“S” is for Scrivener
What do you use to write your story? For the longest time, I used Word. Then I discovered YWriter, a free word processor designed for writers. It breaks your novel into chapters and scenes, helping you keep track of everything. And I liked it well enough. Until I discovered Scrivener!
What is so great about Scrivener?
Every writer has their own methods. My methods tend to take up space. In addition to writing software like Word, Open Office, or yWriter, I like to use note cards, pictures, maps, notebooks, and scraps of paper. Sometimes I print and sort an entire story to ensure consistency in characters’ story lines and threads. Unfortunately, I work on a laptop at the dining room table. Space is limited. Therefore, I’m happy to have discovered Scrivener!
Scrivener allows me to use my favorite methods but in a more organized way that saves space and time. Everything is kept in one file: outlines, scenes, research, character sketches, setting sketches, synopses, website links, and images.
I will share a few of my favorite features:
Scrivener offers several templates for fiction, non-fiction, scriptwriting, and more. While there is a learning curve to make use of Scrivener’s organizational tools, it is easy enough to start writing without instruction. Simply select a template, add a few chapters and scenes, and you’re ready to write. A work in progress can be copied and pasted into the new project file. A WIP with several chapters can be imported with chapters split into separate folders.
I love the “Corkboard” view. The visually minded and “plotters” who work with index cards will love this feature too. “Pantsers” will benefit from the organizational features during the revisions of their work. Chapters, sections, and scenes can be reorganized by dragging and dropping “cards” into place. Cards can be labeled and color coded. This is a great way to mark various points of view, threads, themes, and to note the stage of a scene: First Draft, Revised, Final Copy, etc.
“Collections” is another great tool. With it a writer can group scenes or chapters without affecting the order in the story “Binder.” I use this feature to focus on one character’s scenes at a time or to focus on a specific thread. While it has no effect on the true order of scenes or chapters, changes to the text are updated in the project.
A few other features: Scrivener opens where you left off, work is saved after a pause in writing, old versions can easily be saved. It has word count tools, a name generator, scratch pad, automatic synopsis generator, and several “view” choices that allow the screen to be split or the writing area full screen.
Finally, my original motivation for purchasing Scrivener: a manuscript can be published (exported) in several formats without making several copies or altering the original document. Formats include DOC, DOCX, RTF, PDF, MOBI, EPUB, ODT, TXT, etc. I can export a double-spaced document for my editor, a standard manuscript format for potential agents and publishers, and final files for self-publishing a paperback and various e-books. I’ve wasted so much time in the past, trying to create an EPUB that passes the test and is accepted by all publishers. But now, thanks to Scrivener, it’s simple.
To learn more and experience it for yourself, a free trial is available here: http://literatureandlatte.com/forum Scrivener is available for Mac and Windows, and there are plenty of “help” resources online, in addition to the built-in help file and tutorial.
I am not a Scrivener representative, just a happy writer who has stumbled upon writing software she loves.