My wife is a big fan of Latte & Literature’s award-winning SCRIVENER which is a tool for writers of all sorts. I’ve used it, but never have felt at home in it, with the software getting in my way as much as it helped me. I admire what it can do, but I can get by with Notepad++ or Jarte.
They also make a tool called Scapple which I do really like and enjoy. It basically is like having a big piece of cork-board and you can jam pictures and notes on it – and then connect them with different types of lines that can show flow, relationships, or both.
The image shows where I am currently at with adventure planning. It is a horror mystery adventure, so it takes a lot more pre-planning work than a dungeon delve. Horror and mystery both are about pacing – clues and dreadful knowledge need to arrive slowly at first and then in an increasing flow as your march towards the conclusion. So knowing who knows what and determining how the players dig deeper is a big part of the authoring process. Scapple does a superb job of allowing you to map out the flow of the adventure as well as the actors and the clues they have.
For $15 (or $12 for educators or students), I think Scapple is a very good deal on a very useful and handy organizational tool. I was starting to bog down envisioning the flow of the adventure and using Scapple helped pop me out of the mire and has allowed me to get almost to mid-point of the adventure. I think it will be all down hill from here!
Latte & Literature offers a free 30-day trial of Scapple which you can get at their website. Give it a try, you might like it!