Tips and Tricks

Another writing weapon to add to my arsenal

I was so happy to find, from my subscription to a blog about Scrivener (the single greatest program I have ever had the pleasure of downloading), that another program I’d had my eye on was now available for download on Windows.

Enter Scapple; a writer’s mapping program that allows the user to jot down their thoughts and ideas as they spring up, connecting them with arrows and even dragging the file across into a current Scrivener project.

Here’s what the creators, Literature and Latte, have to say about it.

Scapple is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them. It isn’t exactly mind-mapping software—it’s more like a freeform text editor that allows you to make notes anywhere on the page and to connect them using straight dotted lines or arrows. If you’ve ever scribbled down ideas all over a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts, then you already know what Scapple does.

Scapple doesn’t force you to make connections, and it doesn’t expect you to start out with one central idea off of which everything else is branched. There’s no built-in hierarchy at all, in fact—in Scapple, every note is equal, so you can connect them however you like. The idea behind Scapple is simple: when you are roughing out ideas, you need complete freedom to experiment with how those ideas best fit together.

Creating notes is as easy as double-clicking anywhere on the canvas and then typing; making connections between ideas is as painless as dragging and dropping one note onto another. And unlike with paper, you can move notes around and never run out of space.

Frankly I can’t wait to try this out! Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until I’ve finished my OU coursework—priorities dictate “work before play”. But, as my deadline is this coming Thursday, I shouldn’t have long to wait. Hopefully, this will make this year’s NaNoWriMo even easier and more fun.

For anyone who hasn’t tried Scrivener or Scapple, they both have free 30 day trials available on the Literature and Latte website. That’s 30 days of use, rather than the usual 30 consecutive calendar days, so there’s no fear of leaving the program alone and losing your free trial. Once your trial expires, you can purchase a household licence through their site too, paying through Paypal.

So if you write or are wanting to start, and only make two purchases this month, I heartily recommend that these two programs be the ones you choose. You could do far worse, and for such a low price it’s a sound purchase.

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