tool unique to Dabble. If you prefer to view your notes while you type, turn Auto-Fade off by clicking the Account Menu (your name) just to the right of the top nav bar, then Preferences.
Naming Your Book
To name your book, click on the page where it says “Untitled Book” and type your title, something like “Best Book Ever”, as a placeholder. Click where it says “Unknown Author” and type your name, or a pseudonym, pen name, your alias... we won’t judge. When you create multiple projects/books, you can see their titles and tell them apart on the home screen (because we know you have more than one best seller rattling around your brain).
Pro Tip: Double clicking “Untitled Book” from the left-hand nav menu also lets you rename your book. In fact, double clicking will rename most elements in Dabble. Handy Handy!
The Left-Hand Nav Menu
Before you start writing, it helps to understand the world in which you will create. Dabble’s world, the interface, is governed by the left-hand nav menu. Each element in the menu is like a folder or a file, just like File Explorer in Windows computers and Finder in Mac computers.
The main folders are:
- Manuscript (your actual book)
- Plot (the chart where you Plot Lines reside)
- Story Notes (a place to tidy your mass of creative genius energy, or just put boring ol’ regular notes).
- Pro Tip: The downward facing arrows collapse each folder, for a tidy work space.
Here’s a helpful chart explaining Dabble’s elements and the folder/file system:
Now you know the basics to get started in Dabble. There’s more fun of course: read Getting Started Part II to learn about adding new elements, how to change your preferences and saving your Manuscript. Till next time Dabblers!