Getting Started

From Liquid Story Binder Wiki

Before you begin: Just remember the immortal words of the first page of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:


Opening LSB XE for the first time can be intimidating. Even tech-experienced users can find it confusing. The very thing that makes LSB so powerful--its flexibility--can make it a little tricky to learn, but once you've grasped the essential basics, it becomes a highly-usable tool.

The most essential concept, which is not conveyed clearly in the User Manuals, is that Titles (like the Title of a chapter, or the Title of a Storyboard), basically function as links to content. Not hyperlinks, but a linking mechanism just the same. The developer refers to this concept as " association." What this means, in practice, is that once you've created a chapter, (we'll call it "Hound of the Baskervilles," for the sake of practice, which is a chapter in the LSB Example book), whenever you use that identical title in any other location, it will link to the already-created chapter.

To see how this concept works, open the LSB Example Book and use the "create" menu to create a new storyboard (or open the sample storyboard), which you may name anything you like.

  • Then, in the storyboard, using the menu, create an individual storyboard card by selecting "Items," "Insert Items," (you can also do this by using CTRL-Insert).
  • Next, create a Title for the new storyboard card, either by double-clicking the text content area (beneath the image space--you'll see a text popup that says "Title"), or by using the menus, Content->Title->Change Content Title.
  • Name this Title "Hound of the Baskervilles," exactly as it is typed as the name of the sample chapter. Tab or select "Finished!" to set the Title.
  • Then double-click the storyboard card--and you'll see the Hound of the Baskervilles chapter open in front of you.
  • The two items--the storyboard and the chapter--are now linked simply by virtue of being identically-named.

In short: Chapters with the same name, although viewed via different content types (Planners, Listings, Outlines, etc.) are the same chapter. The exception to this are chapters maintained inside of Builders (please see the Builder entry for further information on this exception).

This functionality will work the same way with most content types: Planners, Listings, Storyboards, Sequences, Outlines, etc. There is one fairly notable exception, and that is the Builder Content type, as mentioned in the above paragraph.

Titles as Links to Other Content Types

Linking via Titles is a powerful mechanism and enables the correlating of different data types (like linking notes or a to-do list with a specific chapter), so that massive amounts of information can be maintained, organized, found and utilized to facilitate your creative process.

In order to provide ease of correlating data, the program uses the Chapter Titles as a mechanism to categorize all data types (chapter, checklist, outline, sequence or storyboard, etc.) by the chapter to which it belongs. This is a crucial concept to grasp, in order to fully utilize LSB.

File Association Example

As an example, let's say you have three Chapters that you've created, titled Chapter A, Chapter B and Chapter C. Additionally, you want a storyboard for each of your chapters that you can reference while you're writing the actual text for these chapters. You can automatically create a storyboard for each one of the chapters that will be associated with its correct chapter, by using "associations" from the File menu of whatever content type you have open; for the moment, let's say you're using the Planner type to create your Chapters. Select the Chapter for which you want to create a storyboard; select "File" from the horizontal menu; select "Association," (or press F2), and then select "Storyboard" from the beige menu box. You'll receive a prompt, saying "Create Storyboard for Chapter A?," and you click "Finished!" At that point, you will have created a Storyboard that relates to Chapter A, and only to Chapter A. You can create associated content types (Storyboards, Sequences, Checklists, Outlines, etc.) for each and every chapter, if you wish, and by using the Association option, you can easily keep track of those associated files and their data. To see the files associated with each chapter, simply select "View Mode" from the File Menu in the Planner Content type; as you select or highlight each Chapter, you'll see the associated files to the left of the Titles boxes. There is an excellent demonstration of this in the fourth of Rosepetal's tutorial videos, located here. [1]

You should experiment with creating associated file types, and understanding how they work, in the LSB Example Book; try creating a storyboard for "The Hound of the Baskervilles," or for "Anne of Green Gables." Please note that you do not need to actually use the "Association" menu to create associated file types; if you create an Outline, for example, from the Create menu option on the main horizontal menu bar, and name that Outline "The Hound of the Baskervilles," or any other existing chapter name, that Outline will be automatically associated with the chapter entitled "The Hound of the Baskervilles," or whichever existing chapter name you've chosen. Make sure you view the associated files that you've created via the Planner content type, using the View Mode, so you can gain an understanding of how the associated files are sorted and maintained for your use.

So, here's the concept, again: Chapter Titles are the key to the linking mechanisms that allow LSB XE to sort, maintain and organize significant amounts of data so that you can find it. If you accidentally use a title when creating a story scene card in a Storyboard that already exists as a Chapter, when you double-click on that card, the existing chapter will open; LSB will not create a duplicate chapter entry. (Again, see the Builder entry for additional information on the exception to this rule).

If it helps, you can think of Chapter Titles like Folders in a directory structure; A chapter title is essentially the Folder name, and everything that is identically named, regardless of type of data, is associated with that folder; so, continuing our analogy, and envisioning these associations as filenames and extensions, in that Folder entitled "The Hound of the Baskervilles" will be a The Hound of the Baskervilles.chapter, a The Hound of the Baskervilles.Storyboard, and so forth; as many differing content types as you create.

  • n.b. - these "extensions" don't really exist as used here; they are for explicative purposes only.

Norm's LSB 101

(Taken from Norm's enormously helpful post on the Yahoo Group)

LSB 101 - A Simple Working Plan - LSB for Dummies

How to get up and writing with LSB.
Stop chasing around LSB and get to to your writing.
Basic writing work flow:

  • Use a Planner to create and manage your scenes or chapters
  • Use Manuscript in Planner to make a manuscript to print or export
  • Use Manuscript to review Project Goals

Read this whole plan to get a bird's eye view.

Starting out:

  • Create a new binder (project file), it's best to use one binder for each new

story project

  • Open an existing binder via Library


  • Lists all your active binders
  • You can add other binders, if not on the the list
  • Binder on top of the library list opens by default
  • Move binders up and down list
  • Click on any binder on list to open it

Importing work in progress:

  • in a word processor, save file as .rtf
  • set your file up with chapter breaks or scene breaks
  • auto importing is somewhat limited, you need to research this, not overly


  • manual method, cut and paste, you have full control
  • create a Note
  • copy whole document into a Note
  • display this note file on one side of the screen
  • create a planner for chapters or scenes
  • create chapter (scene), give it a title (a file name)

from note file, select what to copy, chapter or scene paste in chapter created or opened by Planner

  • this is labour intensive but not too bad
  • the point is to get your material into LSB in a usable fashion

You can import to a Builder, but Builders files are internal files and not visible rtf files until built into a chapter (scene)

  • using this creates a little more work in subsequent steps
  • best to go with a Planner

Planning and Organization Tools: not essential for beginners

Above tools can open other tools but are not interactive, changes do not carry through, i.e. moving items about are not auto-reflected in a Planner or a Builder or a Listing.

Listing - a useful tool

  • semi-interactive, opens and manages rtf (chapter or scene) files
  • useful tool

Basic Writing Tools: (Planner and Listings)

  • use them to write your scenes or chapters
  • use them to manage your scenes or chapters
  • your primary purpose is to get up and writing as early as possible
  • the whole point is to write your story
  • this simple plan will get up there
  • learn and use the following to attain writing momentum
  • Planner and Listing are the most useful tools at the core of your writing
  • learn the bells and whistles later


  • the primary tool for your writing, chapters or scenes
  • creates visible rtf chapter files
  • displays visible rtf chapter files
  • add new visible rtf files to planner from Files Listing
  • opens rtf files for editing, rtf editor
  • changes on Planner list are not reflected on Listing list
  • management of chapters (scenes included)

write in chapters organize and move chapters about on Planner list work on chapters as a whole

  • Manuscript

joins chapters to make a printable or exportable manuscript print or export manuscript

  • management of scenes (small bits of chapters)
  • write scenes (called chapters in Planner)
  • organize and move scenes about on Planner list
  • micro-manage scenes
  • Manuscript
  • deselect chapter titles and other options, you choose
  • makes manuscript with all scenes as individual mini-chapters
  • leaves white space between items (scenes) that needs cleaning in a word


  • print or export manuscript


  • a good secondary tool
  • a semi-interactive outline
  • add rtf files, from Files Listing
  • opens rtf files for editing, rtf editor
  • to manage chapters add rtf chapter files to make a chapter list
  • to manage scenes add rtf scene files (mini-chapters) to make a scenes list
  • micro-manage scenes
  • organize and move items about on the list, changes not reflected on Planner


Manuscript, same as in Planner

  • will make a manuscript from a list of chapters
  • will make a manuscript from a list of scenes


  • create notes as repositories for supplemental information and items


  • not a necessary tool, optional
  • internal files, not visible to other tools i.e. Planner, Listing,

Files Listing

  • use it to show all your files in the binder

Support Tools: (not essential for beginners, adopt as needed)

Environment Tools:

  • Display - sets colour profiles of Binders, set fonts, etc.
  • Preference - set preferences
  • Playlists - music
  • Recordings
  • Workspaces - saves and remembers what is on screen, unlimited options


  • Can be installed and run entirely from a USB portable drive.
  • No need to install on any one or multiple computers.
  • Allows for use on any windows computer; XP, Vista, Windows 7
  • Program and files are all in one place, on the portable drive.
  • There are other ways to be portable, as well.

Variability and Flexibility of LSB

  • Most tools in LSB can be used in a variety of ways.
  • Users are free to set up LSB that works best for them.
  • Can take one away from the purpose of writing.

Difficulties with LSB:

  • Learning curve can be steep.(note: maniacal LSB-user laughing at this understatement)
  • Intimidating - too much to offer.
  • Uniquely different approach.
  • Can distract from the purpose of writing.
  • Actual writing can be usurped by trying to learn LSB.
  • Takes a while to become comfortable with LSB.
  • There is no one way to use LSB.
  • Any way that works is correct.
  • New users often initially have difficulty formulating a workable process.
  • No clear or easy starter plan or process to get up and writing.
  • Lacks a lot of interactivity between Tools.
  • A lot of manual functions but process is quick and effective.

Learning LSB:

  • Learn more
  • Watch Rosepetals1984 LSB videos on YouTube
  • Join LSB user group on Yahoo
  • Experiment to get the results you want
  • Experiment with features, make a new binder just to play with LSB features
  • Good support from creator
  • Be careful so you are not distracted from the purpose of writing

Potential and Possibilities:

  • Virtually endless
  • Virtually limitless

Other users may agree or disagree with this plan. The whole point is to get to your writing ASAP. You can easily be sidetracked in LSB. Get to writing fast by using the basic essential tools, i.e Planner, Listings Add other tools and features as needed. I spent weeks going around in circles in LSB and not writing.

To write, write, write, write is the primary purpose.

Offered by Norm (norm301y)