Happy Freya’s Day, Folks! Marcia, here. Always good to make it to Friday, but before you head off for the weekend ahead, I’d like to share a Literature & Latte program with you that I’m not sure how I ever managed to live without. Nope. Not Scrivener. Tried that, yes, but it’s not for me. Though I certainly understand how popular it is, there are too many distracting bells and whistles for me. I prefer a simpler approach to writing.
What I actually want to share with you today is L&L’s other popular program, Scapple, a product which allows you to organize pretty much everything in your life and encourages your inner storyboarder to go flat-out crazy.
Now, I’ve never been a true storyboarder, being a confirmed pantser who prefers to allow her characters free rein as their tale develops.
And even if I liked storyboarding, I wouldn’t like using physical whiteboards or bulletin boards for notes or ideas, either.
I do, however, organize pretty much my entire life on my PC, and I’ve hunted a long time for a good virtual bulletin board to keep track of To-do lists, bill payments, and other day-to-day info. I tried several over the years, but they all involved signing into a site to use online, “supposedly” privately. (Yeah, right.) I wanted one that would reside on my desktop and could be used whether online or off.
Enter Literature & Latte’s Scapple. This program has become my favorite digital bulletin board for personal use ever, AND has helped me organize my thoughts, ideas, themes, links, and character lists for each of my series, too. I guess I’ve become a kind of semi-storyboarder.
Scapple’s website has loads of helpful images and a very detailed video to get you started. They offer a free trial version, but the paid version is only $18, which to me was definitely worth investing. One of the things I love about this program is that you can set up as many boards as you wish, and it’s a cinch to pull up the one you want.
To start with, I pinned the Scapple icon to my Taskbar, and clicking on it opens this page, where you can choose “NEW” to set up a board, or “OPEN RECENT” to open one you’ve already started.
As you can see above, I have ten boards already set up and in active use, though two are just samples for the purpose of this post. Accessing each is quick and easy, and I can keep several open at once so I can work back and forth between them if I need to. Let’s take a look at my samples. This is a greatly simplified version of my main bulletin board, where I keep all my personal notes, appointments, To-do lists (both short term and long term), Bill Payments, household chores, and more. One of my favorite features is that I can set any texture or color I want for the background of each board. I chose cork for this general one. And as you can see by these quick sample notes, I can choose different colors for both backgrounds and fonts for each note. I can add borders of various widths and styles, and can also drag and drop photos or documents to the boards, as well.
The customization aspects of this program are mind boggling. I chose to use a different background for each of my boards, and I mix up the note colors however I think will help me group them better. The white box in the lower right is the Inspector, one of the easy ways you can change the style and look of your boards and notes. You can open it via Shift/Ctrl/I or you can use the menu at the top to do many of the same things.
I’ve set up a separate board for each of my series, and for my current WIP. (I never have more than one of those at a time, but I know many of you do. Happily, you can create a board for each one.) As I say, the options with this program are amazing, so you can personalize your boards any way you wish. I like “pretty,” so I choose different backgrounds and color combos for each one. But that’s just the start. There are way too many options for me to list here, but when you visit the site, you can watch a video that will give you a great overview.
Connect notes, stack them, include them in one bubble, whatever works for you. It’s all easy-peasy, and with more than one way of accessing the various options, you’ll be able to find what works best for you in no time. 😊
There is a full Scapple Manual you can read from within the program or can save to your computer as a PDF file. There’s also a Scapple Quick Start Guide which I printed out. It really helped me navigate the various options, such connecting lines between related notes. It was a great way to get started with a functioning board, even before learning all the tricks this program can do.
Honestly, I’ve barely touched on the many ways Scapple can be used to your own advantage, but I hope it’s whetted your curiosity enough to explore more on their site. (Be sure to check the video!) I highly recommend at least giving the free version a try to see how it all works. You’ve got nothing to lose, and you might be surprised at how useful it is–along with being easy and fun to work with. (Hey, if it can make even a partial storyboarder out of me, that’s saying something. 😀 )
So, what do you think? Are you considering testing Scapple out to see how it works for you? Or do you still prefer physical whiteboards and/or bulletin boards? All I can add is, I’ve found Scapple more helpful than any other virtual bulletin board I’ve tried (out of many over the years), so I really think some of you would like it. Please share your thoughts below, because as always, inquiring minds wanna know! 🙂
And that’s it for today, folks. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ll stay tuned for more of our regular Monday, Wednesday, and Friday posts here on Story Empire. Lots coming up in the days head, and I know you don’t want to miss out.
Meanwhile, I let’s all go forth to write with happy–and well organized–hearts, because those are always the very best kind, sure to make your stories MUCH better. (Yep. You guessed it: that’s MY story, an’ I’m stickin’ to it!)