Prep work (Day 184/365)

Today was a GHP interview day, so I spent the whole day listening to myself on video and answering parent questions.

However, during those video intervals, I was able to get some work done. I began to work on the prospectus for William Blake, a document to give to our backers in May to explain what it is we’re doing and why they should foot the bill.

Also, I explored a new piece of software, you know how I cannot resist new software, that is promising for writing and being organized. It’s called Scrivener and has just been released. Check it out here.

Yes, I have writing tools galore. I have regular word processors: AppleWorks 6, Pages 2, and even Word. (I prefer AppleWorks, still. No one else has check boxes, for example, that you can actually check.) There’s also plain little TextEdit, the default text file opener.

I have specialty writing tools: Final Draft AV, BookEnds, CopyWrite, MacJournal, and of course my favorite for general getting-it-onto-paper, WriteRoom (1.0, not 2.0).

There are also the brainstorming/idea-keeper tools: Curio, Inspiration, OmniOutliner.

So why would I even be interested in a new idea/word processor?

Well, this one has several interesting features, foremost of which is the corkboard. You can create little notecards, which are pinned to the corkboard. Each has a title and a synopsis, and each is the front for a text file which is part of the whole. The pin on the notecard is color-coded to the labels you create for the project: Concept, Background, Artistic, Production, etc. You can add Status labels, which can appear across each card: To Do, Waiting…, Working.., Done, etc. (These are the labels and statuses I created; all are editable.)

If you rearrange the cards, then the outline of text files over on the left rearranges itself to match.

Of course you can view it in the text files, and there’s an additional view, Outline, which is what it says. You can tag everything with keywords, and filter by keywords. You can have files reference other files.

All your text files live in the Draft folder, and you also have a Research folder, which can hold just about everything you drag onto it: webpages, images, movies, sound files. It doesn’t accept emails; I just tried that and had to end up copying the email to text and putting that on a card.

You can split the screen, looking at two documents, or a document and the Research material. You can go to fullscreen, a la WriteRoom, and work there. You can modify the fullscreen’s transparency, so you can see a document through the screen for reference.

You can merge or split text files. You can export some or all of your writing to multiple-formats. You can view multiple text files as a single document without merging them.

All in all, a good way to sort out ideas and flesh them out into text. It touts itself (as many of these things do) as a good way to write that novel, but I’m already finding it useful to start thinking about the backers audition and the kinds of information we need to get together for that.

So yes, I’m a sucker for new software. Each of these pieces of software serves a purpose, even if, like Word, it’s just to give me a way to open others’ benighted Windows documents. I do use many of them on a regular basis, depending on the project, and none of them do it all.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have to get back to playing with my corkboard.

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