As a writer, you're probably aware that November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I haven't decided if I'm going to officially participate, but I'll probably get some writing done anyway. When I sit down to write, this is what my desktop looks like:
First and foremost, the centerpiece of my writing, is Scrivener for linux. I've already written about it here.
Second (and almost as important) is my full-screen "motivational" app, Write or Die 2. It kills writer's block dead! This is for grinding through word counts, when I have an idea for a scene in my head but it just won't come out. WriteOrDie gets the words out, whether I like it or not.
For non-fiction, I'm learning to use the program Zotero for annotations and footnotes. It integrates into Scrivener, too.
Thirdly is background music. Sometimes I can listen to rock, but mostly, I listen to ambient sounds, and the best thing for that is SomaFM.com. They've got several ambient and downtempo stations, so I'll play that through RhythmBox. I really like the stations DroneZone and BeatBlender. On the rare occasion I want to listen to something specific, I'll listen to Pandora with an app called Pithos.
This is how I get my fiction writing done. What's your writing desktop look like?
As a creative-type person, I understand when people get picky about what tools they use to create their particular art form. Musicians will obsess over the tiniest things to get the sound "just right." Photographers will spend hours waiting for just the right light.
But why are writers usually just the opposite? They use kludgy writing tools, and sometimes even physical "index card" information management. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a single program that could do everything a writer needed? Formatting, templates, organization, storyboarding, corkboards, revision management, links and information, pictures, exporting direct to publishing formats, and even a full-screen writing mode?
Well, there *is* such a program. It's called Scrivener. It's completely changed the way I write, for the better.
Scrivener was made *by* authors, *for* authors. It's like a tool that plugs directly into your brain and lets you focus on writing. There are plenty of testimonials praising the OSX and Windows versions, but I run the Linux-specific version, which is technically still in beta. It still has more features than a regular word processor, and I've found it has become integral to my writing process.
For those of you familiar with Scrivener, the Linux version is available as a free (for now) Beta. For the rest of you, here's the overview:
So, you've decided to try your hand at writing something. More than a research paper, maybe even fiction. So, where do you start? Good question!
Writing, just like any other craft, goes easier and faster with proper tools. With that being said, there are as many ways to write as there are writers, and I can only give you information based on what I know and have used. If I'm writing a novel, or short story (i.e. something that requires plot) then I do my writing in two stages: Outlining, and the actual writing.
Outlining- Every good story needs organization. How can you organize? Characters, places, details, bits and clippings of inspiration, research notes, and the list goes on. Thankfully, there are some talented programmers who are also writers, and they've come up with some excellent solutions! Some of my favorites are: