Friday, March 22, 2013

Scrivener~What I Think Part I

I rarely write long posts, but some of you wanted the deets I've collected while utilizing my trial issue of Scrivener. So this is lengthy and even written over the span of three separate posts, but I think it's necessary. Although Scrivener offers MAC users a version--a version, from what I hear, which is a tad more advanced then the one offered to Microsoft users--I'll be highlighting the MS version, because that is the version I own.


Some writers have mentioned they prefer the word processing of Microsoft Word to Scrivener's. Initially, I felt the same way. But then I bent to the program and decided to give it a fair shot, seeing how I liked other aspects of its character like the Corkboard and Research Binder(s).

Let me begin this series by giving you a skeletal map of Scrivener's workings at the opening of a new project.

  1. Binder - step 1: the word Binder is just another word for Project. So in MS Word, when you begin a new novel, article, or screenplay, you open a new Document. In Scrivener, it's a Binder. Your Binder holds everything you have collected from research to chapters to notes to imagery for that Project. The Binder is the head of your new work.
  2. Folders - step 2: folders can be considered the body of your new work within the head, the Binder. They can be used to separate chapters, scenes, research, and numerous other things such as character sketches and plot points.
  3. Note Cards - step 3: if Binder is the head of your new work and Folders are the body, then note cards are the guts. Note cards are merely a deeper breakdown of information within the folders.

A. One of my favorite features of Word is the ability to click on a word and instantly see a handful of synonyms. Of course, I can click onto the internet and head on over to Thesaurus.com. But that takes me out of the scene or article I'm writing. In Scrivener, I have the same access except clicking on a word gives me different options. In the case of synonyms, it takes me directly to Thesaurus.com without me having to leave the document and surf the web.

B. Scrivener also automatically saves my document with each line I type. I don't know about you, but if you're like me, I waste more time pulling myself out of my document, directing my cursor to the upper left corner of Word, and saving my document--again and again and again. I'm totally necrotic about that. Lost too much work in the past, I guess. So this feature totally rocks for me.

C. Some writers like to write with the Ruler visible, while others do not. In Scrivener, as in Word, that option is available to you. When you initially open a new document there will be no ruler visible. Simply go to Format at the top of the screen and scroll down to Show Ruler. Poof!

D. It's rather easy to send off a document or share it with someone. Simply click on Export in the top toolbar, choose the format you want and the destination, and Voila!! My first time was with a short freelance article. I found Export then chose to format the document as a Word doc. and directed it to my Document folder on my laptop. Seriously. It worked. Like that easy. So easy, I couldn't find the document at first. :)

E. One of my absolute FAVORITE aspects of Scrivener is the easy access I have to any research I do.
Example: In my Binder (Project), I've created Folders containing anything from scenes to chapters to character sketches. If you opened my character folder for the novel I'm currently working on, you'd find several Note Cards - each named for a single character. This particular project contains a complex cast, so I created a sub-folder in my character folder for a separate cast of characters just to make it easier for me to develop them. (More on creating folders in Part II of my Scrivener Series.)
The exciting part and the reason I'm sharing this brief information on Folders, Sub-folders, and Note Cards is because Scrivener allowed me to import the webpages I've been using as research to develop this separate group of characters - right there on each card. THE ENTIRE ARTICLE from the research. That. Is. Awesome! It's right at my fingertips instead of having to go clicking on links and such when I want to refer to it. Hee... I got a bit giddy at this finding.
A side note to the above paragraph: I also discovered I could use the same process if I wanted to save a video for research on a note card. It's really sweet.

F. THE OUTLINER
Taken From Scrivener Site.
This is a great feature of Scrivener because you have the option of creating the outline before you write or letting it create itself as you write. It keeps track of your structure and word count of each scene and/or chapter, your current status on that specific scene/chapter, and gives you the option to use labels. I LOVE the labels. Let's say you have three separate sub-plot lines and your main plotline. You can label each with a name like Plotline A, Plotline, B and Plotline C, and color code each as well. At a simple glance, you can see where you are in your story. This really helps during revisions, giving you easy eyes to catch those plot holes. There's other great features about The Outliner like Synopsis, but I'll explain those later.

G. Snapshots is also a cool aspect of Scrivener. It allows you to take a snapshot of the folder (which could be a scene, chapter, character bio...whatever - basically its part of a document that will eventually become your completed Binder/Project), you're currently working on.
For instance: you've just written the meat of a scene and a new idea hits you. But you're not sure it will work. No problem. Simple take a snapshot of the doc as is - you can title it and all - and continue working, editing in this new idea. If the idea doesn't work and you want the info you had previously, just click on your Snapshot file and it's right there. For a more thorough explanation of Snapshots, click HERE - this writer has it down pack!
Would I recommend Scrivener? So far, sure. But you'll have to adopt an open mindset to learn the program. It's not hard, just different and new to you. Stay tuned next week for more information from my trial use of Scrivener.

30 comments:

  1. I like the part where it outlines for you as you write since I'm a devoted panster. How costly is it?

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    ReplyDelete
  2. All those folders and sub-folders sound right up my organizational alley. You should see my desk. Ugh. And I'm sure it's a learning curve, but I still would need my pen and paper and index cards. Something about keeping everything on the computer makes me nervous.

    But then again, one click within a document sounds so much better than what I currently do looking for my go-to links and encyclopedia junk.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I won this but have never used it yet. Thanks for sharing what you like about it. I may pull it out and try it at some point. Probably when I'm laid off next year and have more time. Looking forward to the rest of your advice on this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is great. I just downloaded it last week and I think if I play with it more, I would love it. Thanks for posting this. I will be checking out the rest of the post in the series.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've tried scrivner but got frustrated and quit. This makes me want to try it again!

    ReplyDelete
  6. So many writers use it, but I'm afraid I would be confused by it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I know you've been at this for a while, Sheri, so I'm happy to see it's working out for you. You did a great job of explaining Scrivener BTW. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thx, C.Lee. My second post is a little more intricate. I tried to write these posts as I was discovering Scrivener for myself.

      Delete
  8. I'd just kill for that fabulous outline spreadsheet from Scrivener. Most people I know like Scrivener better, but I'll just stay with my el-cheapo MSWord. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I use Scrivener for all my planning, but I write the manuscript in Word. I like using both. At least for now.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gulp! That sounds cool but complicated. If it saves time in the end though, it's probably worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I just recently tried gathering some material to send to a CP, and it took a little more effort than I wanted. I wanted to send my CP a compilation of all my character sheets. I tried exporting the folder, but it saved every sheet as a separate document. Then I tried "compiling" -- and I X'd off every folder I didn't want included. But it still included every document within that folder in the compile. Apparently I needed to X them out individually.

    So, in the end, I still hold my opinion that Scrivener is great for brainstorming and storing all my ideas, but I would never use it to draft a manuscript.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm....I'll have to check that part out. Haven't tried that with sheets, yet. I also heard another writer mention that they had trouble with fonts when they exported. I did, but that doesn't mean anything. LOL I'm sure I figure it out my accident. :)

      Delete
  12. I have to admit. I've been strictly MS Word. More so because I honestly haven't taken the time to try something else out and Word is familiar territory. Scrivener gets raves from everyone I know who's used it. Now if I can just get myself to try it with an open mind :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was me to a T! I needed to take the plunge and open my mind. I really think it's going to be worth it.

      Delete
  13. I like Scrivener but I know I don't use it to its full potential. I really appreciate you taking the time to break it down. I look forward to your future posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I decided to finally bite the bullet and figure this program out. And why not share what I find?? Looking forward to chatting with you again.

      Delete
  14. I just started using Scrivener. I know I haven't even scratched the surface of this software yet. Looking forward to your other posts on the topic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kari. I'm hoping these posts help others. I'd been avoiding figuring Scrivener out for some time. Figured it was time to do so and while I was at it, I might as well takes notes to share.

      Thanks for stopping by. Looking forward to seeing you again!

      Delete
  15. Thanks for the info. I tried Scrivener a few times, but really didn't put my all into it. I might have to explore it again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that was me for a while. I just didn't have the gusto to figure it out. But my latest two projects go so complicated I was confusing the heck out of myself. LOL I thought it time to try a new process. :)

      Delete
  16. Wow. This is awesome. I got Scrivener when I beat NaNo but the little I did with it I wasn't happy with. I think I just need to understand what it can do better.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm in the midst of a major revision and I keep thinking there has got to be a better way than searching and searching through my manuscript. I know a program like Scrivener would help - I just hate going through the learning curve. Thanks for the close-up of how it works!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh! I understand shying away from that learning curve. LOL I did the same thing. But I'm getting the hang of it, and I know it will be well worth it as I continue with this project and move onto the next.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

      Delete
  18. I've been using Scrivener for a while now, but I know I don't use all the features. I just like being able to move whole scenes around as I need to. The rest, I haven't really explored yet. Maybe I should....

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm considering scrivener because of all the good reports I've recently heard. My first book was a nightmare to produce

    ReplyDelete
  20. Continuing...I used MS word and it messed up. I had it formatted ininDesign and lost control of my work.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm saving this post. I've been curious about Scrivener. Thanks for taking the time to do this! You're so sweet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad it helped. I just posted part II of this Scrivener series on LinkedIn. :)

      Delete

!SPLAT Your Awesomeness! I love to hear from you!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

MY STATS