I've been posting recently about tools for writers, but the best news is new today: there's now a version of Scrivener for those of us in the overwhelming majority with Windows PCs (not Macs).
Yes, we sad little Windows people may be retro chic rather than authentically latte-geek, but we can now get our hands on one of the most popular and most powerful tools for writers, formerly purely the province of Mac users.
So what's Scrivener?
It's a combination word processor and organising tool. It allows you to bring together and reshape the many fragments that make up most of our working manuscripts, so that you can easily keep track of what's where and who is in which scene. Depends how you work, of course. Some people start at the beginning and work straight through. Scrivener or other similar packages may help you out a little, but they are a godsend for people who write snatches here and there, and have to keep the structure altogether in their heads while scrolling back and forth through a long Word document. It includes an outlining function as well as index cards for characters or places, and integrates with EndNote, for we fools who are doing academic writing.
There's been a free beta version out for a while, which I tested and which converted me pretty quickly to the Scrivener way. It has basic templates for short and long fiction, academic papers and scripts and, importantly, can synch with mobile apps like Index card, import documents you've already begun in Word (or whatever), and export to other programs such as Final Draft or Word.
The latest beta version is due out 25 March 2011 (that's the date here already, so I guess tomorrow in the US). [NB This was amended - I misunderstood the timeline when I first posted]
When the production version goes on sale, it will cost about $40.