Yesterday on a Facebook page for writers, we had a discussion about a piece of software that has not been available to Windows users until now. As a long-time MAC fan, I have always recommended Scrivener as the answer to a writer's prayer, and I did so again in The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese. Here's a section of that article that lured one reader to give it a try:
"Now that Scrivener is available for both MAC and Windows, I can’t imagine anyone needing anything else. It’s an endlessly versatile program that manages to keep almost every item of the book-writing process in one spot.
"There’s a section for research, which can hold notes, pictures, maps, and “messages-to-self.” I keep lots of pictures there, so that when I am writing about a particular location or character, I can open a picture and keep it on my screen while I write. That adds detail to my descriptions and saves me from making silly mistakes about things like what you can see from a front porch or whether a character sports a mustache.
"In fact, it has a whole section for character sketches. You can ﬁll out their questions about each of your characters, deﬁning their back story, their foibles, their nervous quirks, their speech impediments, their hair and eye color, their family relationships—whatever is important to deﬁne the character. Then while you are writing, it is easy to click on a character name in the left-hand column and jump to a description.
"Scrivener provides a separate template for locations, too, where you can record thing like vegetation, wildlife, smells, sounds. Is your location overgrown with vegetation? You’ll need to list what kinds of things grow there. Are bugs important to your story, as they may be for mine? Then you can add their descriptions here. My location ﬁles have picture, of course, but also descriptions of the smell of pluff mud and the clicking sound palmetto bugs make as they stomp across a wood ﬂoor.
Do you write in chapters or in scenes? Scrivener offers you both options, and once you have all the parts in place, it can put the entire manuscript together for you—in the right order, with chapter numbers. Are you used to working with index cards? Scrivener can display your material in that format, with little cards tacked to a virtual corkboard. You can color code the cards, and you can move them about as you would if you were tacking them to a wall. I used this feature to outline all the chapters of The Road to Frogmore. Need more or less writing space? Stretch it out or shrink it. Want a blank screen with nothing but your words ﬁlling the screen in front of you? You can do that, too."
Disclaimer: I have no connection to this company and have not received anything in exchange for my positive review. I just really like their product.