bookmark_borderFiction Writing for Beginners, Vancouver

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Introduction to Fiction Writing; Vancouver
Introduction to Fiction Writing; Vancouver

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bookmark_borderWriting Backwards

I’m writing backwards.

I’ve tried something similar before, starting from an event, treating it as the effect and then looking for potential causes. And following that with the cause for that cause, and a cause for that cause, and so on.

This time, I have a novel in progress. I pantsed the first half, building on a basic premise and principle characters, throwing ideas and moments and subplots up without deciding on an order or which ones to keep. Once I arrived well past the mid point I spent a few weeks creating revision after revision of the order of the material that had survived to that point. In order to continue, I felt as if I needed to solidify what story I had so far like a foundation for a building.

Then I did some similar pantsing, testing, trying out material and ideas for the rest, but but at some point I got the idea to write an outline of what I’d written so far, in prose, like a Coles or Spark Notes version of a novel. Trying to get some clarity and focus, or just some ideas. And then I tried summarizing what might happen next. I’ve done similar before, with shorter stories. But this time, because it is a novel, it was interesting to read what I was proposing and to try on different possibilities. Because it was prose and not notes, I could feel how various ideas might work or not work. Because of how much time and writing I had spent spinning out material and investigating the main characters, it was easy to project into their futures as if I were watching a  movie to see how well they fit. And because it was an outline, it was easy to move around and revise and try to patch plot holes.

When I arrived at a complete version (and after revising that a few times) I started writing material that might be useful. Oddly, I felt most inclined to write something very near the end; just dialog between one of the characters and two officers from Internal Affairs.

Then I went to the previous paragraph in my outline, and wrote that.

And then another.

So now I’m writing the novel like a plotter. Only I’m writing backwards.

One of the challenges writing backwards is sometimes I have to clarify details. Even though I’ve outlined all the way through I don’t remember the details of what I’m supposed to write. Was the stun gun already mentioned? Do the police have a statement yet? When I write forward I don’t have this problem because the scenes I’ve already written are firm in my mind. They exist like memories, but writing backwards is more like I watched a movie and now I have to remember the order and write the story. The firmness of the sequence of details is not the same as writing forwards because it didn’t happen (wasn’t written) in real time.

I wonder if characters who live time in reverse have this same problem? Or, if they didn’t have an outline they’d be left like someone with dementia, in the future, with no memory of how they got there.

bookmark_borderOn Mahler, Google, and Romanticism

I’m listening to Mahler on Spotify. Randomly selected his 5th Symphony because it came up first.

I’m using it as background music while I’m working, but I started to wonder why I’ve never been a Mahler fan. I stop to pay more attention. It’s the middle of a movement and I probably should have started my attentiveness at the beginning, but I don’t hear classic melodies and development, not that I expected Beethoven, given Mahler’s late Romantic time frame. I hear motifs and fragments being varied and built on, like stream of consciousness writing or a particular style of jazz improvisation where the improvisor is focused on fragments and development. It’s coherent, with a string of logic, but I can’t make sense overall of it. As if someone is talking on and on in English but on a topic I have no experience with.

So I think it would help if I looked at some musical analysis that would point out key elements and how they are being used.

But instead of motifs, developmental techniques, structure, Google’s results seem as if no one understands music theory:

  • “a musical representation of the Nietzsche’s concept of amor fati”?
  • “contains every type of emotion”?
  • “This is country music, by turns ebullient, nostalgic, and a mite parodistic”?

What is this supposed to tell me?

These are like program notes for an orchestra concert. Utterly useless for my purpose.

Or maybe that’s the point; that’s what Google thinks I want for when I search “mahler symphony 5 musical analysis”. It reinterprets my search using searches from everyone else in the world.


Unfortunately, my searches are often not the same as the rest of the world. Nor do I find it useful when Google tries to “help” me.

I’m often searching for information relevant to characters in my stories. Characters in my stories often have extreme lives or are in extreme circumstances. It’s very nice that Google wants to provide help lines and counselling and self-help sites when I search “type of depression” or “extended grief characteristics” but it refuses to give me what I’m searching for, which is information or details, and not pages and pages of help. Sometimes, five pages down I find a site that is sort of useful and there I discover a word or term to force Google to be more useful, and in one of those sites I find another term to force Google closer and maybe I start to find what I’m looking for, fifteen minutes and a dozen dead ends into my search.

Duckduckgo is often better by not trying to be so ‘helpful’ and not reinterpreting my search for me, but it has the problem that enclosing words in quotation marks does not force the search results to always include that word. Quotation marks are taken as “suggestions” and make the word occur “more frequently” in the results.


Fortunately for my Mahler experience I found a two hand reduction of the symphony so I was able to do my own analysis. The first movement makes more sense to me now, yet I’m still left in with the question ‘why’. It still feels like stream of consciousness wanderings in a way that I don’t feel when I listen to Wagner or Strauss, or to works from later composers like Debussy or Schoenberg.

It’s not all so challenging. The fifth movement opens with Copland-esque (yes, I know Copland is decades later) spaces and fragments and then fugatto and I’m good, I can understand ‘why’s in this movement.

Maybe this is like when I only had a superficial appreciation for Mozart until Salieri explained him to me. Or, maybe Mahler is the epitome of late Romanticism and in my depths I’m just not a romantic, the way that I have so much difficulty reading romance genre. Mahler and Danielle Steele?

bookmark_borderDreaming Emotions from the Story

Before I went to sleep last night I wrote a few hundred words in a scene where my main character’s cheek is grazed sparring in karate class. The near miss triggers her and she retaliates, out of control, not pulling and controlling her kick and she hurts her classmate. I also started sketching the next scene where her Sensei has to talk with her after class.

As the writer, I’m playing the role of the triggered heroine who feels confusion and fear and shame but also the roles of the teacher/mentor and of the system/rules/morals. What does the community center require in the case of an injury? What is the Sensei required to say, either per the community center or per the karate association or per karate tradition or per his personal morals and position of leadership? And how does the heroine react to what she has done and to what the Sensei tells her?

I am (kind of sort of) the leader of a fiction writing group. In a dream last night I did something out of bounds, something connected to the group. I don’t remember what the infraction was but I had decided to penalize myself by not allowing myself to attend the next one or possibly the next two group meetings. I had not told anyone about this decision and I’m not even sure who knew of my transgression yet.

In the next scene that I remember a bunch of us (not writing group people) were in a vehicle travelling though a touristy area. We stopped at a store like an ice cream shop that displayed treats behind glass and I ordered something. My father (who in reality passed away at 94 but when he appears in my dreams he’s often in his fifties, which makes sense because I’m usually in my twenties) didn’t think I should be ordering anything. He felt that given what I had done I shouldn’t be allowed a treat but I went ahead and ordered anyway, paying for it myself. I already knew that I planned to penalize myself by missing the next group meeting and that was enough.

So in my dream I played the guilty main character as well as the judge determining my penalty, just as in writing my story I was playing the heroine and the Sensei and the community center.  I’m less clear on the role my father was playing. My writing insecurity? He was a bit off to the side, not directly involved, almost like a reminder. Perhaps my writing group, evaluating my story?

Or the role of the karate association or even the law; some higher authority overriding my judgement? Or the court of public opinion? Or just my father?

And what does it say that I chose to ignore him?

I’m not certain that these scenes are going to stay in the novel. In the drafting stage I’m throwing vignettes against the wall and seeing which ones stick and which ones play well with others. These ones last night were painful to write (and still are as I work with them, filling them out and extending them). I have to experience the regret and shame and confusion inherent in the moments to be able to write them.

I am pushing myself toward these kinds of difficult-to-experience plot choices. Not because it’s good for me personally (it’s like digging at scabs with a knife by myself, as opposed to having a trained surgeon do the work or just using a fingernail). I do this because I hope that these are good for the story. Some of my original ideas were lacking in conflict and were too simple, too safe, too YA-ish. So far I’ve pushed the narrator and her father further apart by making them combative rather than just distant, and I’ve removed a random rapist and instead had an existing character unexpectedly try to rape the heroine, and now have taken a safe and supportive karate club environment and forced a wedge between my narrator and the club by allowing her to snap and lose control and hurt someone.

The goal: to up the stakes, to increase the pressure on the heroine, to make the arc more meaningful, to push the reader along.

bookmark_borderWriting Each Subplot Separately

My plan for my novel includes one primary inciting incident, followed by internal and external struggles, and ending with an opportunity for the protagonist to finish what was interrupted the first time.

But I don’t have a lot of material for the middle, partly because she’s been struggling with this for years prior to the inciting incident.

I am pantsing. I started with an interesting character and wrote some old incidents and some internal narrative where she tries to understand both herself and how she fits into the world. This allowed me to write myself into the story and to learn about her so I have a lot of backstory that shows why her unusual trait is difficult to live with. I don’t want to put all of that before the inciting incident. That would push the incident far back and might risk losing the reader, as if the opening of Star Wars had spent the first half an hour showing Luke’s childhood. The alternative is to put this all as flashback in the middle build but they are stand alone vignettes and internal narrative and lack action and forward propulsion. Too much of that will stall the story.

As I’ve been writing myself into the story I’ve discovered that her relationship with her father is another sub plot. I knew they were distant, I knew some of the reasons why, but as I wrote I felt there was more to it. Now I have a vague plan for this to be revealed and for the protagonist and probably her father as well to understand this and to grow through it and to come out the other side changed. In other words, this is a separate plot with its own arc.

What I enjoy most about writing is solving the puzzles. Once I realized that the relationship with her father is a subplot I also saw that I can decide the structure after I write the three plot lines: the main one, and her internal struggle before and after the inciting incident, and her relationship with her father. I can write them as three separate stories and figure out how to merge them and what order to present them to the reader after they’re done or nearly done.

Life, even a fictional character’s life, does not always nicely follow the three act or hero’s journey structure.

This feels good, meaning, quite possibly the right solution.

It is freeing to see this because it gives me some direction but it also allows me to write the plots separately. I don’t have to worry about the opening or when the backstory should appear or about generating more middle. I can continue pantsing, exploring more aspects of the characters and trying out more history and building a more complete psychological and family profile given what I already know and the circumstances that have already befallen them and what I anticipate happening soon. My hope is that parts of the two sub plots will fit naturally into the middle build filling it out so I don’t have to scramble around for more material.

The advantage of using Scrivener to write is that it will be easy for me to use three separate folders and then play around with different sequences when I try merging them. I’ll even try arranging everything sequentially and see how that feels once I get close to a complete first draft. And maybe a late inciting incident will work for this story since there is an earlier incident that plays in both of the other two plots. At this moment, though, I don’t see that the earlier one can be the primary incident since it doesn’t play a role in the main story except as context. It’s true that her development is the basis of the story but the inciting incident of the main plot is what pushes her to a crisis point, and I’d like to start near the end of the story.


It’s fun to be inside the world of a novel.

I haven’t been this far inside the creation of a new novel in a very long time. Around 2013 I started to focus on improving my prose which led to shorter works. At the time I had a novel in the works but I had difficulty with the ending so I put it aside. Last spring I picked it up and finished it, but finishing an old novel was a different experience than the creation process that I’m in now.

In 2015 I wrote a few chapters of a story that I felt had the potential to drive a novel. For NaNoWriMo 2022 I picked that up and wrote into it, meaning I wrote any scenes or internal narrative that I could think of to expand or to help define the character and her situation as I understood it (and in the process, I redefined my understanding). There was other unrelated NaNo writing too but I came out with 10,000 new words of character thoughts, interactions with other characters, background moments or scenes or information for the story. I felt as if I was throwing anything and everything against a wall to see what sticks.

Some have stuck, for now, and others have moved into a Scrivener folder I call “Not ready for prime time”; material where I’m no longer confident that the event or characters or voice is a good fit. Since then I’ve added another 10,000 words of potential story, I’ve made character and plot theories, and done new or additional research on coyotes, on grief recovery, histrionics, parentification, and myths. I’ve done Story Grid analysis and decided it’s primarily a morality story with horror elements which gives me some hints in terms of plot and character and character arc targets. I have a tentative skeleton of major actions.

And I have a list of more than twenty moments that I think I should write. Most of these are not ones that tie into the primary plot. Instead they are further defining her situation and key traits and secondary characters to be layered in before and during what I see as the call to action. I write these moments when I feel I have sufficient research or sense of the voice or ways to get at them.

The list makes it easy to see whether every aspect of her personality and situation is being represented and to keep track without doing the writing yet. Something like an outline, except I have no idea about the order. This makes it seem like the story is a character sketch, and it is. I’m writing as if I were sketching and organizing a memoir, which is, I think, the way a novel should be written. I suspect some of these will need to be pruned or merged once I’ve got a complete draft but if get them all down at least I have them available for consideration.

At the same time I’m plucking at these moments and at other things such as the themes, and at unclear elements like characters who have not appeared yet, or traits of existing characters that don’t feel right, and at my research notes, and at targets like the Story Grid elements, and at my hopes for what I want the reader to get from the story. I’m plucking at all these things to see if to see if they will provide more moments to write.

I’m inside the character, feeling around for memories and thoughts and experiences to show who she is and why. I’m doing the same with secondary characters and with my character’s situation and with the proposed plot and with themes too, searching around inside for consistencies and inconsistencies and weaknesses and logical outgrowths and trying to figure out how to show these. And trying to make connections, trying to choose pieces that will hold together, trying to make it all make sense.

I’m getting buried within the novel and it’s a lot of fun. A novel is a much bigger world than a short story so it takes longer, and the longer you live with it, the more it becomes an alternative reality that you also live in.

bookmark_borderMe, on CBC

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recently published an article I wrote: “We Let Our Father Die”.

It was the most viewed piece on CBC that day. Early in the morning it was being read by over a thousand readers, more than twice the next most. Later it was even higher and still more than twice as many readers as the latest from the Ukraine. By evening it had dropped to a little over 400 but that was still ahead of the next most read article at 275.

Apparently the story was trending so hard that if you started Google on your cell phone in Vancouver the article would be within the top few suggestions.

Comments were open. I logged in and liked all the pleasant ones; the ones wishing me well or thanking me for writing about the topic but I did not reply or do more as they continued. There were over 200 when comments were closed.

This was much more than I expected. I am pleased for the CBC and for my producer that it did so well for them. I am pleased that it touched something that many people had an interest in and a desire to talk to and talk about. I am pleased that something that I wrote (with much assistance from my editor since I have no journalism and little non-fiction writing experience) was read by thousands of people.

I am also pleased that my contact information *was not included*.

I am not an activist. I don’t want to participate in discussions about grief or MAID or about similar stories or situations. I don’t want be considered an expert. Neither do I need to be healed, especially by strangers by long distance.

I am happy the story resonated with readers but I’m also happy I am not required to reply to their comments. That would be not only exhausting but triggering.

During a discussion I nearly snapped when someone attempted to help. They explained why I shouldn’t feel bad, that I “had done the right thing so I shouldn’t feel xxx or yyy.” I was furious and about to leave the meeting to stop myself from saying how angry they were making me, but they stopped.

They were trying make me feel better. But they were doing so by trying to convince me that my reactions were wrong, that I shouldn’t feel what I felt because … and I don’t even remember which of the arguments they used: my father was 94, people didn’t used to live this long, he had a DNR, his quality of life had diminished so much, he wasn’t likely to improve, or their parent had been in a similar situation and they had told them … I don’t remember. I was too angry.

I was surprised by my reaction. I thought I was past the emotional parts. When I worked on the last revision of the article I noticed I was trying to edit in past tense: “I felt…”, “I was…” instead of I feel guilty, I am angry, because those emotions weren’t active any longer. I kept the revision in present tense though because those feelings were active when I wrote them down.

Evidently it is a wound that can still be opened.

There is a difference between a few comments among many posted in a setting where I don’t have to respond, versus listening to them from someone I know. And a difference between suggestions or considerations being offered, versus being told a story with the implication that it is the same thing that you experienced with a different reaction or that your emotions are wrong because you’re not seeing your story the way someone else sees it.

What soothed me was to skim through the article comments later, probably paying more attention to the reassuring and supportive ones: the “thank you for sharing”, the “I felt the same way” ones.

Apparently the salve for being told your feelings are wrong, is feeling heard.

bookmark_borderCheating Writers’ Block: Getting the Story Un-Stuck by Seeing Outside the Box

Looking from inside the character or story and trying to see what’s next can be difficult. Trying to visualize what is going to happen or what needs to happen based on tensions and history and theme is a lot like method acting except that the author has no script to follow. And yet as a pantser this is what I try to do to forage ahead in a story.

(this is a continuation from the previous post where I recently experimented with listing bad plot ideas to help me find a way forward with my stories)

This is the box I sometimes get trapped in.

It is difficult to foretell the characters’ future and the story’s future. The author needs to have one foot inside the character (or characters) and another inside the story (as if the story is another character). From inside, it can be hard to foresee destiny. To see around the corner, to solve what’s going to happen is not always easy in life, nor when writing fiction.

As individuals we can try to guess who might be at the party Friday night or whether we will get the job we interviewed for. As readers and movie watchers we can try to predict what’s going to happen: will the officer wearing the red uniform in Star Trek be killed, will the heroine face challenges but end up with her soul-mate? But some of the most satisfying stories do not allow us to predict the outcome so easily but when we get there it feels inevitable.

It makes sense, then, if it’s hard to see one’s own future and if unpredictable outcomes are desirable, an author should also struggle to get there.

This is why making a list of bad plot ideas is useful. Not ‘bad’ as in negative outcomes such as being embarrassed at a party but bad as in outlandish, or random, or clichĂ©.

Because I’m looking for ideas to throw away, these bad ideas have no expected value and carry less judgement and less attachment and the range of results is open much wider. I am flung outside the box and into the realm of the useless, the ridiculous, the boring, the politically incorrect, the racist/homophobic/misanthropic or fantasy/SF/horror/porn/thriller or other outside-the-given-genre based outcomes.

This tactic has similarities to mind-mapping or brainstorming because I’m foraging for ideas but the difference is that I’m intentionally trying to find bad ideas, ones that are silly or barely connected or so far out there they don’t make much sense. I’m trying to stretch as far away from my material (and the writer’s block) as I can.

After I have 12 or 15 bad ideas I work through why each alternative won’t work. Why exactly does it not fit the existing characters or situation or genre or theme? Doing so gives me a clearer definition of what it is that I am looking for, but more importantly, I find that some of the ideas—sometimes with some tweaking or in combination with others—are not impossible. The benefit of now building the plot from modified ‘bad ideas’ is that they may be surprising to the reader. They were, after all, outside the range of what the author had been able to conceive from inside the box.


Alternatively, Emma Coats of Pixar tweeted a list of writing advice. Number 9 is: “When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.”

If that works for you, use it. I read that advice years ago and it didn’t work for me. Maybe what was meant by “wouldn’t happen next” is the same as my list of bad ideas but I interpreted “wouldn’t happen” as a negative, in other words, something that moves the story backward or blocks it. Nemo gets caught in a net and end of story, for example, or Buzz Lightyear becomes inanimate and unable to speak or move. Things that, as the writer, I wouldn’t have happen next.

Those certainly are bad ideas but they are also story killer ideas. Maybe you could work off those and eventually end up with Nemo being put in an aquarium or Buzz and Woody being taken by another child but that’s a long ways to go.

I prefer to take the skeleton of my existing plot and try to connect to it from other genres or from clichĂ©s or from random events. That’s been enough to help me find my way to useful combinations of modified bad ideas and to find a way forward with some story fragments that were stuck.

bookmark_borderCheating Writer’s Block

Some claim writer’s block doesn’t exist. If you go all Zen it doesn’t exist but then neither does the writing.

I am a pantser so I have no outline or plot when I start. I also write mostly short forms and have way too many fragments that have solid potential in voice or character or situation but are stuck because I can’t see where they are going.

When I’m stuck, these are some of the things that I try to help me move forward.

  • interview main character(s) or put them on a therapist’s couch and let them ramble
  • write vignettes from POV of minor characters (or put them on the couch) that will not be used directly, scenes that can add depth but can also give another perspective and trigger an idea
  • write histories of the main characters or of settings or situations outside of the main draft to explore possibilities and/or add depth. These may not even fit the story or character but I’m trying to get close and to trigger ideas
  • detail the theme on a conscious level (as opposed to only sensing it) and try to use that to help me grope a direction
  • show the incomplete writing to my wife or a writing group and ask for help
  • brainstorming/mind mapping:  write down any words that come to mind and any words suggested by those new words around the theme or a character or a situation. A variation on this is to export to an .html file and get Edge to read aloud, then note words or phrases that seem to stick out and see if they trigger ideas.
  • similarly, make a list of ‘all’ possible plot directions and permeations with sticky notes or on a spreadsheet. Obviously you will never actually list all.
  • if it’s a long story try jumping forward and write something in the future. This may give you something to work toward.
  • similarly, if I have internal narrative or history or interactions or scenes that are bubbling to the surface, write any fragment that is connected to the story. I have one story where I’m still not sure of the structure or the order or if it’s finished but there are now twenty-two sections saved in two different orders (I use Scrivener so copying and having multiple versions is easy). When I wrote I was in that world and situation and kept writing anything that came to mind without worrying how it was going to fit together or if I was going to use it, it was just all connected.

Many of these ways have similarities to method acting in that they require exploration and fleshing out beyond what’s on the page. If you know the character deeply and truly enough you can improvise or know how they would respond in situations not in the script or novel.


There are other methods that don’t work for me:

  • “When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand,” says Raymond Chandler, or use some other object or new character or event (or writing prompt) to shake things up.
  • write badly to keep writing and keep the story in motion, the idea being that the bad material can be removed in later drafts

These are widely offered on the internet, but the problem with them is that they could be part of any story, not necessarily the story that attracted me and I find doing these to be fruitless. I don’t mind trying to feel my way forward but I want to be working on the story that I felt was worthy of being finished, exploring potential ideas that are consistent with my existing characters, situation, voice, direction, and prose quality.


I believe that there are viable extensions to my dozen or more quality fragments. The character is so interesting or the setting so vivid or the situation brimming with emotional bristles that I can sense something is there, I just have to find it.

I just need one answer.

One perfect or nearly perfect one.

One that feels close enough that I can flesh it out so that it touches all the key facets of the characters, setting, and situation.


Lately I’ve been pressing on a fragment that I’m fond of but it refuses to tell me what is going to happen. I’ve tried my standard approaches and nothing has surfaced that feels right. I pedaled for some time trying to find more but I was drawing blank.

So instead of writing badly I tried to make a list of bad ideas. I tried to come up with ten bad ones: managed eight on first attempt, came up with three more later. But some of them weren’t awful. Trying to come up with bad ones faded the ‘box’ that I was in (as in ‘think outside the box’) and allowed me to find some that weren’t so awful, and, tangentially, some versions with even more potential. I tried writing one of the more unusual but possible ones but it spun a little to far off the rails.

Then, I went through and explained why each of those were too far off the mark. Too SF/fantasy for this story. Too extreme, turns the story into something much bigger than it feels like it should be. Too random, no reason for something like this to happen and I don’t see how it adds to the story. Doesn’t fit the characters as I see them.

The point of this list of bad ideas and evaluating why they are bad is two fold: to develop an idea of what doesn’t fit and why not which hopefully leads to a better definition of what I am looking for, and to open the box and see if one of these ideas or their variations are worth exploring.



bookmark_borderDangerous Writing App

Here’s a unique site I keep in my writing bookmarks.

If you don’t keep typing it will erase what you’ve done. If you hesitate, the font turns reddish-brown and fuzzy but it returns to normal if you begin typing again. If you don’t start typing as it is becoming fuzzier, a popup blocks you from adding any more words.

But, don’t worry; even after the popup there is still an option to export what you have typed to a Word document. It’s not lost, you just can’t continue working on it on that site.

There is also an option to allow it to generate a starting line for you and it will paste that line into your document. You can start typing from there, or edit it or delete it if you decide you don’t like it, or you can start with no prompt. The default writing period is five minutes but you can change that before you begin.

This pressure can be good for warmup writing, or for stream of consciousness exploration of a topic or situation or character, or for forcing yourself out of the habit of too much editing during a first draft. I wouldn’t use it for NaNoWriMo except in small bursts; that level of pressured writing to get a daily word count of 1,700 would be too much.


That writing prompt website is provided by Squibler. Squibler is not a product I use. It’s cloud and subscription based. Instead, I use Scrivener because it gives me total control (and backup responsibility) so I can use it offline and it’s not expensive. It took a while to get used to it but I love the way I can dump research and character investigations and ideas and analysis and cut or rewritten texts into side documents. In Word I tried to use comments and track changes and footnotes and separate documents to accomplish this (I don’t know why Word doesn’t have an ability to group documents the way Excel allows multiple tabs) but none of those alternatives are as easy to manage as the multiple folders within a single Scrivener document.