A few posts back I mentioned my intent to start plotting my next novel. Being the non-plotter than I am, I devised a somewhat complicated albeit colorful method for figuring out all the 'what happens next' of my manuscript.
Then I got some wonderful comments from all of you. You people are fabulous!
I was reminded to check into Scrivener (something I had looked at previously but dismissed in a wash of pantsing). So I decided to check it out again. One thing can be said for Scrivener...it's pretty. All the fancy buttons and note cards that look like real note cards on the screen. The geek in my cheered. But I couldn't pull the trigger.
Forty dollars is not a crazy price to pay for some software that has the potential to make my writing life vastly improved. I don't have anything against paying for software either. Just like writers, programmers gotta pay the bills, too. But here's my thing. If I buy the software and then don't use it, it will haunt me. Spending money. Fine. Wasting money. The epicest* of all fails.
So then I found this fancy website. www.alternativeto.net. It's amaze-balls. You can type in any program you're interested in and it tells you where to find free-ware versions. Please note that freeware doesn't mean someone copied the software and is now pirating it. Freeware is legitimate software created by folks who just like to share stuff with people. Think of it as a free ebook. Happy dance!
On this fabulous new website I found yWriter**. This little gem was created by a programmer who is also a novelist. So he gets what is really needed and what's just something flashy that will become a distraction.
I started outlining my next book and so far I love it. I can input scenes with as much or little detail as I want. Then put them into chapters and move them around as I like. I can type the scene right into the software and then easily save to my computer or a thumb drive.
My favorite feature so far is the timeline. I can tell the program how many words the whole project should be and then input the date I expect to complete the first draft (or second, or third, your choice). The system then tells me how many words I need to write every day. If I don't hit that goal, the timeline automatically adjust to spread the extra words across my remaining days.
It also has some other cool features. One I'll need to play with is the synopsis feature. Using the general notes you enter for each scene, the program compiles them into a single document. Obviously, you'd never send this off to an agent as it is. But for those of us who hate writing these, it's a great place to start.
I'll let you know if I continue to use the software as the project continues. For now I'm continuing to plod through the plotting process.
*epicest is not a real word. However, it should be.
**yWriter is only for PCs operating on a Windows or Linux system. The programmer actually recommends you use Scrivener if you have a Mac.