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

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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

Writing Playlists and Music

Sometimes in order to get in the mood to write, I like to turn on my music. I use it to focus and block out the background noise. I usually listen to my playlist that I made for my fanfiction more than the ones I’ve made for Torque or my works.

The music sets the mood for the scene I am going to write, whether it be for my fanfiction or writings. There are times when I get so obsessed with finding the right song for an “epic” scene, that I would spend at least a hour looking for the song. Sometimes, it takes longer to find it, which makes it harder to write.

There are some authors that create playlists for books – something that they listened to while writing. The only author  I can think of that has done it is Stephanie Meyer for Twilight. I remember when I was into Twilight, I would go on the website and listen to music. I think she used to express the feelings of her characters throughout the book, but I don’t remember what it was specifically for.

I think ever since then I started creating playlists for my characters or just for the entire work. I find it fun, but I feel like it does more harm than good. Like I said above, it’s distracting; next thing you know you’re searching for the right song(s) for three hours and it’s past midnight. (Haha, me.) I think I spend so much time trying to find the right music is because it makes writing a little less lonely.

I’m sure this is something that I will continue while I’m writing.

Do any of you use music to help with writing, or nah? Let me know in the comments below. If you want a link to one of my playlists, let me know!

Until Sunday, Ciao!

XO Arisa

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Top 5 Wednesday | Cover Buys & Books I wish I read earlier

This is my first top five Wednesday! I will later post a video to this. As of now, my blog post will do. This tag was created by  Lainey at Goodreads! Anyone can participate, just link to the Goodreads group and posts your updates.

Cover Buys:

Tiger's Curse | C. Houck

Tiger’s Curse

Tiger’s Curse – Colleen Houck:

Currently reading this book. I saw the cover and decided to read the summary. I thought I would like, but it’s not turning out that way. I hope I can finish it.

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Updates, Tumblr and Writing

I keep disappearing  into non activity.  I was busy with the end of my semester at school. I am on break now until classes start  again on Jan. 14.

In the last decade there has been books made into movies. It makes me dream about my unpublished book being turned into a novel. Am I the only who thinks about that? I’ve been told that I write in a ‘movie format,’ which is accurate. Every time I think about a scene from my book, that could be somewhat interesting, it plays in my head like a movie. It goes hand in hand with being observant.

But unfortunately, it’s hard to write exactly what’s in my mind without it being sloppy or rushed. It could be the reason why it takes me longer than usually to write. But perhaps that experience just happens to me.

And then I got a Tumblr. I got one for my study abroad trip in Italy. I thought it would be best to share photos, pictures and my adventures. But. I am distracted by a lot of photos from one of my favorite animes (Shingeki no Kyojin | Attack on Titan). It really gets out of hand with the posts. I’ve done a good job with not reblogging a lot of photos, but I have over 70 likes on peoples’ photos.

If you wish to see my reblogs of Shingeki no Kyojin/ Attack on Titan and my posts on Italy here is the url: xoarisa.tumblr.com

Well this is all I have, for now. Have a good Holiday!

Pick that book back up! and NANOWRIMO

Over the summer I had the pleasure of reading for fun. It’s has become increasingly hard to enjoy what I pick up and not close it because I have to do homework. I would never be completely immersed in what I was reading for that simple factor. And it sucks.

But when there is free time, take it and remind yourself why you wanted to write. I’m going to do a little more reading before I start to write. I would suggest something that is not in the genre you’re writing because ideas from the book a could magically make its way into what you’re writing. That’s no good when trying to make your work original as possible.

It’s hard to write what you want when you have projects and homework to do. Hopefully, as the school year goes on I will read for fun before I write.

NANOWRIMO is coming up pretty soon. Every time November rolls around I say I’m going to do it, but school wants to get in the way. I will do my best and I hope to start posting short stories then with summaries of other things I’m working on. Like my novel series, Torque.

Well, until next time, pick up a book. Or books.

Let me know if this is something you do before writing or you do something else to mentally prepare yourself.
XO Arisa

Trying to find that love again

Since I am going to college for journalism, specifically magazine journalism, writing has been a love-hate relationship. I know that it’s a different style but it has been difficult for me to master. I made it a goal of mine to work for a publishing company, become an editor of a magazine and one day own my own magazine.

If you’ve ever had a journalism course or went to j-school, they probably told you the ABCs of journalism. The ABCs stand for accuracy, brevity and clarity. I think that as I was learning the ABCs and other rules, I began to slowly lose my touch and (I dare say it) my love for writing.

When I came to school I knew I wanted to journalism ( and to also please my parents because an English degree wouldn’t suffice.) And I’ve always loved magazines;  features,  ads, horoscopes, photographs – basically the entire package of a magazine. As I am wrapped up my reporting class I realized that I don’t like the newspaper aspect of print journalism. Maybe it was just the class. (It was the class.) 

I refuse to give up on something, just because of this factor. The other factor is that I am not sure what I was doing well in the class. For all I know, every story and brief I wrote could be classified as: meh or okay.

As someone who generally writes creative fiction better than non-fiction, fact filled work, it’s hard. Lately, I’ve been trying to “label” myself as a storyteller, as I am telling someone else’s story with facts. We will see how this holds up when I take my feature writing course in the fall. I will keep pushing forward to do better in my journalistic writing, eventually I’ll get it.

xo Arisa

-PS. I will be updating the site soon and it will showcase my published works, designs and projects.

I’m Back ~ Kind Of

Whoa! It’s seriously been months since I have updated my blog. Second semester took me by storm, tossed me in the ocean with nothing and I had to learn to swim. I’m swimming now, but I was definitely drowning for a bit. Not going to lie. Since I can’t update as often as I want to, I will post some motivational quotes.

I have so many plans that I want to execute  when I am not swamped with school work. Here is the list.

Continue reading

It’s only the first three pages redone + another page

Yes, winter break

Yes, winter break

I am done with school. For now. I will enjoy it as long as I can. I know I have not updated in the longest time. I was trying to do two posts a month, but as you all can tell I did not do well with that.

So for my creative writing class, everyone had to turn in two pieces of works that we thought were the best. It didn’t matter how long it had be, we just had to turn it in. Cool, I can do that. I turn in a poem and the first three pages of my novel redone, plus an extra page. I felt like I did well. The final project was to determine if we had received an A in the class.

I took people’s thoughts into consideration on how to make it better. I added more detail. I added an extra page, even though I wanted it to be 5. (I was running out of time, after saying I would turn it in at 2, it was all ready 230-ish.) After waiting several days, and not getting the grades I wanted from my other classes, I was getting a little impatient. I understood that he had to read everyone’s work and make a decision, but on Tuesday, 10 minutes before grades were due I see my grade.

A B+. Cool. No big deal, but seriously. I felt like I worked hard to get an A, but got a B+ instead. Yeah, my grade could have been worse.  I think that the last thing to determine an A was our final project, was a little unfair, but it is a creative writing class.

I am glad that class was a success, my news writing class was not. It was a pain in the ASS. Like a big pain. The class has left me questioning my major and with dry writing. Sweet.

XO Arisa

It’s only the first three pages

Tuesday, I read the first three pages of my novel in class. It wasn’t bad. But I hate reading my work out loud. For instance, I noticed I used the word ‘door’ multiple times, when it was not necessary. I find it funny how you find things when you read everything out loud.

When I heard everyone’s critique, I begin to realize how much people expect out of the first three pages. Isn’t there a saying that it’s the first three pages that should capture the reader before they move on with their lives? Something like that. I got good feedback, saying I need to hone a little bit more on the perspective of my character. I was attempting to go for a third person limited, but I am not sure if I completed that task successfully.

I find it really hard because I am trying not to put so much of myself in it. Which is one of the reasons why I don’t want to have this story in first person. Plus third person view will make the image I am trying to create a little bigger.

Then they kept calling my fantasy/ action fiction, sci-fi, I was slightly offended. But that’s another subject for another time.

As they went on and on about wanting to know more and wondering why I put certain things in and wanting more from background (or something), a classmate of mine reminded them that it is the first three pages, and that I am not going to reveal the whole plot on the first page. Though I did not much to go on, everything I write will play it’s part later. I rarely add fluff.

Overall, majority of the people liked what I did. Which is cool and makes me feel confident in my writing. Well, I am off to do boring homework.

XO Arisa