I’ve been asked about fiction writing tools, so I’ll make this quick, and tell you what I use. Keep in mind that I’m a full time writer, and have been for years. I need tools which help me to get organized, and stay organized. If you’re a brand new writer, start off with Scrivener. You can do almost everything in Scrivener; you can get other tools as you need them.
1. VoodooPad: Magic for Organization and Creativity.
VoodooPad is a wiki, like Wikipedia in a sense, but instead of living on the Web, it’s an app on your Mac. Only you get to use it. You can create as many VoodooPad documents as you like, and each VoodooPad document is made up of pages. Initially, I worried about file size for VoodooPad docs, but some of my documents are several gigs in size. They’re still as speedy as they ever were.
Like a wiki, you create links in a document, leading to other pages. Type two words together like “MustDo” and VoodooPad makes the combo word a link. Click on the link, and VoodooPad creates a MustDo page for you. In that page, you can create other links leading to other pages. Although it sounds complicated, talking about it takes more time than doing it.
Don’t worry about organization. You have a “home” page, which is your index. However, most of my index pages in VoodPad documents only contain a few references to links. You can locate other material via the Search function, the Pages drawer, and via Collections.
I love VoodooPad for fiction. I create a new VoodooPad document for each series and serial part-work I create, to act as the “Bible” for that line of books. I dump everything in the document: notes about plot, character, settings, a daily writing journal (for weeping and wailing and counting words)…
Previously, I kept all this material in the Research section of the book’s, or series’, Scrivener document, but I prefer VoodooPad for all extraneous material.
2. Curio: Helps You to Think.
Although you can keep images and PDFs in both Scrivener and VoodooPad, I prefer Curio as a visual organizer. I use it to store book cover images, Amazon descriptions and keywords, and brainstorms. A couple of series I’m ghostwriting are historical, so I keep images of character dress, houses of the time, and reference notes to books that I want to borrow from the library or buy.
If you’re an Evernote user, Curio integrates beautifully with it. I make notes and draw in my paper journals, and on cards. I photograph them into Evernote with my phone. Then I drag the images into Curio. Sounds convoluted, but it works.
As we’ve said, if you’re just starting on your writing journey, start with Scrivener. (You can thank me later.) Once your needs extend beyond that, because you’re working on several book projects at a time, explore other tools.
VoodooPad and Curio are two tools I love. I’d be lost without them.
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