Writing

Lost Your Scratchpad? Here It Is In Scrivener!

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

If you read this blog very much then you know I like finding and figuring out how to use the various tools and settings in Scrivener so I can write more efficiently. I also like to share these usage tips so other authors also benefit from Scrivener . With that in mind, I’m sharing another tool in Scrivener that you may not know about: the Scratchpad.

Scriv Scratchpad

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First let’s find out how to open this tool. Click on Tools and then on Scratchpad (from the keyboard that’s CTR + Shift + 0 (that the numerical zero not the letter O).

Opening Scratchpad gives you this basic window.

Scriv Scratch Pad

But what’s the purpose of this tool? If you use the Inspector you may already use the Document Notes to add various details to a document in progress. But Scratchpad is just what is sounds like – that scratchpad you keep by your computer and take ad hoc notes. Guess what? Scratchpad in Scrivener acts the same way but you can do more like send it directly to a project that you currently have open.

So here’s how it goes – say you are like me and have several projects open. I might be journaling or revising or whatever and a stray thought hits me about something else I’ve got open. This happens to me especially while I’m journaling. I might write the thought down in my journal and there it stays until I want to put it in the appropriate project. Then I have to go searching through my journal trying to remember what day I wrote the note. The same thing happens with that scratchpad by your computer.

With the Scrivener Scratchpad you can just open it and put the note there. If you have the project open that relates to the note you can send it to that project. Here’s how – at the bottom-center of the Scratchpad is the “Send file to Scrivener” button. Click on this and you are shown all the projects you have open. From there you get a series of fly-out menus that allows you to drill as far down as necessary in your project and send the note to the chosen location. There are 2 choices – sending the note to the location you choose or appending the text to the location you choose. In other words it will either copy the note directly to the chosen location or place the content directly in that location.

Scriv Scratchpad CopyHow does that work? I just wrote an example note and sent the copy to this post in my Blogs 2015 project. It creates a sub-document to the document in which the text is located. No more lost notes, now it’s in a specific location.

When I choose to append, it puts the text at the very end of the document. This is handy for something like what I was doing last night and should have used the Scratchpad for instead of bouncing around between projects to do. I had placed some notes in my journal about my novella, What Is Needed, regarding a change to the ending. I could have easily used Scratchpad to write that ending and, as long as the project was open, append that content to What Is Needed.

Scriv Scratchpad Appended

You can write in a document while the Scratchpad is open so if you work on a large screen or multiple montiors you can drag it around and leave it open. Also, there’s a feature to print contents of your screen and save it or even choose part of a document to print to screen like this:

Scriv Scratchpad Printscreen

So Scrivener’s Scretchpad is a simple tool for making notes and inserting them into documents or making screenshots that you can save or insert as a note somewhere else. It’s a handy tool I plan to use more often. Since you can use the keyword to turn it on quickly, you can use the same keyboard command to close it so you can toggle in and out of Scratchpad as needed. Give it a try and see what you can do to better track your odd notes, ideas and such and then insert them as necessary into other projects.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyDo you often lose track of your notes either on paper or in Scrivener? If you use Scratchpad, how do you make use of it? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.

 

Updated: 4 Reasons Why I Published a Short Ebook

With The Black Bag released almost a year I wanted I’m re-sharing why I choose the timing. This story has been published in other venues over the last few years and serves as a resource for my author platform so here are four reasons why I chose to publish it last year well in advance of The Bow of Destiny.

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Black Bag Cover

1. For the experience – I wanted to learn more about actually self-publishing and what better way than to format the text and create my own cover. I used Mark Coker’s Style Guide in working through this small project and found it very helpful in understanding all that goes into finishing a product for release.

I’ve learned a lot about self-publishing a book over the last year which has been very beneficial.

2. For the exposure – as an author there are several ways I gain exposure. The first is by beginning to identify my platform with a product. Next a title available during crowdfunding is helpful as a finished product to offer in a reward package and a tangible example of my writing for prospective supporters . Lastly, having a product available is great for extending the reach of my platform during pre-marketing The Bow of Destiny which can be shared on social media, especially Pinterest where a visual representation can be displayed.

Self-publishing a short book gave me access to such venues as Rave Reviews Book Club and having an author page on Goodreads.

3. For promotional value – As I note above, this short story can be packaged a reward in crowdfunding. Also the ebook can be used as a giveaway during pre-release orders and early after the release of The Bow of Destiny.

As you’ll see below I’m going to release at least one short story as an ebook this summer that’s related to my upcoming novel due out in Sepetember.

4. Finally, it serves as a small income stream when not being used for promotional purposes.

UPDATE: This short story e-book was released last year, 6/24/2014. During that time I’ve learned a lot about self-publishing. I plan to release another short story entitled, What Is Needed (though I’m toying with a title change). This new story is related to my novel, The Bow of Destiny, due out in late September (2015).

Have you self-published a short story? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Can Your Character Survive A Flaw?

These days, all characters have flaws be it physical, mental or emotional. So if you give your main character a flaw that is integral to your story can your character survive said flaw?

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George R. R. Martin gives us a great example in Tyrion from A Song of Fire and Ice series (better known as HBO’s Game of Thrones). He’s a dwarf with physical limitations to his legs. Not only this but he’s viewed negatively by most everyone around him because of his flaws. He even gains a few more during the course of the series through battle as well as toting a load of emotional baggage. As effective as this characterization is, could he actually survive this flaw as long as he has in real life?

FightingI’m glad you asked. There’s a more recent archaeological discovery that has subsequently brought just such a real-life case to light. Richard III of England’s grave was discovered under a parking lot 2011. For those who are unfamiliar with Richard, he died in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 which pretty much ended the Wars of the Roses. One way he was identified was by a specific physical handicap – severe scoliosis or curvature of the spine. By severe I mean a 30% curvature – very noticeable. The unusual thing is that all accounts of the battle indicate that Richard fought with great skill and nearly won the battle. He unhorsed a jousting champion, killed Henry Tudor’s standard-bearer and almost killed Henry.

A recent episode of Secrets of the Dead actually examined whether Richard III could actually have functioned as a knight on the battlefield. They found a volunteer with very similar scoliosis and began to determine what his physical capabilities were. They realized that Richard would have needed specially designed armor and that the medieval saddle would have benefited him with greater support. In the show, they were able to outfit their volunteer and give him some basic training as a re-enactor. They were even able to show that Richard would have been able to ride in the charge and effectively use weaponry.

knights fightingHowever, physical limitations were also discovered. The re-enactor had less stamina due to the scoliosis affecting his ability to breathe well during exertion. In spite of Richard’s skills and training he may well have been just as limited.

Richard lost the battle for a number of reasons one of which was Lord Stanley’s failure to advance behind the initial charge. But Richard favored fast charges and ending battles quickly. If you lacked stamina for long physical exertions you would likely choose the same strategy. However, in this instance the charge actually took much longer. I could see Richard almost making it to victory only to be thwarted by his own malady as much as other circumstances. This one time, Richard likely misjudged the circumstances due to “the fog of war”. Had he known or thought it through better he might have chosen a different strategy. But maybe all outcomes would have been the same if Lord Stanley was indeed a traitor.

So as a writer of fantasy, I’m looking harder at my future characters and the flaws I can give them just to twist my plots tighter. Can my character’s survive their flaws? Will they be trapped into exposing their difficulties to enemies through lack of choices – political and otherwise? It’s certainly a way to add more spice to conflict in a story.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyPlease share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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photos via Morguefile.com – free section and Microsoft Office clipart

coverart commissioned