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Best Tools for Writing Novels

For the past sixteen years I've been writing novels and have written in various formats. I've used Publisher, Word, Google Docs, and a couple writing apps for an iPad. Out of those, I mostly have used Word. However, I have found an app that is worth every penny and is everything that I ever wanted out of a book writing app. It's called Scrivener.

It's like a Word Document and a scrapbook had a baby.

A prodigy baby that you never knew you needed.

When you're actually writing in Scrivener, you have all the Word Document tools at your service. There's a place on the left hand side where you can catalogue your chapter synopses and keep notes.

On the right you have your "scrapbook" folders. These are sections of your book, groups of sections, chapters, groups of chapters, or literally anything you want them to be. You can organize them any way you want. Let me say that again, dear writer: you can organize them any way you want. As a creative person, being able to have things look the way I want them to is incredibly important and a part of my writing process. This app has allowed me shorten my time organizing so that I could enhance my time writing.

One of my most favorite part of the app is the synopses. You fill one out for each chapter so you can look at the bird's eye view of your whole novel. And say you want to move your chapters around... you can, my friend. With ease and efficiency. No more copy, pasting, cutting, double guessing, messing up and then screaming in frustration (if you've been writing for any length of time, you know exactly what I'm talking about). Moving around chapters is as easy as a click.

There's formatted documents for character sketches, scrap papers, scrapbooking landscapes, terrain, weapons, etc. It's all so organized. Makes me want to cry a little. All in all, Scrivener is what I would consider a must have as a writer.

The second app that has become invaluable to me is OneNote. To use OneNote's own words, you can...

"sort content across notebooks, sections, and pages, highlight can’t-miss notes with Important and To-Do tags, draw your thoughts and annotate your notes, using a stylus or your finger, record audio notes, insert online videos, and add files and share notebooks with coworkers, friends, and family."

I've always loved the feel of a real notebook, and keeping one for writing has always been a part of my writing process. However, as a means to stay somewhat organized, I put all of my handwritten and documented notes in OneNote just over four years ago and I am in love with my OneNote Notebook. I can access it on my phone if ever I am away from my computer and need to reference something. I can keep track of all my characters, logistics, maps, language, people groups, projects, or any part of my world that I need to work out.

Within the Notebook (and you can have as many Notebook as you want) you can have as many sections as you want (and color coordinate them!). Within a section you can have innumerable pages and then subpages. On the pages (and subpages) you can type anywhere you want on the page, leave voice memos, make to-do lists and reminders, insert pictures, files, photos and even videos. You can draw or type. I love how organized my world is because of OneNote.

Between Scrivener and OneNote, I have never been happier or more organized as a writer. Because they're so intuitive, I can focus more on writing. Which is, of course, the point of being a writer.

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