Ok – so, one way or another, you’ve got the tools I recommended – whether you went with all free, or a mix of free and paid, or you’re ready to experiment with each. Or you’ve got your own go-to tools, that you work with – that’s ok too – the list I provided wasn’t exhaustive (though, if you think I’ve missed something, please let me know – I’d love to hear about other tools people use).
I also didn’t list ‘Write or die’ – deliberately – that goes under a whole ‘nother section – writer’s block.
Anyway – tools for novelists and why they work well together.
For idea collation I suggest Evernote – simply because it’s search able and is as handy as your mobile phone (if you’ve got a smart phone). It lets you store notes, inspiration, voice recordings, images, the works. This is crucial, because there are occasions you won’t be able to stop and grab a piece of paper, but you might have your phone with you, or times when you’re in the middle of writing something else, and need to take notes.
I suggest having a couple of tags to categorise ideas – I’ve got ‘story idea’, ‘snippet’, ‘research question’, ‘blog post’ and ‘misc’. I categorise them at home on my laptop because it’s easier to catch them that way than tag on the fly.
If I’m writing a novel, I pick the tool that best fits the job as soon as I get settled, but I tend to do my outlines and other basic work in Word, just because sometimes it’s hard to tell which is ‘best’ to use.
I’ve found though that it pretty much splits into two easy categories – serials, in which case I find it easier to work in Liquid Story Binder (and will explain that on a later post :)) or stand alone which works best in Scrivener. If it’s a stand alone with lots of notes, Scrivener copes, I’ve just yet to adapt to writing longer serials in Scrivener.
I edit though, in Word – simply because it’s easier to do cohesive line editing in there – though, again that comes down to personal preference.
Other tools a novelist needs – books in the genre they’re writing in – so they can keep their ‘finger on the metaphorical pulse’ and some support. I recommend finding a crit group to chat about your writing, and get feedback. I like OWW-SFF but your mileage may vary.
Kai is a writer, author and avid reader. A mental health advocate, Ludosport athlete and coder. She’s the mother of two young adults, owned by two cats, and lives with her beloved in the Cotswolds.