Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Scrivener

Since it's IWSG day, I thought rather than reviewing a TV show, I'd review a word processing program. 

I remember hearing about Scrivener a while back, and at the time I thought that Word was doing an adequate job of allowing me to write. But those who were talking about Scrivener were raving. So, I kept it in the back of my mind for a future when I was ready to make the switch.

This spring I decided it was time. But, I knew I wasn't going to have time to learn a new program while I was busy covering classes long-term, so I figured it would be a summer project. Just after school got out, I took the plunge.

And it's so much better than I expected. 

I have an odd way of writing. I like to write in one document, including my asides to myself and just general things of "what do I want to say here?" (and seriously, I have written that more than once) along with writing actual story that goes into the novel. Then I copy the novel bits and those stay in a separate document. (It works for me.)

I can do this in Word. I split my screen and have two documents going at the same time. 

But in Scrivener it is so much easier to do just that. 

On the left, there's access to a bunch of files. I can jump between anything and pull it up to look at it as needed. That includes my outline or any of the other random research files I keep. I don't have to minimize a window, find a file, and then open that file. It's all at my fingertips.

The program encourages titles for chapters and scenes within chapters. Also, each scene within a chapter is given its own file. The program compiles it all into one document when needed, but while writing, it's easy to jump back to a previous scene to see if I wrote something there or not.

Each scene is also given an "index card" where I can write a quick synopsis so I know what's in that scene. Then there are the "notes". Each scene has notes and metadata and comments associated with it, so I can easily make a note to myself about something I want to do later.

The functionality of Scrivener is amazing. And I'm just starting out. I've had the thing less than a month, and I'm already a fan. 

I know I'm late to the Scrivener party, but better late than never. 

27 comments:

  1. Everyone raves about Scrivener. I think it would confuse me though.

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    1. It's taken me way less time to learn than I thought it would. I'm still feeling my way around it.

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  2. It sounds great, but I don't write anything these days besides my blog. Enjoy it. :)

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  3. That would be really handy for non-fiction.

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  4. I know so many writers who LOVE Scrivener. I've tried to use it a few times, but I just keep going back to Word.

    So glad it's working out for you!

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  5. I've heard other writers say they love Scrivener too. That's great it's working so well for you and you have more time to learn it in the summer.

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  6. I’ve heard a lot about Scrivener, but I’ve never used it. I don’t think digital planning/plotting/outlining is my thing.

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    1. But you do research, right? You can store all your research in files that you can access while you're working. And it's so easy to move things about and have random files open while you're working.

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  7. Replies
    1. It's not well-publicized. I only heard of it via blogs a few years ago.

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  8. I tried Scrivener once years ago for a free NaNoWriMo trial, but back then, I couldn't define characters and specify whose POV I was writing in and that made the software a no-go for me. I don't think I'd ever switch from yWriter, but I am curious... Does Scrivener let you set POV now?

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    1. I have no idea. I don't do that so I haven't looked for it. There are ways to define each section, and you could probably specify which POV there, but specifically for POV I did not see.

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  9. When I did NaNoWriMo years ago, I read a lot of participants raving about Scrivener. I think NaNoWriMo "winners" used to get a discount. I've also heard it has a steep learning curve. But the price also seems reasonable for the features you get. This goes in my "think about it" pile, since the only writing I'm doing right now is blogging.

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    1. I took a day to read through the instructions, and I'm still figuring things out, so steep learning curve is accurate. But I'm finding that writing is easier to do on it as I learn it, so it's a win for me.

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  10. It's funny, I have Scrivener, and have had it for years. I wrote most of one ms on it, but then switched back to MSWord. I set headings for chapters and scenes and Word has the same functionality (jumping backwards and forwards with ease, moving scenes around etc). Maybe one day I'll go back to Scrivener, but for the moment I don't see the need.

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  11. Never heard of Scrivener.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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  12. It's okay you are late to the Scrivener party, I haven't even heard about it!

    I have been writing and writing and writing for like more than 35 years. But all of that has been for articles for publications that I have worked / am working for. None of them have been long-term projects.

    The maximum word length of my articles are like about 1000. And, I have been always using Google Docs. (Of course, Remington typewriter, and pen and paper before that! I still have that typewriter.)

    I have always been thinking of writing a novel, or something longer than a 1,000-word piece. Maybe some day, when I retire, and I have more time for myself.

    Thanks for the review, Liz. Looks like it's quite good. I have bookmarked Scrivener for future use.

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  13. I have never heard of this and, knowing me, I would screw things up.

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    1. It seems pretty foolproof, so probably not.

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  14. I keep hearing glowing reports about this program, but I haven't jumped in yet.

    If you'd like something with a sci-fi, but intelligent scrip, try Manifest. I binge watched it and am now waiting for season 3...impatiently.

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    1. It's still on the bubble, and we don't know if we're getting another season, and season 3 ended on a cliffhanger. Eeek.

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  15. I never did learn a fraction of the Scrivener tools. ~shakes head~ While seriously writing, at least switching back and forth from Word helped highlight typos. :)

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  16. I love it. I can't imagine going back to Word. I love having my character sheets in the document, so if I come up with something new I can add it to the character as a defined trait.

    You'll love it for editing. Search by character to be sure the arc flows, and the NOTES! I'll leave notes in my first drafts, but when editing, my first go through I'll make copious, color-coded notes to help me easily find the things that need research, extra dialog, a question answered, or whatever.

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    1. I'm already leaving myself notes for when I edit (I'm currently on a first draft), and I can see how it's going to be so much easier when it's edit time.

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  17. I've heard people rave about Scrivener, but no one has ever been very specific. So thanks for sharing some of the specifics.

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    1. Yeah, I noticed that, too. It's hard to talk about all the functionality of it in a short post. And I'm still learning my way around. But it's got some good things that writers of longer works can use.

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