Tips & Tricks

Scrivener

Scrivener is, at the most basic of explanation, a three-ring binder available on Windows, Mac, and iOS. It has the text capabilities of Word mixed with a corkboard, sub-folders, character descriptions, and dozens of other things like giant scrapbook, and it’s all customizable to fit your style.

It Adapts To You

You want a different layout? It’s easy enough to delete, rearrange, and customize everything in a binder, and you can have multiple binders in a single project. You can also create templates once you’ve figured out what you need and don’t need so you can create series templates or just a standard template that helps you jump into that story.

Scrivener Windows Tool

Don’t know where something goes or only have a snippet? Write it in it’s own text file, and put it where you need it to when you figure it out.

Have the research but you don’t want to open a dozen browser tabs, images, and various other materials? Stick it all in Scrivener and use the side by side function to write while you flip through your research without ever being distracted by the internet.

Scrivener Side-by-side View

Sharing

Scrivener has assembled the most common manuscript layouts, saving you time in exporting.

If I need to export a single chapter, do able. If I need to export my notes with a chapter, do able. If I need someone to look at any piece apart or together, do able.

For my style, I export to Word for my editor and handle publication formatting with Sigil and InDesign, but if you needed to share a PDF or an ebook file with a beta reader, it’s manageable.

Learning How

From Youtube to their website, and even on FB, Scrivener has many tutorials on the subject. I would recommend at least familiarizing yourself with the system through these means before trying out Scrievener.

The great thing about Scrivener‘s trial period is it’s a 30 days of USE. This means if you try it on day 1 and don’t look at it for a month, you still have 29 days. This means you can take your time to work through the tutorials as you need to while also experimenting.

Scrapple

Scrapple is a Scrivener add-on. It’s a brainstorming app, letting you draw connections between pieces of thought. In the image below is just a rough out of something I needed for my book Orb Collector while I was in converting my notes from paper to screen.

Example of Scapple used during my Orb Collector Book

Scapple actually has a lot of options when it comes to connectors, shapes, font arrangements, and more. (See a Youtube video on it here.)

Here’s another video of importing a Mind Map into Scivener on Youtube. A Mind Map can be whatever you need it to be from as simple as what I have above to more complex using Scapple.

A word of caution because I see this so many times from people who just don’t know what to do with Scrivener when they get it. It’s a program with a lot of options, and understanding those options can be overwhelming. Please, reach out to other users, watch the videos, experiment.

I give this word of caution because I see so many get it, hate it, can’t get it to do what they want, and six months down the road they realize it was a simple fix to the issue they had and now love it.

It’s a great program but it isn’t as simple as Word, and I’ll tell you now, most writers don’t get the most out of Word for the same reason they don’t get the same out of Scrivener because it takes diving in and looking for an answer when they’re not 100% of the question.

When I first tried Scrivener/saw Scrivener, I thought the program was overkill. It took using the 30 days of use trial and watching the videos, seeing what issues others had with the program via forums/FB groups to understand how useful this program is. Now, I love writing in it. I love the ability to have all my notes centralized for an entire series, for standalones, for future works, etc. Everything is in one place, and it allows me to stay on task, produce better word counts than when I used only Word, and as my writing evolves, it adapts easily enough to handle whatever I throw at it.

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