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Tools of the Trade

April 7th, 2012 Matt Leave a comment Go to comments
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Do you have a favourite pen? Did it make writing more fun?

I recently gave in and downloaded the Scrivener demo (a generous demo of thirty days – that’s thirty days of actual use, not thirty days from when you first turn it on). It’s a great program you should definitely try and I plan to rework my WIP using it.

One thing I’m noticing when fiddling with Scrivener is not how useful it is (although it is), but how fun it is. Using a well-designed application can be fun, something that is oft overlooked. And I think a lot of us could do with having the writing process made more fun for us.

Scrivener corkboard feature

That's the Corkboard feature right there. Very handy.

It’s similar to the feeling I got when learning about Inform 7. It can be a joy – almost a game – using a tool that’s specifically designed for a task. Maybe it is simply the gamer in me, seeing the mechanics of a thing, and how its different elements interlock and complement each other.

Who knows, but what I do know is that the interface with which we, the writers, interact with our work can be important. No, it’s not the be all and end all, but it can still make all the difference. The difference between having a poor structure, or one that flows easily, thanks to the planning the corkboard offers; the difference between a focussed scene or a rambling one, thanks to the scene synopsis flash card being on screen all the time (if you want it to); or just the difference between writing one day and not, because it’s fun!

So over the next few writing sessions I will be finishing off the tutorial (I thought I was being a bit anal by going through the tutorial so thoroughly, but there are a few nice little features in there I would otherwise have missed), and then putting my current WIP into Scrivener. It needs reworking, and Scrivener’s corkboard is the thing to do it I think.

But here’s what I really want to know. Do you have a writing tool that makes it more fun to write? What’s your favourite? Even if it’s just a pen (“just” – those things are mightier than swords, you know!) let us know.

Useful Links

  • Scrivener
  • Scrivener 30 day trial
  • Inform 7 – interactive fition authoring tool
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