PieceWorx Writing Studio v1.0 www.PieceWorx.com

Important Concepts

Writing Software vs. Publishing Software
Right-click menus

Writing Software vs. Publishing Software

PieceWorx Writing Studio is writing software. It is intended to facilitate the creative writing process, particularly for novelists. Most word processing programs like Microsoft Word are what I call publishing software. They allow you to control every jot and tittle of how your content will appear on the printed page. But all of this control can be a distraction when all you want to do is get in touch with your muse.

Think of Microsoft Word as a Swiss army knife and PieceWorx Writing Studio as a scalpel. No one would say that a scalpel is bad because it does not contain a corkscrew. A scalpel is the exact kind of precision instrument a surgeon wants when performing delicate and detailed work. The distraction of a corkscrew might prove problematic for the surgeon. So it is with PieceWorx Writing Studio.

My goal was not to usurp word processors. Sure, PieceWorx Writing Studio contains many features which, arguably, could be considered publishing features like printing, fonts, paragraph formatting, etc. But the decision to include these features, and to what extent, is based on whether they support the creative writing process. Indeed, I believe some reasonable level of support for publishing features is useful.

Word processors may be desirable when finalizing your manuscript for submission, but until then, PieceWorx Writing Studio provides an environment tailored specifically for novelists and other creative writers for maximum simplicity and creativity.


PieceWorx Writing Studio is designed with the idea that you will start up the program at the beginning of a writing session and close it at the end. This is not a requirement, but several features are designed around this notion. A session is defined as the time from when you open the program to the time you close it. Session monitoring calculates the duration and word count since you opened the program. Also, session statistics can be automatically displayed upon closing the program so you can see the duration and word count for your session.

Additionally, all of your layout settings, preferences and the current notebook file are preserved between sessions so that when you open the program you can pick up right where you left off. Automatic backup can be configured to backup every time the program is closed so that closing the program at the end of each session ensures a backup associated with that session.

Closing the program at the end of each writing session is also a good idea if you write on multiple computers and share the file over Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox or Google Drive. Closing the program reminds you to save your recent work, but also prevents the possibility of syncing issues which can occur if you leave the program open and make changes on a different machine. PieceWorx Writing Studio will warn you when it detects that your notebook file has changed since the last time it was opened and gives you the opportunity to cancel, overwrite or save with a different file name so you don't lose any changes.

Right-click menus

You will notice that PieceWorx Writing Studio has no top menu bar. All typical menu items can be found in right-click context menus.

You will notice that items near the bottom of the context menus are more general and used less frequently, whereas items near the top of the menus change based upon context. For example, when you right-click in the editor, the topmost items in the context menu will be editor actions. Items associated with a different context like the Notebook tab will not be visible.

More general menu items such as Settings will always be available toward the bottom of the menu regardless of the specific context where you opened the menu.


Hotkey Reference

PieceWorx Writing Studio was designed so that all but a very few actions could be performed without the mouse. It is very friendly to those of us who enjoy hotkey shortcuts. Most actions, layout changes, format changes and dialog windows can be controlled by hotkeys.

When you are learning the program, you will no doubt use the mouse to explore various features. Take note of the hotkey hints found in the right-click context menus and in tooltips when hovering over a button. This should make it easy to learn hotkeys for the actions where you find them most useful.

When assigning hotkeys we attempted to preserve common standards for Windows programs. For example, Ctrl+S saves, Ctrl+C copies, Ctrl+P prints, etc.

However, we have implemented a few additional guidelines which, if you know them, will help you to remember hotkey sequences.

Layout hotkeys

Hotkey sequences which control layout generally begin with Ctrl+Shift+Alt. See the hotkey reference page for more layout hotkey combinations.

Window related hotkeys

Hotkey sequences which control the opening or movement of windows will generally begin with the Alt key.


Many different themes can be applied to PieceWorx Writing Studio depending on your mood or other preferences, giving you a great deal of flexibility in the ambience of your work environment.

Different themes will assign different colors or textures to user interface elements. These changes apply to windows, frames, tabs and the editor window itself, including the text color and background color.

Some writers prefer a white background with black text, others a black background with chartreuse text.

Applying color themes to the editor window has the side effect that custom font highlight colors cannot be supported because they would be changed when you change your theme. As a result, we do not currently support highlighting of text with custom colors.

If you wish to mark or highlight a section of text, this can still be done using other font formatting techniques such as underline, italics, bold, font style or font size.


The only way to complete a novel is one piece at a time.

Not only that, it's a good idea to break any large project into many smaller pieces. It helps organization and motivation, but it also optimizes the use of PieceWorx Writing Studio for the most flexibility and best performance.

Specifically, consider creating several pages in your notebook, perhaps one for each chapter in each draft. You can imagine a hierarchy of pages which might look something like this: The most important aspect of this outline structure is that your chapters, the pages you will eventually be merging, are at the same level in the outline.

Specifically, all of the Chapter pages are siblings in the outline. Right-clicking on Final Draft would present you with a merge option which would allow you to merge all chapters into a single document for your final, complete work.

If you don't start out with this type of structure, that's OK, you may find that something different works better for you. Besides it's always easy to copy pages and move things around.