Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Exploring Scrivener for Windows

With one book being edited by a publisher and another being scrutinized by my agent, I need to be working on something, so I'm embarking on a new book project, one that I've been thinking about for a while. In my head, at least, it's a jumble of past and present, part historical, part contemporary, and that's going to involve two story lines plus two casts of characters. Complicated. So it struck me that I need to be a bit more organized as I approach this one than I was the last one.

Enter Scrivener for Windows, a program that I think is going to be a big help. I've done a preliminary outline with sketches of what each chapter will contain. I've done a list of characters for each of the two threads (color coded!) and have begun sketches for each of the characters. I've been doing research on the setting and history of the story's primary location, and have taken notes. And all of that is in easy-to-manage files within the program. I've even started finding photos of my characters and have pasted them into the program. I like the idea of being able to see pictures of the characters on the screen while I'm writing.

One thing I think I'm really going to like is the notecard feature. Right now each of my chapters has a notecard (or cluster of notecards) and they are tacked to a corkboard screen. The cards are color coded depending on whether the chapter takes place in the past or the present. But because I'm not sure yet in what sequence I want the chapters to appear, I'm especially pleased that I can move TEXT around by simply reordering the cards. Eventually, when I have things in the right order and have written all the chapters, I can export the text to a Word file for further processing and formatting. But I envision that being a fairly late stage of the game.

Scrivener for Windows is currently in Beta. It's release is supposed to be sometime in November, at which point I'll need to buy the program, but I think it will be worth it.

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