My favorite

Book
Writing Tools

I am frequently asked what tools I am using to research, write and design my book. Here is a quick list with links. I will update as I proceed through the process. Please send me your comments.

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Scrivener - Writing App

Scrivener can be adapted to any kind of writing project: fiction, non-fiction, journalism, family history. If you are serious about writing and eventually publishing, this is your go-to tool. There is nothing comparable and there is a huge user community. Don’t even think about comparing it to Microsoft Word!

“Scrivener unites everything you need to write, research and arrange long documents in a single, powerful app. At its heart is a simple ring-binder metaphor that allows you to gather your material and flick between different parts of your manuscript, notes and references with ease. Break your text into manageable sections of any size and leave Scrivener to stitch them together. Integrated outlining tools let you plan everything first or restructure later. And as your project grows, you’ll find that Scrivener grows with it.”

MacOs, iOs, Windows

$45. Frequently on sale for less.

Aeon - Timeline App

Aeon Timeline tracks dates, characters, locations and story arcs. It allows me to cross-reference all events and characters. It calculates ages for my characters once I input a birthdate. It can also link to external files such as photos and documents as well as PDFs. This is MacOS and iOs only at this time.

“A timeline is composed of a series of events: an occurrence that happens at a particular time for a given duration. Depending on your project needs, these events may represent plot points in a novel, planned future tasks in a project, or known events in a legal case or historical research.”

MacOs, iOs

$50. Several times a year it is 50% off.

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Bookends - Bibliography App

Bookends is a slick tool for creating a bibliography and annotations. What a timesaver this has been: I enter an ISBN number or book title and Bookends finds the information for me. Integrates with Microsoft Word and Scrivener and other apps. This is MacOS and iOs only at this time.

“Reference management entails the collection, annotation, curation, and citation of published information. This is exactly what Bookends does. Bookends can perform Internet searches to retrieve references and associated pdfs or web pages, or immediately find and import references for which you already have the pdf.”

MacOs, iOs

$60.

Lightroom - Photo Organization App

Adobe Lightroom is the premiere photo editing and management app. I use it to organize all my photos as well as resize and crop them for my book.

The most economical way to purchase it is on a month-to-month cloud subscription. Currently only $10 a month for the basic plan with or without Adobe Photoshop. Cloud storage varies by plan.

MacOs, iOs, Windows

$10-$19 a month

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OneNote - Notebook App

Microsoft OneNote is a great tool to store all your research. It uses the metaphor of a notebook with sections and pages. I use it for pasting information from the web and taking notes. Scrivener has similar functionality and many people use it to store their research. I like the integration of OneNote with my browsers so I can quickly paste an article or link into a section.

It is available to download for free. I have it included in my Office365 subscription. I do not know whether the standalone app has any limitations.

MacOs, iOs, Windows

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Readcube Papers - Cloud Organization of PDFs

Papers is a cloud based app which can help you organize PDFs and annotate them. It will auto download a PDF while you are browsing if you install the Google Chrome extension.

There is also a desktop app for Windows and a legacy app for Mac which is being updated. There are several pricing plans depending on your needs and whether you are part of an academic institution.

MacOs, Windows

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Citation Machine

Citation Machine is a free browser based online service which will generate citations from books, articles and websites.

Mindmup - Cloud Mind Maps

Mindmup is a browser based online service to create mind maps. I use it for the 10,000 foot view of all my topics and connections. I have about 100 nodes on my current map!

MindMup provides two types of service:

  • Free mind mapping online without registration, but with limited capacity.
  • Paid MindMup Gold accounts, with increased capacity. With a Gold subscription, you can remove size restrictions for your user account or organisation, and support long-term development of MindMup.

Personal Gold accounts are $25 a year or $2.99 a month.

Divi - WordPress Theme

Divi is the WordPress theme I have been using for several years. It is the ONLY theme I now use. It has a huge base of over 500,000 users. The company is constantly adding features and updating it to stay current. I highly recommend it.

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