Thursday, April 21, 2011

S is for...

Sue Grafton.

Does this blogging challenge make anyone else think of her alphabet mysteries, starring Kinsey Millhone? I really enjoy her series and I'm hoping she makes it all the way to "Z." I don't actually know if she's written anything outside of Kinsey and the alphabet mysteries, but a quick search on Amazon would reveal the answer to that, eh? One cool thing about the books is she keeps them accurate to the time frame her books are set in, so though it was started a couple decades ago, I think, the books all closely follow the one before date-wise, and she keeps the information true to that time. For example, there aren't cell phones. (Rock on. I personally miss a time where people didn't converse on the phone in movie theaters or at the dinner table at a restaurant. Call me crazy...).

S is also for...


If you write, and you haven't heard of Scrivener, you should check it out:

Basically, Scrivener is a program that not only allows you to use it as a word processor, but also allows you to organize your various projects. The setup in a particular work is like a binder with section dividers. I'm able to be writing in one section and click on one of the other sections to make a change. I have character tabs, future plot tabs, deleted sections tabs, research and notes tabs, et cetera. When you switch between those tabs, it saves your spot in the other tab. You can toggle back and forth without losing text or data, just like flipping through a binder.

There's also a way to have major plot points, characters or whatever you want split up into index cards on a virtual bulletin board within the software. I find it very helpful for keeping track of continuity and details I may want to come back through and look for or refer to down the line.

I haven't used the program to its fullest, at this point, because I was hot to trot on getting my novel going and didn't want to spend the time to learn the program beyond the basics. However, it has worked just fine for me that way, without having spent that time, which means it is pretty user friendly.

One aspect that I have not used, but I'm aware of, is the ability to take a snapshot of your manuscript, screenplay or whatever you're writing. You can take this snapshot and it will save the manuscript as it is at that moment, even when you go on to edit it. Should you make a big change and decide you don't like it, you can restore from a snapshot.

You can also upload images, and I believe sound files and video files, but you'd have to check on those last two.

The program has a free trial of 30 days, I believe. I personally think it's an awesome program and worth the money. I do have to say, though, that it is only for Mac at this time, but they are working on getting a Windows version out. My laptop runs on Windows, but my computer downstairs is a Mac. I only use the Mac for writing. I do know someone who is beta testing the Windows Scrivener, so hopefully they'll have it out very soon. I can't wait to be able to open my writing on whichever machine I want to work on that day (they have stated they will be compatible)!

Though it's currently for Mac, you can export a version of your project in .doc format. I know there are other formats, as well, but I haven't used those, so they don't spring to mind. I export the document to .doc and then email it to myself as a backup, and so I can work with it on my laptop. Sounds complicated, but it really isn't. You can also import a version into the program from .doc, so you can technically go back and forth, but I just did all my work on that computer and dealt with it there, because it was easier to concentrate in my office than upstairs with all the distractions.

S is also for...

Super Awesome Award in Triplicate!

Thank you to Ani over at Anime's Musings for the Versatile Blogger Award! Ani does some great blogging about writing, so check her blog out. Thank you again, Ani!

I figure posting about Scrivener is my helpful link for this one. Ani also has some manner of application on her page that I need to hunt down that keeps track of progress on one's novel. I think it's related to NaNoWriMo. It looks like a cool way to keep track of your progress, at least as an estimate since you can't know your actual word count ahead of time (except during NaNoWriMo, of course).

Do you have any other programs or applications writers might find helpful? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Writing!


  1. I've never read a Sue Grafton mystery. I should put her on my list at some point.

    I've heard of Scrivener but I'm a PC girl so I've never used it. I don't tend to use writing apps because I don't want to take the time to learn something new. Maybe some day...

  2. I've been thinking about giving scrivener a go, although the beta version for pc has quite a few options missing so I'm going to wait until they produce a final version. Sounds good though. I use writer's cafe a lot because it has a virtual pin board and index cards too, which is really useful for planning out storylines.

    Moody Writing

  3. I, too, have never read Sue Grafton, but I will most definitely add her to my list to read!

    Scrivener sounds incredible! Alas, I write on a PC with Windows, but if they get that version soon, I'll definitely give it a shot! For now, I keep everything in separate folders, with character charts and pictures and bits and pieces of dialogue and...

    Hmm. Maybe I should get a Mac? LOL

  4. Scrivener sounds pretty cool! I'm dowloading the PC Beta version as I type this comment...

  5. I really want Scivener, but I've only got Windows so I have to wait... But one day, the Precious will come to me.

  6. Gah! My PC is only 2 yrs old, so I can't justify buying a Mac. Will have to continue to use my actual binder, notecards and yellow tablet. In the meantime, perhaps if I inadvertently left my PC on the front seat of my car in full view...

  7. Stopping by through the A-Z challenge. :) Great post! I'll have to check both of them out.

  8. M.J., she goes in order. I think the first is A is for Alibi or something like that. Kinsey was sort of a kick *ss gal before they became the in thing. I understand the not wanting to learn something new when you could be writing.

    Mood, I haven't heard of Writer's Cafe. I'll have to check it out for the laptop.

    Alyssia, LOL! I'm really hoping the PC version isn't too far out.

    Milo, I hope you like it! If you check back, I hope you'll let me know what you thought.

    Misha, LOL. Hopefully you'll get the preciousssss soon.

    Li, they'd probably think it was a trick. "Hmmm, there's no way someone would just leave their PC in the car like that. Do you see any cameras?"

    Loki, good to hear from you!

    Beth, thanks for stopping by!

  9. I am still learning to use Scrivener. I started a novel in March using it and once I'm done with the other novel draft, I will go back to that one. Great post for the S day.

  10. Oh Scrivener sounds amazing, I wish I had a Mac. Here's hoping they will bring the PC version out soon.

    I hadn't thought of Sue Grafton with the A-Z, but you're so right! I'm kind of amazed she has made it as far into the alphabet as she has, I hope she makes it to Z as well.

    Happy Weekend!