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right side of the sheet for the characters in the order of their appearance. I color-coded characters (gray for secondary characters, orange for the hero and heroine of the third book in the series, blue for the hero and heroine of the current book, etc.).

Then, because I was bogged down in the middle of the book, I started brainstorming and adding notes on my virtual sheet. To my amazement, it helped me plot the rest of the story. Of course I had in mind a couple of main events but not the dark moment or the resolution (beyond an HEA, of course). Some of my ideas didn’t work out, so I deleted those. If an idea was incomplete, I made notes of questions and connected them to the idea note with a dotted line.

I plan to create a virtual sheet for each book in the Barbourville series, and I’ve started using Scapple to build a bible for the series. Another neat thing: if a note applies to multiple documents (such as a character description), you can drag it from sheet to sheet and it duplicates itself. You can also drag image files from the Finder onto your virtual sheet, as well as dragging text files onto the sheet.

In summary, Scapple is a simple piece of software with a great deal of potential. If you wish, you can use it just to store a few notes or, like me, you can build a bible with it. But I would never assume one method is appropriate for all writers. If you’re interested, download the free trial and decide for yourself if it’s worth your time and trouble. (Note, however, that as of this writing, Scapple is available only for Macs. I emailed the company to ask about a PC version and was told that they are working on it but can’t tie themselves to a release date yet.)

Business Briefs

Google vs. Author Guild

The fight over Google’s massive digitizing process (20 million books) continues. The eight-year battle seems to involve presenting briefs from both sides on the Google library project on a regular basis with no resolution from the court.

PW Daily

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