Friday, July 24, 2009

Writing Software

A year or so ago I was reading a blog by a published author (Holly Lisle), and she said she was using a software package called Scrivener for her writing. It sounded rather exciting. It allowed you to create virtual "note cards" with ideas for your chapters, which you could then expand upon and grow into your actual story. So I excitedly went to the website to download it, only to discover it only worked on a Mac. Well a year later I'm happily working on my new MacBook Pro which I had purchased a month or two prior when I remembered Scrivener. Five minutes later I had it downloaded and installed.

After working with it a couple of months I can't imagine writing without it. I copied and pasted my entire manuscript for Noah Zarc into it for editing. It has a couple views for different tasks. An "Outline" view that allows me to see every chapter, and every scene in the chapter with a short synopsis of each displayed. This is great for locating key areas in the story to add in new scenes, allowing me to flesh out a sub plot I'm adding to the story. The other view is "Corkboard" with the aformentioned note cards. It allows me to instantly see each scene and drag and drop those scenes in different orders. This has been invaluable as I begin to layout the plot ideas for Noah Zarc book two.

The built in help system is a bit lacking. It took me days to figure out how to get the chapter numbers and titles to print out when I exported it. (all you had to do was turn off both Outline and Corkboard views.) Also the Search and Replace tools could be a bit more robust.

I know I haven't scratched the surface with what it can do. But overall I am extremely happy with it.

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