Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Awesome Tool for Writers

Someone asked me the other day how I keep track of my story ideas, plot lines, and research.  If you have ever tried to write anything more than a short story, keeping tabs on how all of that is going can be difficult.  When I wrote my first three books, I worked completely in Pages from the Apple iWork suite.  Although Pages is great for straight writing, it does not work well for outlining plots, gathering research, and etc.  At the time, I had a bad habit of simply writing whatever came to mind, and allowing the story to take shape as I went.  This method works to a certain degree, but what often happens is you add something later in the story that requires you to go back and rewrite large chunks of what you already had written.  When I started writing my third book, Synchronicity, I felt like I needed some additional organization.  There was a lot of research that I had to do, and I was finding it difficult to keep it all organized in a manner that was useful.  The plot lines for the new book were more intricate and less linear than what I had written before, so keeping track of what was going on became a challenge.  So, I went trolling the internet to find something to help me.  

Now comes the plug.  First, let me say that I am not getting paid to plug this software.  I just wanted to say how helpful it has been, and recommend it to any other writers who are reading this.  I found an application called Scrivener, which has become an essential tool with my writing.  It is from a company called Literature and Latte, and is available for both Mac and Windows.  Scrivener has become my complete writing studio.  It contains a virtual corkboard where I can hang virtual index cards.  It has full-featured outlining, which helps me take control of my plot lines.  I can take snapshots of my work so that I don't lose anything during revisions.  It even provides an area where I can capture all of my research, all within my project.  That is just a few of the features that it has.  I only scratched the surface when I was writing Synchronicity, and I've been slowly using more features as I work on my new book.  

If there is one thing that I wish Scrivener had it would be a version for the iPad, but they are apparently working on that.

So, there is my shameless plug for Scrivener.  If you are a writer, and you're looking for a tool to help organize your chaos, definitely take a look at Scrivener.  If you're not a writer, than you can just disregard this post.

Scrivener from Literature and Latte

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