Since my writing spans genres, I’m on a lot of fantasy/science fiction writer’s groups on Facebook. And one common question is: how can I keep track of all my characters? This isn’t a SFF writer’s problem. When you’re writing a series, and then spin off series, and related series, it becomes a romance writer’s problem too. *smiles*

My choice and suggested answer is Scrivener. (Not an affiliate link.) There’s often a 30 day free trial around NaNoWriMo in November each year, and there’s a free trial built into the program so you don’t need to pay to download it and try it out. I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t use all the features. I don’t compile my ebooks, for example in Scrivener. I use Jutoh for that. What I do like is that when I write my connected novellas (like my Ozarks Shifters stories), I can do so in one file. See all the files there, and all the characters. I can even plan ahead. (I’ve got another pen name and that series is planned out into 10+ books, though book 5 is next up to be written.)

This is a small screen capture of my Ozark shifters project. On the left hand side there are folders for my characters, broken down by the M/M and the M/F series. Then, at the top there’s folders for M/F and M/M novellas and the one I’m working on.

It’s a different environment than Word, but I like that. Not only can I store notes and references (for example, for next month’s release of Flying Rescue, a Brotherhood Protectors world story, I actually pasted a screen capture of Google Maps into a reference document, so I could see where a pivotal point in the story would happen.)

Here are the reasons why I love Scrivener:

  1. All-in-one. I can write, keep track of characters, places, important events, and have it in a single, neat package. No more having several word documents open at once.
  2. It has a backup feature! I have a file server in my office cabin, so though I do all of my writing on my laptop, mostly in the house, when I close the program it automagically backs up to my file server, which then is backed up to the cloud.
  3. Keeps me focused. There’s a full screen mode so I don’t get distracted by seeing my web browser and think that I ought to surf Facebook or Twitter.

For me, Scrivener creates a place where my muse can come out and play, even if it’s for ten or fifteen minutes. Everything is there so when the fibro fog hits (which is often), I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.

Do you use Scrivener? What do you like about the software?

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