Last night I downloaded the trial version of Scrivener and went through the very lengthy but mildly entertaining tutorial. Then I started fiddling. A day later I have a huge and growing character list with descriptions, a few settings drawn out, and an entire novel outlined with chapter synopses written.
Oh my goodness, I love this program. When I wrote my first manuscript I wrote it start to finish, no outline to speak of until I was halfway through writing it and finally knew where I wanted it to go (and where it wanted to go, frankly). The thought of conceiving of an entire novel and outlining each scene struck me as very difficult. Maybe impossible for me, despite the fact that I’m a fairly organized person (stop laughing, Mom). Hence, though the program sounded intriguing, it also sounded daunting and pedantic.
But here I sit, book one of a series completely outlined and waiting to be written. Books 2-4 have been loosely sketched out (like we’re talking major plot arcs, nothing detailed). And I feel great about it.
If you’ve never given Scrivener a try, I urge you to check it out. You can try it free for 30 days (non-consecutive, meaning 30 real days whether taken all at once or stretched out over 10 years) and it’s only $40 to buy. A super cheap tool to help you get your story organized (or organised as they, being British, would spell it) and get yourself a large part of the way down the road to having actually written out that book.
It has a ton of features to help you, including tools to organize and access your research; format your work depending on what it is (nonfiction, novel, screenplay, short story, etc.); track characters, themes, and keywords; and tons more I can’t remember because that tutorial was so dang long.
Still unconvinced? Joanna Penn wants you to use it too.