A Quick Look At Scrivener

Editing Advice, Writing

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of the program Scrivener. I hesitated to purchase it for a long time because I didn’t want to put out the money for it. But I’m here to tell you – it’s worth it.

I’m only just beginning in my use of Scrivener, but I’m going to highlight a few things that I love about the program so you can get a general idea if it’d be right for you. I am not getting any kind of kickback for this, I just want to share my knowledge and help my fellow writers make good, informed decisions.

If you’re a “pantser” like me – which means you don’t do any plotting of your novels, you simply write – then you’ll like the chapters feature – see my circle below.

scrivener1

When I originally began to write my novel, What You Think You Know, I simply started a Word document and began typing. But as the text grew in length, I realized that it was difficult to scroll around to the different scenes when I wanted to make changes. Let’s face it, a book is about 50,000 words MINIMUM. That’s a lot of text to keep track of. With the chapter breakouts, you can jump around as needed without hours of scrolling for the right section. It cut my editing time in half – or more. In addition, it’s easier to move scenes around – simply drag that file to a different section. Easy peasy.

The chapter files also help when you’re getting bits and pieces edited by your critique group. What I did was print out one chapter at a time and then, once they’d edited it, I’d make changes and mark it as “edited” so I knew it had already been looked at. This helped me be consistent with the changes as well as have each section read by my critique group in the right order with no repeats.

Another thing I love is the Project Targets feature. See here:

scrivenertarget

When you begin your project, you can set up how many words you think it’ll be and set a daily target for yourself. This target is for my non-fiction book I’m working on. When I wrote my YA novel, this really helped keep me on track especially towards the end. It’s an easy way to keep yourself motivated. Towards the end of my novel, I really wanted to get to that 50,000 mark and this little device made it easy to see how much progress I was making.

If you are a plotter, Scrivener has a ton of features to help with that, too, including places for notes, pictures, ideas, background info and a place to outline. At the end, the compile feature puts everything you choose into a lovely and easy-to-use Word document that you can format for printing or ebook conversion. Also, you can have multiple projects going on at once – I have two currently in progress – and it saves the files neatly into a folder on your computer that you can easily back up into any other program like DropBox or the cloud.

In the end, I will never write anything longer than 5,000 words without Scrivener. It has helped me to organize and motivate. I know I need to utilize more of its features, but I’m still learning. If you already use Scrivener – what’s your favorite feature?

You can download the program here. And YouTube has a lot of great tutorials to get you started. Have fun and keep writing!

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