Skipping this month.

Sorry all, but due to an injury, I’ll be taking the month off.

See you in August.

Toolbox 31: Let Me Introduce You to The Inspector

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.


As most of you know, I use and love Scrivener. Mostly because helps me organize my work. But I also use The Inspector specifically for tracking what I’ve written. It is versatile.

Here’s what I do to fine tune The inspector.

You’d find The Inspector on the right side of the window. It can be turned on/off by clicking on the big i in the blue circle.

It’s broken down into sections: Synopsis, General Meta-Data + the bottom section that changes depending on what button is highlighted at the top.


Is a perfect place to write a logline for each chapter or a slice of your outline. 😉

General Meta-Data:

  • Label: I tend to use this to follow my plot (& subplots), or on occasion POV characters. The color can be changed for each label, so that a quick look in The Binder (possibly another post) tells you where you’re heavy.
  • Status: On The Corkboard, I can easily see how close my project is to completion. Some status choices are: 1st draft, 2nd draft, before beta read, after beta, polished + notes only.

Note: Both, Label and Status, and their subtitles are edited through a separate window. To open it, click on the drop-down menu to the right of either Label or Status then click on edit.

  • The last three refer to the act of collecting and printing the WIP.
    • Include in Compile: Tick the box if you wish to include the scene in your printed project.
    • Page Break Before: Tick the box if you want to insert a page break before a chapter/scene.
    • Compile As-Is: In the compile section you can change the project’s formatting, however, if you prefer to format as you go tick this box.

The bottom section is controlled by the buttons at the top.

Right to left: Document Notes, Document References, Keywords, Custom Meta-Data, Snapshots, and Comments + Footnotes.

Document Notes (Project Notes):

When selected, there is a drop-down menu and you may choose between either Project Notes and Document Notes.

If it is not obvious, comments noted on the Project Notes can be accessed from anywhere within the project. Any notes on the Document Notes can only be accessed when on the associated page.

I think of this as my fix-it-later place. Learned this from NaNo, when I don’t want to stop and don’t want to forget what I’ll need to change later. I’m sure you’ve been there. 😉

Document References (Project References):

Again you have the choice of a Document References or Project References from the drop-down menu. Further a long is a ‘+’ with a downward arrow to add an item  and a ‘-‘ to remove an item.

The choices are:

  1. Add Internal Reference: creates a link to another part of your project.
  2. Look Up + Add External Reference: creates a link to a file somewhere on your computer.
  3. Create External Reference: creates a link to a website.


No doubt you know how versatile keywords can be. Assign them to clues, characters, settings, or whatever you’d like.

You can add ‘+’, remove ‘-‘, or access all the Keywords within the project with the ‘gear wheel’.

Clicking on the gear wheel lets, you organize them within a hierarchy.

I assign a heading of characters, settings, items, clues and list the actual names of each underneath.

I tend to drag and drop them from the big list as I need them.

Custom Meta-Data:

At first glance it’s an empty space. You’ll want to change that. To the very right is a gear wheel. Click it and it opens the same window as before. You should see tabs: Label, Status, Custom Meta-Data, and Project Properties.

Once the window is open you can make a checklist of things you want to track using the ‘+’, ‘-‘. The up-arrow, and a down-arrow can move your list around.

What do you want to track? Timelines, Emotional level 1-5, Setting tags. It can be almost anything. For longer answers click the word-wrap button. If you like colors… Well, I think you know what to do.

Here’s my list.

If it’s not obvious, you fill in the blanks with your answers.

The Project Properties Tab:

Is where you can add your name, the project title, etc. This is primarily used when compiling. The entries are used in the header/footer of the resulting document.


Snapshots is another fave of mine. A quick back-up of any scene. Click the ‘+’ and an exact copy is made. Each is saved with a date & time as well as a title. Don’t like how the revision went and want to start again. Rollback and its as if you didn’t do a thing.

I use this (along with Status) to track what I’ve done so far. Some titles of my Snapshots are: 1st Draft, Revision #, After Beta Read, etc.

Comments + Footnotes:

Comments + Footnotes are more for Non-Fiction. I rarely use them unless I want to check a fact in a sentence. Like I said sucky memory.

I’m hoping with the headings that you only hopped around the post. It’s much longer than my usual. Don’t mean to bore you, but hey, Scrivener is jam packed with possibilities.

Thanks for dropping by. If you have any questions, I’ll gladly share.

IWSG 73: Psst! I have a Secret


This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



 Pat Garcia | J.Q. Rose | Natalie Aguirre


Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

I tend to be an open book. No pun intended.

One thing that may not be obvious is I’ve got a terrible memory. It comes in handy when rereading or rewatching something. Sometimes I go through the whole thing before I realize I’d been there before.

Sounds like a laugh until I try to remember where I added a detail, or if I added a detail in a chapter?

Not so much fun for a writer when they spend just as much time rereading their work as writing new pages.

Out of self-defense I started using Scrivener.

Some say they don’t have time to learn how to use it. I hear that. But since I’ve gone through the tutorial several times and I think have mastered it. I save so much time.

Some say that they don’t want to stop and collect data to save in different files. Okay. To each, their own. But the five to ten minutes I do use to file away data on characters, settings, and items, saved me hours of looking and finding that stupid detail I was sure was in chapter two and I find in chapter nine.

A place for everything and everything in its place. Whoot!

A quick click I can check eye color or the type of drapes in someone’s house without reading pages and pages. Where did I leave the clue and who has it now?

Using Scrivener has given me hours of writing time which to me is a huge success.

Anyone use Scrivener or have tips to help them remember details? Please share. All of us want to know your tricks of the trade.

Cover Reveal: The Medusa Effect by J.S. Pailly

Book Blurb:

Litho is a peaceful, isolated colony world on the frontier of space.  Nothing bad ever happens there.  So when a reporter from the Tomorrow News Network shows up, nobody takes much notice.  Nobody except a young colonist named Milo.
Milo is a bit of a news junkie.  He knows all about the Tomorrow News Network, a news organization run by time travelers, and he knows all about Talie Tappler, the reporter they’ve sent to Litho.  Talie has a reputation for covering war, chaos, and galactic devastation.
So why has Talie come to Litho Colony?  What big, breaking news event has attracted her attention?  Milo doesn’t know, but he’s determined to find out, because whatever Talie Tappler’s big story is, it cannot possibly be good news.

Author Bio:

J.S. Pailly is an artist, writer, and science blogger.  In his day job, he works in the news department of a local television station.  The 24 hour news cycle can often feel repetitive, even predictable.  After covering the same kinds of stories day after day, week after week, year after year, people in the news business may start to feel like they really do know the future–and that is where the inspiration for the Tomorrow News Network came from.
Please visit to learn more about the Tomorrow News Network series and J.S. Pailly’s other creative works.

Toolbox 30: Free Courses Through My Local Library

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.


My life is quiet right now. No doubt, many of you feel the same way. Boredom was my enemy until I discovered my local library’s website linked to free courses. I’m a lifelong learner. So yay for me!

How I got there.

It may not be the same for you, but here’s what I did. On my library’s main menu, I clicked on the Research tab. That led to the Gale Courses. From there I chose what I wanted: Research Methods for Writers, and Mystery Writing. That was where my heart was but there were many more to choose from.

In my world of writing and my day-to-day life, I want quick direct answers. I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole and spend hours digging through information for one fact when I’m only touching on information in passing. My goal is to avoid infodumps. For me and for my readers.

I retrieved the fact to keep to the truth and that’s where it ended for me.

And it turned out that sometimes my quick in-and-put plan failed. If anyone has read Minor Error, you’d know what I mean. My facts were not as accurate as they should have been. Eventually, I moved it from the sci-fi genre to the sci-fantasy genre because I loved the images I created as inaccurate as there were.

The Course Pointed out that:

  • I needed to make a plan. (Mind-maps work well for this.)
  • I should determine what exactly I need to know to figure out where I need to go.
  • I might start with an internet search and land up anywhere.

I tried:

Google Scholar, and Google Books

And landed up:

Now that I’ve stuck my toe in, I know I’ll be more diligent. I want my readers to enjoy what I’ve imagined and not get kick out of the story because I was sloppy. Bottom line: I will still make mistakes because I’m human, not because I’m lazy.

How deep do you dive-in when seeking facts? Any links you’d care to share?