A little DISCLAIMER to start...
I am frequently asked how I work on my books. Not just my process, but which tools I use. So, I thought that today, I would share with you one of the writing tools I use, and let you check it out for yourself. Whenever I tell you about a new tool I'm using, please understand that I am NOT getting paid for the article. I don't get kickbacks from the companies. They don't even know (unless they find it in a Google search) that I'm even telling you about them. I'm sharing this information with you because it's been helpful to me, and I'd like to pass along the opportunity for you to find tools that enhance your craft and creative output.
I've written four books so far, and I'm currently working on about four or five others. I have used Power Structure to write all of them, and I will continue to do so. I've been using the program since 2004, and it is by far the best thing I've found for "Plotter Novelists" like me!
This is my all-time favorite writing software. I searched for many, many years to find a writing tool that would keep all my ideas organized, and grow with the stories as Drake and I created them. I'm a ferocious outliner. My writing lives and dies by my outline, so I needed something that was not only incredibly organized, but also very intuitive, because Drake has a short attention span, and has very little interest in large learning curves. Power Structure provided the perfect solution.
This program is set up to help you write novels, screenplays, stage plays, and television scripts. You can use the standard Mythic Structure (also known as The Hero's Journey) or set up a structure template that works best for you.
It has a fantastic outline window that lives at the left side of the screen while I write. This is enormously helpful when I forget what order things go in... Drake is constantly jumping about, filling holes, usually out of sequence. This program helps us to remember where things go, and it's powerful "drop and drag" capability means that I can move chapters and plot points around whenever I want without all that "copy and past" nonsense. Also, it has a fantastic thing called "Gestalt View" which lets us see acts, chapters, plot points and plot point details all on one screen! This is extremely helpful in maintaining flow when we write. Being able to see what comes before and after helps tremendously. There's also a nifty little note feature that allows you to instantly record notes that come to you on the fly, before you're really sure where they will fit in the finished product. I use this feature to keep research notes about certain aspects of the plot or characters that I may need to refer back to quickly.
There are a bunch of screens that help you move the story forward, too. This is not "select one and we'll write it for you" writing. It asks you intelligent questions and you fill in the details. The system asks you things like "What's the opening hook?, "What is the ending hook?", "How does this plot point move the story forward?", "What needs to be accomplished to get to the Act Break?" It helps to develop the story arc by asking you about what your characters will learn during the course of the story, and how they will be changed by having gone through the story experience. Again, the system doesn't give you the answers, but it does offer thought-provoking questions, which are immensely helpful when you're dealing with a Duck Muse who won't cooperate.
On top of all that, it gives you the flexibility to either write in full-screen mode, as if you were using MS Word, or with split screens to see individual scenes (up to five on a screen) and your outline while you write. It's tremendously agreeable to any writing mood we are in on any given day.
Add to that these incredible features: Spell checker, user dictionary so you can train it to your specific language needs, a thesaurus, name bank, character maps, word count and page count calculators, conflict tracking, index card view, story and theme pitch areas, exporting and full report printing - with divisions of your manuscript available in nearly every format, or full manuscript format - plus all the standard copy, paste, text format tools... and you've got one heck of a program.
And here's the kicker... you only have to use the features that work for you! You don't have to fill in ALL the blanks, or use EVERY view to write your book... you can use only what you're comfortable with and ignore the rest! You're in control. It's tremendously nifty!
When you buy the program, it comes with three licenses, so you can use it on three different machines... I have mine on my desktop as well as my laptop, and I sync and backup using Dropbox... and you get lifetime updates for no additional cost.
The only drawback is that they have not yet produced a version compatible with tablets. But they tell me that it is in the works and should be arriving shortly. Yes, you can work with the program in either a Mac or PC environment.
The cost for the program is $99.00 for the direct download, and $119.95 for the instant download plus the backup CD. AND... if that's not good enough, you can try it with the free 30-day demo, just to make sure it will fit with your writing style. They also offer a free, 30-day money back guarantee, and free technical support.
Here's the website where you can check it out: http://www.powerstructure.com/