Writers’ Tools, Revisited

I have been forced to re-think my toolkit while starting my revision process. During NaNoWriMo, story structure was something I would deal with… later. Now I find myself wrestling with a 50K bear, and tools I had put aside for November are making a reappearance.

I am old-fashioned enough to want a physical paper manuscript to mark up, but a recent shoulder injury made lugging a half-ream of paper to Starbucks impractical. So… I printed my manuscript in classic MS format to a PDF and then stored it in DropBox. I then marked up the PDF in Notability, stored it back to DropBox, and proceeded to kill a small tree by printing out that half-ream manuscript.

Now I have come to the point of wanting to be able to move my chunks of story around. While Scrivener lets one do this with relative ease, I found myself longing for the column mode of Index Card for iOS. So I re-installed that sucker, and now I have a timeline view of my novel, chapter by chapter.

I know, I know, theoretically I should have worked out the structure before spewing out 50K words. Doesn’t seem to work for me. Maybe as I get more practice at this it will be more helpful to do it first.

So, my list of post-NaNoWriMo tools so far:

  • Notability. (iOS) Very useful for marking up PDF docs as if they were on paper.
  • Index Card. (iOS) Great for working with structure — and the ordering of the chunks does get transferred back to Scrivener, although the hierarchy does not. So, I’ve started using this for outlining, and simply will not update Scrivener until I’m 90% done. It’s just not a tool for me to use to grind out word count.

And my toolkit would not be complete without…

  • Starbucks. (iOS) Sine qua non. Gotta get away from the house to write, most days. Where else can I get a chair and table for the day, free WiFi, and people to interact with/observe for $1.75? They even have coffee.
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