Hello! Welcome to the my new series, Story Writing with Scrivener.
Over the next several months, I’ll be teaching you some really awesome tips and tricks for writing a novel in Scrivener. These posts will be published once a week as a complement to the How to Write a Story guide.
Scrivener is an incredible piece of content-writing software that is built specifically to help you compose lengthy, complex works. Hint: your novel. Scrivener can also be used to write research papers, lectures, screenplays, stage plays, radio scripts, essays, blog series, etc.
Anything that would be tricky to whip up in your normal word processor is an absolute dream with Scrivener.
I personally use Scrivener for all my writing projects (seriously, I haven’t opened Microsoft Word in months!). I currently have three project files: my novel, my blog, and my upcoming ebook.
All of the individual files for these projects (i.e. research, notes, scenes, chapters, ideas, end notes, everything) are contained within these three project files.
If you aren’t sure if the software would really benefit you, Scrivener also offers a nonconsecutive 30 day free trial, which means that you can try out Scrivener for 30 days of your choosing.
If you don’t open a project on a certain day, Scrivener won’t dock your trial. How awesome is that? I used my free trial when completing NaNoWriMo 2014 and instantly fell in love.
There aren’t enough verbs in the English language to explain my love of Scrivener. It has streamlined my life incredibly. I used to dread opening up all my files to work on projects, but Scrivener makes it so simple to focus on your work.
I feel like I’m coming off as false here (no one can possibly love a computer program this much, right?) but I really love this thing. Like really, really. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Scrivener houses all your files in one master project file. Gone are the days of opening a million word documents. If you want to have your research notes and your current chapter open at the same time, you can. No loading, no waiting. Simply click and boom! You are looking at all of it.
2. Scrivener makes outlining easy. Not only can you organize your files in the binder (more on that in a bit), but Scrivener allows you to pin note cards on a virtual cork board, making it super duper easy for you to move scenes and chapters around within the context of your manuscript.
3. Scrivener lets you set writing goals that you can view at any time. The Project Targets feature allows you to set a word count goal for your entire manuscript as well as for each day, making it quick and painless for you to see how much you’ve written, how far you have to go, and whether or not you will finish on time at your current rate.
4. Scrivener has a full-screen mode. Easily distracted by…well, everything? Take your file into full-screen mode and write without the distraction of a task bar or the internet.
5. Scrivener lets you make comments on your work. Scrivener’s comment feature allows you to make a simple comment on your file at any time. This comment will be saved until you delete it, meaning that you can make revision notes as you write. Comments also allow you to put in a name and a time, meaning that you could send your file to a beta-reader for easy critiques.
6. Scrivener makes editing a snap. You don’t have to copy and paste your chapter to a new document before editing for fear of losing your original work. Simply take a snapshot of your document before you get started. The Roll Back button allows you to easily revert back to your original work if you don’t like the changes you’ve made.
7. Scrivener makes file identification easy. Want a simple way to identify the status and progress of a file? Scrivener allows you to give a file a label (i.e. scene) and a status (i.e. first draft) These labels and statuses are easily viewable from cork board mode, making it simple for you to decide what to work on next.
8. Scrivener allows you to tag files with keywords. Want to tag your files like you do a blog post? Give each of your files a keyword (i.e. Kate’s POV and/or plot point). You can search this keyword later and Scrivener will create a list of every file that contains that keyword.
9. Scrivener has awesome import functions. Want to import a web page, your Evernote notebooks, images, or other research? Simply click on the research folder and then go to File >> Import. You can also click and drag from your desktop. Everything you need can be stored right in your project file.
10. Scrivener lets you edit all your files continuously. In Scrivenings mode, all your files will temporarily merge, separated only by a thin line. This allows you to write or edit multiple files seamlessly.
11. Scrivener will compile and export your work for you. With templates such as Standard Manuscript Format and Screenplay, Scrivener makes compiling all your hard work a cinch. You won’t need to mess with border widths or proper line spacing. Scrivener will take care of it all. You can also choose what file type you’d like your project to export as, meaning that you can easily acquiesce to any specific requests from professors or agents.
These are just my top eleven reasons why I love Scrivener. There are, in all seriousness, countless other reasons why I urge you to give Scrivener a try. I’ll be going into detail on how to write your novel in Scrivener in coming posts.
I promise that Scrivener will transform your writing in more ways than you could ever imagine. Are you ready to give Scrivener a try? If you are still unsure, click here to download the Scrivener free trial.
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Kristen Kieffer is a writer of fantasy fiction and the creative writing coach behind She's Novel. She's made it her mission to help aspiring authors write sensational novels because obliterating expectations is her jam. Her other passions? Coffee and Tolkien, of course!