Scrivener—everything in one application?—You lie!


Harried writerI began using Scrivener Writing Software about a month ago. Frustrated with trying to assimilate random files, including pictures, notes, audio, and text, I ached for a better way.

My thoughts were scribbled in notebooks, on the backs of envelopes, and in various MS Word docs. Consequently, when I sat down to work, I’d pull every scrap of paper out, spread them around me, open my Word files, and try to figure it all out. I kept thinking that there had to be a better way.

Writer, P. H. Solomon, a member of Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC) and  published author, had touted Scrivener software on his blog. When he announced that App Sumo was offering Scrivener for a shamefully awesome price, I followed the link from his blog to Scrivener’s website (Literature and Latte) where I purchased it. Then, I let it sit in limbo.

A couple of months after the purchase, at my wit’s end and thoroughly fed up with pulling everything together, I Googled “how to use MS Word more efficiently”. I was tired of the juggling, and I was determined to keep my notes, pictures, and manuscript all in the same place for easier access. While searching for a way to do this in Word, I stumbled upon a euphony of comments singing Scrivener’s praises.

Scrivener, I thought. That sounds familiar. Then I remembered that I’d already downloaded it! Now was as good a time as any to try it. So you could say it was desperation that drove me to use Scrivener.

Still somewhat doubtful, I decided to give it a try and I began setting it up. First, I tried the tutorial to get a feel for what Scrivener could do. I watched a couple of You Tube videos and started to bungle my way through it.

I chose the long novel format from several formats that Scrivener provides (another one being script writing)and typed in my characters’ names and descriptions. I don’t know about most writers, but I tend to forget the secondary characters’ names if I haven’t written about them in a few days.

After I’d entered every character’s name and a brief description, I preened. Scrivener had paid for itself, right there.

Now, I no longer had to comb through pages of text to find out what I’d named someone. I could look in the sidebar called Binder and they were over there. Just that little miracle made me want to weep.

I get inspired when I look at pictures of my hero, heroine, scenery, clothing, cars, etc. Scrivener’s binder has a place for pictures and videos in its research folder. I can even open a picture and have it hang just above my text as I type its description into the text.

In the center section, the header allows me to make two columns, horizontal or vertical, so that I can see two chapters at once. This is handy because when I come up with a new idea, I can see if there’s a place in the previous chapter where I could have introduced that idea. The two columns allow me to see it and to add it.

On the right hand side of the Scrivener page, in Comments and Footnotes, I’m able to consult my notes to recall, from comments, any previous ideas I had. I can also peruse those notes for background into my characters’ motivations. I can update their dialogue or develop their characters further based on information languishing in my notes. In the past, without these notes so close, this material would have been lost.

I’m still a Scrivener novice, and this isn’t a review. It’s more of a recommendation. Scrivener helped me organize my writing and put all of my files together in one place. I can outline, research and write in one application.

The product has already made my life easier and my work process better. Now when I turn on my computer I know that everything will be in one place. Scrivener is awesome sauce! It comes with its own tutorial and YouTube also has plenty of video help.

If you’re using this software I’d like to hear how it’s working for you. What feature do you like best?



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Educator, Author, Blogger, and supporter of Independent Writers. One mystery novel, The Neon Houses, Find me on Twitter @boom_lyn.

13 thoughts on “Scrivener—everything in one application?—You lie!

  1. Reblogged this on Archer's Aim and commented:
    Thanks for the mention, Linda. Scrivener is the most handy writing software I’ve found. The more I use it the more ways I find to take advantage of all the features.

  2. I too have Scrivenor languishing somewhere on my PC. I am not brilliant with technology and anything too complicated tends to frustrate the hell out of me. I want to use it, as it sounds wonderful… Maybe it should be a new year thing for me?

  3. I’ve been using Scrivener for a couple of years now and what I like the most about it is how versatile it is with regard to customizing it to how I write.

  4. Thanks for the advice Linda! This sounds great. I’m definitely going to take a look at Scrivener.

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