My Favorite New Way to Organize Pretty Much Everything: Scapple!

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!) 


(All images above were created by me or obtained from the Scapple website or  Pixabay.) 

58 thoughts on “My Favorite New Way to Organize Pretty Much Everything: Scapple!

  1. Craig also uses a storyboard, Marcia, but I think he uses a pinterest one. I have started collecting my ideas and research material in pinterest but I don’t think it really constitutes a story board. I must try it as I currently keep everything in my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can try it for free, Robbie, and see what you think. Just remember that how you use it depends on your own needs, and it isn’t necessary to use every bell and whistle available. I use it mostly for notes and what-if stuff, along with a summation of each Chapter & Scene so I can see it at a glance. You don’t even have to fancy it up with pretty backgrounds or colors, either. I just enjoy that part, but it’s not necessary at all.

      Hope you’ll find it helpful! Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to let me know.

      Like

  2. I’m with you on Scrivener. But as great as this looks, it looks overwhelming – like Scrivener lol. I joined something like this a few years ago and haven’t been back since. I think it was called Trello 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • The best thing about it is that it’s NOT overwhelming at all. You can just click on the icon, and start making notes on a plain background. You don’t have to do the extras like pretty colors and lines between notes. But ALL of your notes and ideas are in one place, popping right up with one click. And unlike the other bulletin boards I found, this one resides on your computer and you don’t have to visit their site to use it. It really IS easy and handy, and you can use–or ignore–all the fancy stuff, if you like. 🙂 Honest. 🙂 Hope you’ll check it out one day when you have time. (If that ever happens! 😀 )

      Liked by 1 person

    • Believe it or not, Jessica, there’s nothing complicated about it at all. Once it’s installed, you just click on the app, choose New, and a blank board pops up. You can start typing notes immediately. All the colors and pretty things are extras, but not necessary at all for a basic bulletin board. You don’t have to connect your notes in any manner, either, unless you want to. (And connecting them just involves dropping Note B on top of Note A, and letting go. It pops back to where it was with a line between the two notes. Useful for some things, but not at all necessary.)

      Scapple gives you the basics, and using all the colors and stuff is purely optional. HONEST. 😀 If I can do it, I know you can, too, though if you’re happy with your present system, that’s fine, too. D Thanks for dropping in and taking a moment to comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t come across Scapple before but It sounds a match made in heaven for me. My writing area is a desk under the stairs and the space is finite and inflexible. My granddaughter and husband use whiteboards to very good effect but there’s nowhere for me to put one. Sometimes when I’m writing I remember something important that needs doing or that would work for my WIP, the only way I can keep the flow going is to write whatever it is on a piece of paper and put it to one side. Many of these reminders expire before I find them. Scapple looks like a brilliant solution to my problem – as long as I can work out how to set it up! Thanks, Marcia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds perfect for you, Trish, and it isn’t hard to set up at all. Once you do, you can take your time on whether you want to fancy it up a bit, or just have a plainer main board where you can add notes any time you want. It’s great to click on that icon and open the program in an instant. And your notes are right there beside you when you need them. You can even drag and drop documents and pictures onto it if you wish. And best of all, you can give the free version a try first to be sure it’s what you want. But even the paid version is reasonably priced, so it’s a great deal. I already have ten different boards set up for different things and can easily envision adding more.

      So glad you’re interested in checking it out, and hope it’s just the ticket for what you need. Good luck, and thanks for taking a minute to let me know you’re interested. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re very welcome, Bette. I hope you’ll take a look to see if you think it’s something you can use. Remember, it can be used for any kind of notes, records, lists, so it’s not just a writing tool. It has replaced all of my refrigerator notes and little scratch pads all over the place. (Except for grocery lists, which I keep on a transparent wipe-off surface on the fridge, so we can take a picture of it before heading to the store. 😀 ) Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As soon as I have some breathing room I’m going to give the free trial a go and see if I like it. I have tried so many organizational apps and I always end up going back to post-it notes, spreadsheets, and handwritten notes. I would LOVE to find something that works for me.This looks like a cool program. I just have to find the time to sit down, watch the tutorial, and play around with it. Thanks for the intro, Marcia. I love your enthusiasm!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not hard to get started at all, Mae, You don’t have to set up anything fancy to give it a try. Just open a new board, and start typing a note. But if you’re like me, you’ll want different boards for different things, and I especially like to be sure they each have a distinctive appearance. I think when you have time to take a look, you’ll be interested in trying out the free version. There’s nothing like being able to click on a Taskbar icon and have your board of choice pop right up for you, ready to go. Hope you’ll find it useful, even if you decide not to change your storyboarding techniques. Thanks for stopping by today. Hope Nano is going well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You know me. I’m a confirmed storyboarder and have seven active boards at the moment. This isn’t the program I use, but it looks wonderful. I’m kind of boring. I like my cork background then leave it that way, but I’ve been known to add photos, checklists, and now strings that link events in different parts of stories. Glad you found something that works for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I had to pick one, it would be the corkboard background, too Craig, but I can use any image or texture I want for a background, so I chose something that “felt right” for each series. It helps me get in the mood, and this really does work for me. Plus, it’s the only one I’d found to date that lets me keep it on my computer and use offline, which I like. (There could be others that I haven’t found, but now, I’ve stopped looking.) As someone I know used to tell me quite often, there’s a reason the grocery store carries vanilla, chocolate, AND strawberry in the freezer. Something for everybody. And another old expression I really believe in: if it ain’t broke, don’t FIX it. You’ve found a system that works for you and that’s great. And now I can do a little bit of storyboarding, too, or at least a more glorified “What-If” sheet. Thanks for stopping by, Craig! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • It has made a HUGE difference in how I organize my personal and business life, and in how I keep track of ideas for my stories. Now I can easily do as much or as little storyboarding as I wish and keep it a click away on my computer. Hope you find it useful! And thanks for stopping by, Jacquie! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing, Mark. If you like to keep your notes, files, and photos organized, this is a wonderful program. And if you want a way to storyboard digitally, it works better than any program I’ve tried. Hope some of your followers will check it out! 🙂

      Like

    • It’s useful for so much more than storyboard, Judi. It has replaced my refrigerator as THE place for To-do Lists and Post-It notes, all available to me with one click, without leaving my chair. I collect quotes and am setting up a board for those, where I can scan through them at a glance. Since you can drag and drop photos and documents, there are infinite ways to organize your life more efficiently, even if you don’t storyboard. Hope you’ll give it a look and see what you think. Won’t cost a thing to try it out and experiment. 🙂 Good luck! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think you might be impressed with the versatility, and as I mentioned to Dan below, there’s no law that says you have to use just one, either. Maybe you’ll prefer Scapple for some uses and Trello for others. It’s worth a looksee, anyway. And thanks so much for stopping by today, Jan! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just want everything on my PC, so I don’t have to get up to make notes, etc. Plus my handwriting (even my printing) has become abysmal. 🙄Happily, I can still type. So far. 😉 And I love that I can drag and drop jpgs or full Word docs, etc. For me, it’s the best of all worlds. And I’m happy to share the overview. I figured some people would be drawn to it immediately, some not so much, and others will at least give it a try to see if it works for them. It’s a great place to organize photos for inspiration too, by the way, all in one handy place and opened with one click. Thanks for dropping in today, Sue! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a fabulous way to organize photos and documents, as well as new notes, Dan. I LOVE having “inspiration” photos around while I write and can only fit so many on the cork wall area behind my desk. With this, I can keep others all in one spot, and can open it to remind myself of how certain locations look, or how a minor character might appear. It’s free to check it out, so why not? You may find you have uses for it you haven’t even thought of yet. And no law says it has to be your ONLY organization tool. 😀 Thanks for stopping by today and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never heard of Scapple, but this looks like something that could benefit me. I have a habit of making notes in a notebook about my WIP and then forgetting about them. Having them front and center would sure be beneficial. Thanks, Marcia!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Teri. Just don’t be overwhelmed at all the things it can do. It can also be just as simple and basic as you want. But if you need a place to organize your notes about anything at all, this might be exactly right for you. With it residing in your taskbar it’s always one click away, too. Easy! Hope you get a chance to check it out and that you enjoy it as much as I do. Thanks for stopping by today! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. As much as I love Scrivener, I’ve shied away from Scapple. I’ve never been a storyboarder and I absolutely HATE projects at work that require process change and linking. The last screen shot is what made me run in the opposite direction. However, I do like your storyboards. Not sure I’m ready to dive in (pretty sure I did a free trial a few years ago and promptly deleted it). For now, I’ll stick with the spreadsheets I developed for characters and settings but I can see this would be helpful for many. But who knows? Maybe I’ll give it another try before I begin my next book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure I’d ever end up with anything as complicated as that particular image from their site, either, Joan. But that’s the beauty. The boards can be as simple as you like, with basic notes pinned to it. I have one that kinds of like all the notes that are usually stuck on my refrigerator and I LOVE that aspect. My individual series boards are done in colors or images that fit the theme, just because I like them, but my general purpose board looks just like any physical bulletin board you’d use, and simply has useful notes and lists posted to it. Even if I wasn’t a writer, I’d keep that one because I need all the help staying organized I can get. 🙂 Birthday lists, To-do lists, dates for things like changing a/c filters, bill due dates and pmts made, all sorts of stuff on that one that I find amazingly helpful. AND, bonus! My refrigerator stays clean! 😀

      Thanks for dropping in to comment this morning! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been playing with Scapple for the last three projects I’ve worked on, and I really like it. And I’m sure I’m still just scratching the surface of what it can do. It’s helping me break out of my “ordered list” mode of thinking and make connections between characters and plot points much faster than I would otherwise. It’s a really handy tool, more powerful than it looks, and an incredible bargain at the price.

    Thanks for highlighting it here, Marcia.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My pleasure to pass it along, Staci. I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed working with it, and as you’ve discovered, the possibilities are almost limitless. You can use it just fine in its most basic form, with a plain background and plain white notes, or you can gussy it up to suit your taste. I always feel happier with colors I love and some extra touches here and there, so I set my boards up in various ways. But even if I just used one “look” for every board (probably the cork background and white notes), I’d love the way it helps me organize my thoughts. I’ve always used folders for each book before, but it’s even nicer to see all my notes spread out in front of me at the same time. One thing I did was set up a note about an event I’m planning to write and then smaller notes for how it would impact each character connected to it. It’s visually inspiring when I see it laid out like that. But the sky’s the limit as far as options and ways to use this one.

      Thanks for letting us know you enjoy it, too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for reblogging, Steve. It’s a great way to let more folks know about this helpful program, and I hope you’ll check it out, too. It sure has helped me! 🙂

      Like

    • You are very welcome, Gwen. I’ve been so happy with this one, I really wanted to pass the word. Hope you’ll find it as useful as I do, for any number of things. My memory has gotten so horrible lately that I use it for keeping track of way more things than I mentioned today. It beats the notes all over the refrigerator, for sure! 😀 Thanks so much for dropping in and taking a moment to comment, Gwen! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • The thing I like best about Scapple is it isn’t just a writing or brainstorming tool, Jill. It’s also a great way to organize all your lists, instead of having Post-It Notes (real or virtual) stuck all over the place. I love that aspect and use my general board every day. I hope you get a chance to check it out and see what you think. And I hope you find it as useful as have. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great! I’m so glad it might be helpful to you, Jill. Just remember, you can keep it as simple as you like, or go for broke with various options. Whatever works best for your needs. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have! 🙂

        Like

    • I’m so glad you are enjoying it, Harmony! And yep, you can change the background endlessly. At the top of the inspector, your first options are Note Style (which lets you set font size, color, and borders) or Document where you can set the background color or add photo of your own, or a textured background. (I have a lot of those on file from wallpaper sites, and I like using them.) And you can even choose your favorite to set as a default, so each new board opens to it, if you prefer one style/color for everything.

      I’m with you. This is the most efficient and easy way to use a virtual bulletin board I’ve found so far, and it has helped me organize all sorts of things. My What-If files have expanded into actual brainstorming notes, too. I’m a fan for life, I think. 🙂

      Thanks for taking a minute to let us know how much you enjoy this program. I hope a lot of folks will give it a try to see if it works for them as well. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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