Writing app review | Scrivener

***This review is based on my own experiences and not paid to do a review for the app. These are my honest opinions of the app***

 

As writers, I am sure some of you have heard of the Scrivener app. And if you don’t have it, you should definitely try it. Below I am going to review the app; what I liked, what I didn’t like — you know, all of the things that go into a review.

 

30 Day Trial:

No one would ever say this, in the history of trying free trials, but this was the best one I’ve tried. Why? Because it only counted the 30 days once you opened the app. Most trials would start once you have opened the app or program — which would be a huge bummer if you hadn’t been using it everyday. Seriously, all trials should be like this. I don’t even think there were limits with what I could do with my documents.

And in those 30 days, I fell in love with how powerful and simple this app can be. Then I bought it. The best $45 ever!

Keeping it together:

Organization: Writing with this app has been so much easier than writing in Word. I had to have so many papers around me that it was overwhelming, or have many Word documents  up that it sucked my battery.

In the app, the user has the ability to customize how they want to it — it can be a powerful tool for efficiency. Users have the option of choosing from different templates, such as ‘Novel’ or ‘Novel with Parts’

View options:  I get the best outlook in having three options to view my projects: document, subdocuments and outliner. Plus the draft view which encompasses all documents of one folder under a long view that’s good for a continuous read.

With the document view, of course the user can view the work that is selected. The subdocuments view gives a traditional flashcard look. The outliner view though it has the same flashcard content, gives the writer the option of labeling each document under a folder.

Scrivener also has a split view option, which comes in handy when trying to recall something in a previous scene of chapter.

Icons:  This is a bit self explanatory, but the icons make it easier to identify and keep track of what’s being written in one Scrivener document.

 

Lean, mean writing machine:

Composition Mode: This is as distraction free as a user can get with this app — it works better when the internet is off! But the user can either choose the tradition black background or a desired photo. In this mode users can change the transparency of the paper background, choose where to put it (left, center or right) and how much zoom is need to view the text.

It also gives the option of switching between documents and using a tool called “Inspector” as well as give basic information of word count and characters in the document.

 

Research folder: This is one of the best tools. I’m using this tool the most for Torque at the moment and it has come in handy as I write a few scenes out of order. Writers are constantly using searching for things to be accurate or close to it , so all a writer has to do is drag and drop information they’ve downloaded to their computer into the research folder to easy access to information.

 

Inspector tool: I would call this the hidden gem of the app. Why? Well, say the user is in composition mode and wrote something in document or project notes area (among other things), it super convenient that the writer can do it without exiting composition mode. When the writer not in comp mode, then the inspector allows the user to look over the synopsis or image and switch between project and document notes also without leavinf what’s being worked on. It also has slightly different features in normal view.

 

 

 

At least not yet:

As awesome as this tool is, I have not had a chance to use the other features like keyword or quick reference. I’m sure there are other tools that I have not mentioned because I’ve been enamored with the others. If you have Scrivener, and you see a tool that could be useful for other writers, leave a comment below.

 

What could make the app better:

Every app is not without its issue though.  One thing that annoyed me was when I decided to work in my customized comp mode. In my experience if a photo is left up for too long in, it will cause delay between what I type and when it appears on the document. If this could be fixed or even have some kind of warning, it would be great.

When the app updates, it doesn’t update all previous versions of your documents. It does update once you open them and it only take a few minutes.

You can find out more about the app and tutorial videos at its home site Literature and Latte.

 

I plan for Ghost Kings to officially launch sometime in February, with postings at least once or twice a month. Thanks for reading and see you in a couple of weeks. 

xo Arisa

Halfway there

 

You guys already know what I’m about to say in this post, right? About me going MIA after a few posts at a time. Hey, it happens — we all have lives to attend to outside of the Internet. But I wanted you let you all know that I am more than halfway* through 50K for NaNoWriMo. And I’m not even close to finishing Torque. I am currently about to wrap up chapter four, but I am having difficultly doing it.

It’s mainly because I switch between two POVs of my main characters, Cori and Ace. I can get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions for Cori that when I switch to Ace, I’m struggling to detach the two characters. But alas, this is something that I will have to fix later. I can’t waste anymore time because I got behind last week, and I am still being for this week.

But to all the writers out there taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge (and those who aren’t), I wish you the best in finishing what you’ve started. Whether it’s the end of this month or even two years from now.

Just write on!

Xo Arisa

*30,705K and counting

Progress update and discussion

Mini Progress update:

Torque: Getting just a tad further along. I took time to focus a little bit on world building and looking at previous information I had down from years ago. I’ll have to decide if it’s relevant to the current or any future plots. My plan is to finish chapter 3 (2/3) and chapter 4 this month. I hope to be at chapter 5 by November and NANOWRIMO.

Ghost Kings: Ideas are still developing for this short story. I will post the first ‘chapter’ by Oct. 16.

Spirits: I’ve started writing the point of view for one of the characters, but it was difficult to move forward with it. I’ll need to do more world building before continuing.


Discussion:

Finding the right writing routine is difficult. Trust me. Any blog site or writing site that I go to seems to mention a routine and how it seems to produce the end product.

But I’m curious how this ‘routine’ works for others. Are you more likely to write on your own time or schedule in advance? Sound off below!


What’s next?

I’ll be writing about the importance of characters of color, a review on Scrivener writing app and hopefully a video on face casting.

Until next time,

XO Arisa

The Name Game

There can be many things that make a character: a crafted personality, descriptions, with faults and all. What completes them or makes them, depending on the how one would create his or her character, is the name. It can give the writer a chance to be clever with a character’s name. A meaning can give a glimpse into a personality trait or give clues into what they are or will become.

Screen Shot from HP Lexicon

Screen Shot from HP Lexicon

Baby name sites can be another resource if you don’t already use them.

Stumble along google for new name sites if you don’t already. Those sites may be a go to for you, so feel free to leave them below for others to check out.

One of the reasons I decided to write this post is because of how much fun it can be and how it can be somewhat daunting to find the right character name.

I’m sure there are other writers who spend some time deciding, going back and forth on which will be the character’s name. The journey in finding the right name depends on what kind type of material you’re writing. In fantasy or otherworld pieces, the name can play a part in the story and create a different culture or environment for your character.

What I mean by that is that it can give a character a little more background. Even with nicknames; it raises the question on why the character doesn’t go by their full name.

As an example, Ace, one of my main characters from Torque, goes by that name by other character though I made his first name [Alexander]. Originally, his name was just Ace Thurston. I decided to change it and use it as a plot point for later. It also fit better with his character traits.

Origin: Biblical, German, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Slovak, Dutch, Norwegian // from Behind the Name

Origin: Biblical, German, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Slovak, Dutch, Norwegian // from Behind the Name

When searching for names, I normally go to Behind the Name. The site has a wide variety of names with meanings attached to them, which will make it easier to decide if decide to choose a name that meets your fancy. The names can be separated by gender and/or ethnicity.

If the name doesn’t fit the character, than create a list of names you necessarily can’t part from. There will be plenty of chances to create a character that will fit the name. (There may a time when you review the list and you get inspired by a name.)  Just be sure to keep track and sure you are not using the same name for different stories — unless it’s intentional.

Surnames, like first names, has to fit the character. There are times when you may like a name, but it doesn’t fit the character or it doesn’t fit well with the first name. Or you intentionally not give the character a last name, which is something I am doing with Spirits.

With surnames, I believe you can have a little more fun other languages. Depending on the ethnicity or nationality, you can pull names from simple meanings of dictionaries. (Sometimes you need to turn to something that’s a little unconventional to get what you want.) While writing a fanfiction (not Whispers), I turned to a Japanese to English – English to Japanese dictionary. At the time I felt some of the names were either too common and I wanted something different.

To make things a little easier when searching for names on Behind the Name, is the ‘Tools’ tab. It will give you the option of searching for what you need in themes or anagrams. Say a you want a “flowery” meaning for a character’s name. Then you’re in luck. It will bring up “flowery” meanings from every country that’s on the site and if you want male, female or unisex names.

Even name generators can be a useful too.  If you use the Scrivener writing app, there is name generator that can be used as well.

Be sure to explore the “Links” page on Behind the Name which will give you more options in name searches.

Until next time,

XoArisa

P.S. Don’t forget to follow my blog and YouTube channel for writing updates.

Writing Vlog 1

The reason why I decided to talk about these three is because I find myself thinking about the story lines often. They are all in three different stages as far as writing. Torque is the most developed out of the three; The Ghost Kings has a few pages written but still needs development as I write; and Spirits is not as developed and has the least written as far as the story goes.

I hope you all enjoyed my late video. I’ll be back on a normal schedule on Monday – with a regular written blog post. Feel free to subscribe on YouTube and leave comments below.

xo Arisa

Video and blog post

Hey Guys,

Sorry, I did not post Monday, or last week with the video. I decided that I will reshoot my video and post it this week – it will be up on Thursday. I will also do a regular blog post for Saturday.

Don’t worry, I will get back on my Monday blog post, Wednesday video (for the following week) schedule soon after this week.

xo Arisa

Keyboard v. Paper

Lately, I’ve been in the mood to write. But, not necessarily on my computer or my phone.

I can remember what it was like to write to the very first draft of Torque (then called Fangs: Taste of Blood) and how easier it was to finish it on paper. (As easy as writing a novel would get.)

When I tried to rewrite the second draft, I went for paper. Well, pen and paper as JK Rowling would say. But then it was hard. So at that time,  I turned to my shabby laptop I got from my brother.

It was easier at that point to write on the laptop. I didn’t get that far into rewriting Torque – maybe 30 pages at that time. Then something happened to the computer where it shut off  and it wouldn’t turn back on.

I was sad and really upset. All that work down the drain and I was actually liked that version better than my written draft, but each way of writing has its own pros and cons.

KEYBOARD

Pros: 

– Easy sailing: 

When you grow up learning how to type and use computers every day, you learn a few tricks here and there. And you type faster than your parents or writers who don’t embrace the keyboard as much.

If you misspell a word, autocorrect from your phone or the red squiggles will let you know that you’ve made an error.

– Research:

Using the computer and Internet has made it easy to get the job done when it comes to research. If you stay focused enough, meeting your writing goal can be done with ease.

Cons:

– Distractions: 

The Internet is a wonderful thing. A tool that many writers use to help develop ideas, find connections, research and more. And that’s the thing.

Some writers may find themselves on the computer lost in “research.”

Admit it, as writers, we’ve all done this. You go to write, but go to research first and that research turns to your favorite social media platform.

When it comes to writing on the phone, you get texts and notifications from the millions of apps on your phone.

 – Screen time exposure:

For work, I’m on a computer (or phone to take a quick break) for 7.5 hours. So, writing on the computer before or after work can become daunting for me. It’s too much screen time.

It’s the same for people who have to use a computer or tablet for work and many of us who constantly check our email on the phone.

Too much screen time can strain your eyes as well and if you’re not in a properly lit room – it makes it worse. So, don’t forget to turn on the light when writing into the evening when you’ve used natural light as a light source.

– Technology:

Why this is a con, you may ask? Well, as reliable as some tech pieces are today, they crash or reset. When that happens you can loose everything. All of your hard work gone.

Remember to back up anything that’s written. Whether it be with Google Drive and Google Docs, another cloud system or an external hard drive.

For Mac users, if you haven’t started to use your Time Machine, maybe you should consider using it. Though I don’t have it,  I will eventually activate it. (I am recent grad, so getting an external hard drive is not high on the list.)

PAPER:

Pros: 

– Less distractions: 

This one is pretty self explanatory. Just make sure you’re settled into your favorite spot, you have you drink of choice and your phone is set on DND.

– Easy proofing: 

The mistakes made while typing can be found easier once it’s printed. After writing all day, the eyes tends to skip over repeated words or tend to skim in general. This is something that I know that I do when I am typing and editing.

For neatly handwritten things, put the story or outline away for a bit (give it two weeks, and if time is not your friend, give to someone who can proof well) and come back to it. Your eyes will catch the skipped words or sentence structures that really do not make any sense.

– In light loads, it’s not as heavy: 

When traveling with a specific notebooks, whether it’s the story or a separate writing notebook, can be easier than putting your laptop in a bag. You don’t have to take it out of the bag at airports, so that’s a plus.

If you decide to travel with multiple notebooks, make sure you take the ones you need. There’s no need to travel with three five subject Five Star notebooks to a destination, unless you’re moving.

Cons:

– Damage: 

There could be no coming back from a tea, coffee or water stains (this goes for computers too). Because paper clearly doesn’t have a save button, material can be destroyed if not properly stored.

It would be best to invest in a scanner or a scanner app on the phone. Even your phone camera with cloud storage can get it done. Though it’s a lot of extra work to syphon through all of your papers, but it creates a back up of your paper documents. (I would use this technique if I missed notes from a class and my friend had them.) Just make sure to not accidentally delete them, not all smart phones have a photo recovery, unless they do.

– Clutter: 

Pulling out papers to reference  when writing a certain scene, or when you’re trying to remember a character description. Next thing you know you whole area is cover is paper, and you can’t realize where a paper was place. Then you’re looking for that paper for minutes or hours and it was in front of you the entire time.

Find the best way to organize writing materials even when you’re not writing. One day, you’ll have all this paper that’s probably not needed. Be sure to do an annual cleaning before it gets out of control.

– HAND CRAMPS:

I think that says it all.

I know there are more pros and cons that I have left out, so feel free to leave them below or which method you prefer.

Until next week (with a video!),

xo Arisa

The write environment

…See what I did there?

Anyways, let’s talk writing environments. For me, I have a hard time writing in my room, living room, crowded places, so it’s really important to me to find a great place to get things done. This all started when I wanted to leave the house to write. It took me at least three times to find an open and relaxed environment.

Panera and two coffee shops later, I found a decent spot at the library. Go figure, right?

The first place I was sent to was closed down forever, the next shop was closed because of the holiday weekend and wouldn’t be open until July 5.

But as I was feeling a little upset about putting money in the meter twice, I was at a stop light and looked to my left. And there, the public library seemed opened. I prayed it was open after I turned around, and it was.

It was a great thing. I didn’t write any fiction, I did write a new cover letter without my mind wondering too much.

Though, I’ve never let my current environment stop me from writing; like right now I’m writing this in bed. I can’t be too picky on where I want to write because of timing and other factors.

I do think that every writer should have a place where they can go and not be easily distracted. This is why I am not a big fan of writing at home so much. Daily life can be distracting from what needs to be accomplished because of the comforts of home.

For me, crowded spaces produce too much other energy that becomes distracting. Someone could start to people watch, rather than watch their words fill up a blank page. Or maybe a busy place is what some people need to help them focus. If you’re one, kudos to you.

To Boldly Go….

On May 9th, 2015, I graduated from Kent State University. Two weeks later, I was at a copy editing boot camp for Dow Jones News Fund. Now, I am working for The Detroit News in Detroit, MI.

I am finally going to take the time to post here and my travel blog (see above). I will also start making some vlogs about my writing as well. I only get two days off during the week, so let’s hope I can remain consistent after this post. I plan to, but my plans never work out so well.

I will be making another post on Saturday about my writing environment search. It took me three times to find a good place to write. I’ll make sure to collect those tweets from that day.

Until Saturday,

XO Arisa