What is your favorite Mac flowchart software
Software for drawing plot structure diagrams
Secespitus' response and ChrisW's suggestion to look for flowchart software brought me to these questions and answers and to the desktop version of draw.io.
I quickly installed this software and tried to recreate the hand drawn diagram from my question. It took me about half an hour to draw and label the first five points from this table:
Last night it took me half an hour to draw the entire first draft of the diagram (which is twice the size pictured) but then this was my first half hour in draw.io, and if you consider me was completely unfamiliar with software and had never used any other flowchart software before. You can see how simple and straightforward this software is to use. Also, I will certainly work faster as I become familiar with the software, and once I start making changes to the diagram (rather than redrawing everything by hand), I will have to spend more time creating the first version of a diagram will likely pay off.
Of course, when you work with flowchart software of any kind, there is a risk that you are trying to embellish your diagram. If you draw by hand you will likely be satisfied with a rough sketch, but if you are creating any type of graphic in any type of software you might be tempted to waste a lot of time on colors, shapes, sizes, positioning, etc. to experiment. and choice of words. It happened to me, and about half the time it took me to create this little diagram was spent moving the labels around to make the layout look better.
After this brief attempt, I am almost put off by the relative slowness of creating the first version of the diagram. As you can see, I didn't finish the diagram because I didn't like the process. Pen and paper are infinitely more intuitive and easier to use for me, and I'm not sure I really want to select a dashed line from an options menu instead of just drawing the strokes. If I use the software more often and change my mind (and workflow), I'll update this answer.
Draw.io is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and online. Draw.io is open source and all versions are free.
I also installed yEd (see Secespitus' answer for more details) and recreated the same part of my original diagram:
It took me about the same amount of time, and the two software's handling was very similar. They have some differences, but none that I've found clearly to prefer one application over the other (for current purpose and after such a brief attempt).
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