The one about Writing Tools

I am following a couple writing blogs here and also via Google+ and one of the recent subject of conversation was: what do you use to write?

I thought I’d share what I use and like with my writing ideas, I am a little scattered here as I use several different tools:

I have a plethora of notebooks and always make sure I have at least one in my bag in case I get an idea on the bus or I have five minutes whilst waiting for a friend. I use my notebook in several ways: I jot down ideas, I write whole scenes or synopsis for a new story and I stick pictures in for inspirations. I find that if I have a picture or drawing to refer to when I want to describe something, it helps me a lot. Of course I make small changes here and there as it doesn’t always match my overall idea of what a character or a setting looks like.

Then I also use Google Drive…I have a gazillions files at the moment because every time I have a new idea, I create a new document. I have created some folders for each idea and each has subfolders as such:

  • 00- Goals/Objectives/Deadlines : this is where I keep the synopsis, breakdowns of the story, overall goals etc)
  • 01- Characters : I keep a master sheet with all the character and their overall role, Major character sheets and minor/recurring characters sheets
  • 02- Maps/Settings: it’s all about the world my characters live in, what are the rules: physical, religion, social, politics etc…
  • 03- Scenes : when I create a scene for that particular story, it goes there ; and finally
  • 04- Research: any link, photos, bits of information that I use to help with my story goes there

When I create a scene that doesn’t fit any of my existing stories, I plop it in a folder called “Randoms” in the hope that at some point I’ll be able to use them somewhere.

For the moment, I am able to keep track because not of my stories go really far. I have this problem of starting strong and then I fizzle out because I have no idea what my characters want and then a new idea forms and I start again. I know, I know, I have to pick one and really run with it and see where it goes but what can I say? I am fickle and it is what I need to work on.

I have, however, seen loads of comments about using writing software. The top choice seems to be Scrivener but all the reviews seem to hint that it’s better on a Mac (and I can’t afford one of those) and I am not ready to spend $40 on a software that I am not sure I am going to need. Also, my laptop is currently on its last leg (still on Windows Vista) and it’s so slow that I usually spend at least half an hour cursing at it when I power it up…I know I have to buy a new one and I think getting a paying software before I upgrade would be silly.
I have in the last few days read about a free software (I like the sound of that, thank you very much) which is Windows specific and designed by a computer programmer who is also a writer. It’s called yWriter and I have downloaded it at the weekend. It’s still early days and I think it takes a little time to get used to but if you have a big story and lots of scenes to track or characters etc, I think that a good cheap alternative before you decide you are really serious about it and want to invest in something more flashy. A friend of mine also use Snowflake but if you don’t want to fork out $40 for Scrivener, then I guess the $100 for Snowflake won’t hit the mark either – by the way, apologies for putting all the prices in dollars, it appears that the software are only available from American sites.

So what about you?


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