Archivos and World-Building Tools

Archivos and World-Building Tools

The Internet is, in many ways, like an island on which random chests of treasure appear. While wandering its jungles, you might stumble upon something new, something incredibly value and entirely not what you thought you needed.

The most recent treasure for me is called Archivos. It allows you to strew about all the little nodes sticking around your mind from your stories and connect them all. Like one of those maps with pins and yarn going between every sticking. You put pictures on your characters, on your races and your events. Sort them all into a massive timeline and then upload maps that you’ve hand drawn to ruled notebook paper so everyone can see the exact distance between the calamity and the heroes awakening.

It’s quite neat. There’s a certain thing that happens when you start writing: your brain, after a minute or so of warming up, begins to spew forth such a racket of randomness that it’s nigh impossible to keep straight over whole novel, let alone two or three or four. Continuity errors start popping up, from the minor (she was a blond a minute ago, now she’s a brunette) to the major (didn’t he die in the last book?). To chase down and confirm these potential story-bombs, you have to hunt through your previous work to see just what you called so-and-so, or what the name was for that alien, or when the big balloon blast occur?

Archivos, provided you take the time, which is not insubstantial, to enter all the data in the first place becomes a repository for the randomness. It allows you to take the things that would normally be carving up your brain and put them into a friendly, web-based interface. You can look them up later, and even attach fancy photos if you have an image in your head.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that Archivos is very similar to the StoryShop app I wrote about earlier. Like StoryShop, Archivos isn’t really accessible off-line, at least that I’ve found. But unlike StoryShop, I don’t use it for writing. You can’t, really. It’s there for storing knowledge. A story bible creator, and in that it works just fine.

Which means I’m now making due with a bunch of tools, which I’ll list out here:

  1. Archivos for story bible/tracking
  2. Scrivener for writing.
  3. Dragon for dictation.
  4. Photoshop for graphic design.
  5. Vellum for print/ebook formatting.
  6. WordPress for things like this blog and my publishing website
  7. Hootsuite for social media jazz (just because it saves time and allows effective cross-posting)
  8. MailChimp for Newsletter jazz.

Yikes.

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