I barely remember what writing was like before I started using Scrivener, one of my favorite tools of the trade. Before Scrivener, all I had was Word – which is to say, words on a page. Moving things around – changing the order of paragraphs, scenes, and especially chapters – was confusing. And keeping track of changes? As they say in Jersey, fuhgeddaboudit.

It’s all so much easier now with Scrivener. I can write full chapters, or divide chapters up into individual scenes. I give them titles that help me remember what each is about, so if I find the story would benefit from moving a scene or even a whole chapter to another part of the book, I can easily find it and drag it to the desired location within my manuscript.

Another “visual aid” is creating “index cards” (like in the example shown below) that describe the scene or chapter, making it even easier to find or move within the larger manuscript.

A while ago, fellow writer and friend, Patricia Paine, shared a great idea for collecting inspiration. She suggested I clip from magazines, or print from the Internet, pics and images that would inform or inspire my work-in-progress (WIP)…faces, places, even clothing my characters would wear or cars they would drive. I thought: How much easier would it be to write a scene or describe a place with an image in front of me? I mean, what a great idea, right? With Scrivener, I can do that and so much more. (Another hat tip to Pat: Her idea also inspired me to create the “characters” section on my home page that allows you to get sort of an “author’s eye view” of how I picture my characters as I’m writing. Soon I’ll add images of locations in the book and some other visual goodies!)

But back to Scrivener…

The best part is that it’s so darn inexpensive there is just no reason not to start using it right now – no matter where you may be in your writing. Here’s a link to all the details and lots of screen shots for my fellow PC users who might be considering an organized, easier, and more productive way to write.

My daughter, the urban fantasy writer, is a Mac user and swears by Scrivener, as well. If you use a Mac, click the image below to see if Scrivener is for you.

Scrivener Screenshot