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Tools of the Trade

Good morning friends!

Writing has been in existence long before paper and ink, and now that those tools are less productive than others available, will be around long after they fade into obscurity.  Today I'm talking about the software I use.

When I started seriously writing, I used Scrivener.  I was starting NaNoWriMo, and they had a free version to use during the month of November, so I thought, "Why not?"  And I am so glad that I downloaded it.   Scrivener is a software that allows you to word process in outline form.
You can create an outline before starting or add chapters as you go, leave the outline open in the side bar while you create your body of text, make notes in a separate column, have two different panes of text open at once, create versions of your story, and store your research all in one place.  Once you are done with your writing you can compile it into a manuscript in nearly any format you can imagine.  As a new writer, and having been bit by the planning bug (though, in hindsight, not nearly hard enough,) this was intuitive to me.  It made perfect sense.  And when I saw my fellow WriMo's writing in MS Word, or Google Docs I felt sorry for them. How did they jump between scenes to check back on an event they were referencing without having to scroll for an eternity?  How were they motivated without the little pop-up wordcount bar to urge them on?  How many documents had they created to keep all of their research for their book straight?  If they experienced these struggles, they never expressed them to me.  But after having used Scrivener, I doubt I could go back happily.  (If you are a NaNoWriMo winner, you should have access to a code for a significant discount!)

This year for Christmas I received a Chromebook, which runs off a web-based OS, so, basically, you have to be connected to the internet to do anything.  This is good, because wifi is swiftly becoming ubiquitous, and I can always tether off of my phone if I need to.  There is no need to pay an exorbitant price for a computer with a name-brand operating system when everything I would want to do I can do online for the cost of my connection.  However, it also means that I can't use Scrivener to write.  I have to use Google Docs or find something else.  

Enter Scriptito.  This is a web-based program which not only allows you to write and save in the cloud, but also has (nearly) all the important aspects that I like about Scrivener.  I can set up an outline and edit it as I go, leave it open while I write, and save my research in one place.  I can compile my text and save it in a number of formats.  AND it's free.
There are some down-sides.  There is no pop-up wordcount bar, and you can't have more than one pane of text open at once, although you can have them open as tabs and toggle through.  There is also a limit to the amount of storage space you have.  For example, at 50, 505 words I have used 8MB or 4% of my allotted storage space, which really isn't bad.

Scriptito also has a neat reading section, where you can read selections from Project Gutenberg as well as works by other Scriptito users.  (Your work is not default-shared, this is something you choose to do separately.)


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