Seriously though, I am a serious plotter...and a plotter is only as good as her tools! There are SO MANY out there that as part of this #WIP series I wanted to go over some available tools and review them.
What's In a Tool?
For those of you who just sit at the computer and start writing: bless you. I just can't do that. Call it my high-functioning (self-diagnosed) anxiety, but I kinda have to have a plan to start writing. So when I evaluate a tool for writing, I'm looking at it through the lens of a plotter. I've found there is no perfect tool that works for everything, but that as I write I bring together the best tools I find into some sort of weird amalgamation.
So that means when I judge a tool, I look at two things: how well it does its job compared to other tools, and how well using it fits into my flow of writing.
What makes a tool "Good"?
A tool is good if it's useful. But by useful, I don't mean it can do a job. I mean it makes the job easy and effortless. I don't have to repeatedly configure things, I can easily access and add or edit my writing, I can customize the dictionary to not constantly tell me my made-up names are misspelled, I can easily share or post my work for review, an audit trail or version history is kept so I can see what's changed and restore older versions, I can use the tool at all levels of my plotting...and so on. I am making a small assumption that most writers who plot have similar needs to me. \
What is a tool "fitting into the flow of writing"?
I'm sure we've all experienced this. You're trucking along, getting those words when...what should I call this character? Is that how weird is spelled? Or is it wierd? I need to describe this...what does this place/culture/character look like again?
And just like that, you've stopped writing and are doing "research" on the web, or scouring notes for a reminder for something you're pretty sure you decided months ago...but can't find.
If a tool minimizes or eliminates the need to stop writing and search for something, it fits into the flow of writing. It's like having all the information you need accessible in seconds so you can find the note or picture you wanted, get the info you need, and move on with the scene.
So with that in mind, I've made a list of tools I plan to review. Don't see your favorite on the list? Comment with your tool, and I'll add it to the review schedule!
Remember, comments on any #WIP post earn you chances to win a free copy of the Druid book when it's published! This counts!
Microsoft Excel/Google Sheets