Writing Toys: Scrivener & Scapple


Writing today…so hard. So forced. So bad. The words hurt to get out.

Still…I did my words. No more than the bare minimum, but AT LEAST the minimum.

Daily Word Count: 355

Total Word Count: 2,266

Sunday was a rostered day off – so zero progress (I’m going to aim for Thursdays and Sundays off). I watched a movie with the wife (The Revenant) which was great – brutal – but great.

Writing Soundtrack

I mentioned last week that I had a few new writing tools; and I mentioned the shiny new Surface Pro (so pretty). Today, I thought I would go through the other two tools – Scrivener and Scapple – both from Latte and Literature.

Scrivener: Everyone’s heard of Scrivener, and to be honest it isn’t really new to me (I picked it up a few years ago and tried to write my previous book on it. That said, I’ve downloaded it onto the Pro and it is a seriously good writing application. I love the structuring options down the side of each page – break down as much as you like – by part, by chapter, by scene. Tag scenes by character (useful if you have a big cast with lots of subplots) and/or tag by date (useful if you need to keep track of a complex timeline). Keep your research right next to your manuscript, keep your character sheets close too.

I haven’t used half the tools yet, and even as a simple word processor I find it superior to Microsoft Word, which is great but gets cluttered and doesn’t have half of the planning and structuring aides that Scrivener does.

It’s an amazing tool, and I recommend that any people looking to give the free trial a go.

Scapple: Scapple is genuinely new for me, and whilst is usage is far more specialist, it is also an excellent tool. I use it as a mind-mapping tool, a broad-brush planning tool. It’s a little hard to explain, but it’s probably best to think of it like a white-board with notes you can write anywhere, and the ability to link notes however you like.

I’ve made a few templates (Character Sheet and Murder Sheet)  I’m planning to use when writing the story, templates to ensure that I think about something and all the possible connections. Not every connection needs to be added to the story, but every connection needs to be considered at least, to make sure you don’t forget something that is critical.


Murder Template

As soon as I’ve unprotected the Murder Template I can open the notes and insert the details, give things times and dates, and then directly feed this into the story in Scrivener. It’s as complex or as simple as you like, as regimented or as ‘scrappy’ as you prefer.



Character Template

This character sheet is incredibly detailed, far more than most characters will require – but I’ve structured it such that the CORE details, the STORY important details can be dragged into the central box for me to focus on. Other stuff can be ignored, deleted, filled in at a later date…Flexibility is key.

I’ve only had it a few weeks and I already love it. Again, recommend you try the generous trial period.


So, today’s questions: Does anyone use these tools (Scrivener/Scapple)? What do you thing? Do you have other software you recommend/suggest people avoid?




3 thoughts on “Writing Toys: Scrivener & Scapple

    1. I gave up on Scrivener this year. I move from computer to computer too much, and it was a big pain to set up every new story through 3rd-party cloud storage.

      I barely used ANY of Scrivener’s features. Mostly, I used it like a folder tree. So I swapped to Google Drive. I’ll do a post soon on how mine is set up, but to be honest, it’s very simple.

      I divide it up into chapter folders (1-12, 13-24, etc) and one other folder for my “external thoughts,” like world building, or writing about my character arcs, etc.

      I’m trying to figure out how I would use the Scapple app. Do you think you could do a more in-depth post on that?

      Liked by 2 people

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