November 6, 2010

Drink espresso and open Scrivener

This is an image from Scrivener 2.0, the best writing software in the world.  For years it was only available for Mac users, and I understand the latest version, which just came out a week or two ago, only runs on the latest Mac O/S, not earlier versions.  If you're on a PC, the good news is they're coming out with a PC version this month, I believe.

That's my motto in the title: "Drink espresso and open Scrivener".  It's the only thing I have to do to start writing.  Truly.  Even on days when I feel useless and I'm convinced I can't write, if I make myself that cup of espresso and click on the Scrivener icon, I'm soon writing.  (I suspect there's magic involved.)

It's a great program, very fluid.  It lets you write how you want, turning the text into clay that you can move around at will.  It's simple to try different scene orders, and then see them as one block of text.  This can be eye-opening (and I've permanently changed the order of scenes like this; it was so easy).

Or you can view a selection of scenes as one large block of text (say, all the scenes with a particular character in them).  This is surprisingly refreshing -- for me, it opened doors that I would have never noticed.  It's one of the best features of the program.  But there's so much more.

You can view your work as titles and summaries on a corkboard, or look at it as files within a chapter structure.  One of the most heroic features is that it saves every few seconds without the writer having to do anything.  This rescued me during several electrical outages.  I didn't lose one word!  It's a writer's best friend.

And when you're done, you can output it any way you want.  It will help you create the manuscript you need for submissions, and you can also output it to ePub, Kindle and other formats.  This is tremendously helpful to me when I give my stuff out to readers.  We have three Sony Readers in the family and I use all of them to give copies of the book to readers.   It's simple and it saves paper.  (My last manuscript was over 400 pages.)

This is my primary writing tool.  If it sounds interesting, you can download a version immediately from Literature and Latte and it's only 45 bucks.  A bargain at any price, as I'm sure you'll agree if you try it.  Plus Keith, the designer, is highly available by email to answer any questions you may have when you actually use it.  He's a pleasure to deal with.  (And no, though both our names are Keith, I have no connection with the product other than using it.)

Tools of the trade.  This is one of them.

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