program published by Microsoft
in 1993. It was intended for younger users and sought to go beyond basic word processing
and text formatting
. It focused on more than text documents, enabling users to create greeting card
s, and so on.
Creative Writer is set in Imaginopolis, a fictional city where everything centers around creativity and the creative arts. The user's guide (of sorts) to Imaginopolis is McZee, a purple lizard-like creature with a seemingly endless supply of ridiculous costumes. McZee can get reasonably annoying after a while, especially after the user has developed a decent feel for the program and he keeps explaining everything. Fortunately, he can be told to go away.
Once the user has 'signed in' with their individual profile, he or she is 'brought' to the Creative Writer Building (the Library). It has four floors (and a basement that serves no real purpose).
All other areas of the building are accessible through the lobby. This is its only purpose. Users can access other floors through the elevator or the fire pole. For the record, it's generally easier to get to your level of choice by control-clicking the floor you wish to visit from the building's exterior.
The Writing Studio
This is basically a word processor with some nifty features. Much like Microsoft Word, users can create word art, process text, and add clip art to their documents. Users can also create and add sounds to documents for increased effect, as well as use text effects to make text blink, sparkle, or shimmer.
Individual documents can also be password protected. Another of the Writing Studio's handy tools automatically places small images next to the appropriate words.
The Project Workshop
Here, users can choose to create banners, greeting cards or newspapers. They have the choice of working with templates or starting from scratch. The creative geniuses at Microsoft chose to make the names of the projects (and the method by which the users choose which one to undertake) more 'interesting' and created some of the corniest animal puns in history. I thought names like Moosepaper, Banneroceros and Cardvark were cheesy when I was eight. Then again, some people might find them clever. I don't know.
The Idea Workshop
The fourth floor of the Creative Writer building consists of two bizarre contraptions: the Splot Machine and the Picture Window. The Splot Machine is a database of subects, predicates and locations, which it randomly strings together in order to provide sentences for potential stories. The Picture Window displays random pictures that were included with the program. If a user finds a sentence or picture that they particularly like, they can copy it to the Idea Notebook (which is accessible at all times while creating something) or send it straight to a document in order to work with it.
Other features found throughout the program are the Joke Book (random attempts at humour) and the Magic Wand (which performs some actions that the regular cursor can't).
Creative Writer is compatible with its sister program, Fine Artist.
In addition to McZee, there's also another 'guide' to the program. Max, a young boy who aspires to be a professional writer, helps the user out in several places. He appears almost exclusively in Creative Writer. His counterpart, Maggie, has a similar role in Fine Artist.
Another one of the 'characters' is Spike. Spike is a dog. He takes care of retrieving, saving, and 'recycling' files.
Overall, Creative Writer is probably best suited to kids, though its preformatted templates are helpful for anyone looking to make cards or banners. Besides, the clip art is fun.