Friday, October 23, 2009

Scrivener for Writers

I switched from WriteItNow3 to the ‘Mac only’ Scrivener program about two years ago. There are many features Scrivener offers that can enhance your writing experience.

From this sample taken from my first novel, you can see the scene files on the left in the 'binder'. I chose to title them with sequential days because the timeframe was important to the plot and it was easier to keep track but you can name them Scene 1, Scene 2, etc. Notice each scene gets a Synopsis/index card in the inspector on the top right. The top line is the name of the file. Under it are the key phrases for the scene.

Under the synopsis are the Labels and Status options. You decide what works for you. I used the colored labels for pov, turning points, etc. The Status is just as flexible and is shown in the tutorial tracking first draft, 1st revision, final draft.

Insert a note you need on hand for the project or the document in the notes and keywords section.

Daily project targets help you stay on track with your progress. Notice the coded chapter headings in the document and the continuity of the scene names at the top of the program, in the document and on the synopsis card.

I mentioned the ability to keep research within the project file. The Research section is below the draft on the tree in the Binder. You can drag html, links, images, maps, all into a file in the research section. Build characters there, track your settings, or create a whole separate Scrivener file to hold research for a bigger project like a series and drag and drop from one to the other.

When you get ready to take a broader look there are several ways to view you WIP.

As an outline where labels, synopsis card and scene names are viewable and draggable.

Select a group of files and view or format them as one with 'Edit Scrivenings'. Or view as a corkboard, which is like a storyboard where index cards can be dragged around. The labels you apply to your cards show up on your corkboard like this one and you can adjust how many cards per row.

Or select several scenes and view them, copy/paste them into Word processor.

A great way to get familiar with Scrivener is through the interactive Tutorial in the Help file of the program. Still have questions? Maybe you'd like to know how other writers use Scrivener. Visit the forum at Literature and Latte.

Though it’s not the most difficult program to use, a lot of the features are not for beginners either. Like exporting the file using the 'Compile draft' feature. It may take you several attempts to get your ‘compiled draft’ to work with the formatting of chapter headings, font, and layout. But if you're adept with Word you can probably fix it. Or you can simply choose the entire draft, copy it and paste to Word.

Again, this program is only available for Macs and you can try it before you buy it like all the programs I've mentioned this week.

If you need an easier to use program for Mac or PC with seemless Export to rtf feature, check out my previous blog on Write It Now 4.03.

Monday – Writer’s Café, for Macs and PCs.


salamanderstales said...

Oooh! I LOVE the corkboard with the virtual index cards!

I'm gonna have to try this...thanks for blogging about it!

Marley Delarose, Author said...

I love Scrivener for that feature which is another reason I like Writer's Cafe, also for Macs. Check back Monday for that.
And thanks for visiting.

Rebecca said...

Thanks so much for this post. I just got scrivener and it was so helpful to see how another writer sets everything up. I'm off to go color code everything now!

Marley Delarose, Author said...

Glad it helped you, Rebecca. Come back next week when I'll be covering setting up keywords in Scrivener.