Scrivener is a program created by the folks at Literature & Latte for and with writers in mind. Let’s look at the Top 10 Reasons I love Scrivener and why you may love it too.
Someone asked about Scrivener the other day, which is one of my favorite programs. They wanted to know if it was good to use for longform news articles. And it is.
But it got me thinking that the program – which is heavy-duty story outlining and structuring software – can be used for shorter stories, including audio and visual scripts. I went back into my files and found a story I worked with students on where we built a script using Scrivener.
First: Scrivener is a powerful outlining and compilation program. You can use it to organize a novel, a magazine article, a legal brief. It’s so powerful that I don’t think most people scratch the surface of what it does; they use it to form chapters, move stuff around and write. Every student that I’ve shown it to as an organizational tool thinks it’s amazing. It’s especially useful if you think in stories in terms of modules.
Odds are, you’ve heard of Scrivener, even if you haven’t tried it. You’ve probably also read the late Blake Snyder‘s classic guide for writers, SAVE THE CAT. RU’s tech wizard Pat Haggerty shares his unique perspective on the two at Romance University today.
When the first version of Scrivener for Windows came out in 2011, I put off following up on it because I was busy, and because it was the first version, but last fall I decided to take the plunge. Even though I’ve only scratched the surface, I’m glad I did. I have always been a very linear writer, and I think that’s largely because of the structure imposed by a novel-length file in any word processing program. Scrivener breaks a project into manageable pieces, and lets you work on them in any order without losing control of the whole. The option of jumping easily from one section (or scene) to another is one of the features I am fast coming to love in Scrivener.
…the programmer in me cringes every time I find myself repeating a certain action. I move something on the whiteboard, and then go into my writing software and move the scene. It violates the DRY principle: Don’t Repeat Yourself. I believe this holds up as well in writing as it does in programming. If you’re going to do something, do it once and only once. So I looked for a way to get my writing software (the fabulous Scrivener by Literature & Latte) to take the place of my equivalent of Emma Darwin’s novel-planning grid or Alex Sokoloff’s whiteboard and Post-it notes.
more here » Story Structure in Scrivener AG Daws.
Scrivener has so many different features that some might not even know all of these features. Or perhaps they’re just not interested in knowing these features, at least not until they have need of these features.
Some, like me, prefer to just know the basic features of Scrivener including the ones that will be most often used. For instance, if you’re still in the process of writing your story, there is no need to know how to publish this story in Scrivener yet. There will be time for that later on when you’ve finally finished your story and you’re ready to compile it all together.
With all of the many features of Scrivener, here are the top 5 features that I consider to be the best.
At a retreat last fall, the presenter talked about a storyboard as a great tool for plotting a story. And I could see that. A storyboard allows you to visually lay out scenes in each chapter/section, move things around, make lists of possibilities, etc. You might get the same results from an outline, but a storyboard strikes me as slightly easier to use regarding lists of possibilities (e.g., “in this scene, I might…). A storyboard is also slightly more visual, if you use something like note cards – and it’s easier to move a note card than constantly copy/paste in an outline (and fight Word’s “helpful” outline reformatting – but I digress).
But what if the thought of transcribing scene synopses to index cards gives your fingers cramps? And the thought of changing those synopses as the plot evolves makes you think you might need to take stock in an company that makes 3×5 cards? Well, enter Scrivener.
I like to read and write but I also like pictures. I use Scrivener for the vast majority of my writing (obviously, why wouldn’t you), but never really got on with the Corkboard facility. It’s a visual representation of the structure you’ve created for your work, showing chapter headings, scenes etc. In the words of the people who make the software:
Each document in a Scrivener project is associated with a synopsis, which can be viewed as an index card on the corkboard or as a row in the outliner. Using Scrivener’s virtual corkboard, you can get an overview of your project and rearrange the documents using their synopses only.
But, that never fully worked for me. When dealing with synopses I want to tinker, so generally I would go into the Inspector as it was easier. It was the overview element that I struggled with. Yes, it showed me the synopses and if I read them I could get a feel for the story, but I wanted a bit more detail. For me, visualising the story at the same time as seeing where I was at was important. I like to see multiple dimensions at the same time. More than one reference point means I have something to think about rather than just look at.
The corkboard can be accessed by clicking the middle icon above
So, wanted to get a view of how the work was going as well. In particular what was the status of each scene? The project manager in me was struggling to get a helicopter view of how I was doing. What required rework, and what could I ignore for now until I’d completed the chapter/book?
more here – Scrivener | Not a natural writer….
If you plan to enter contests or submit your manuscript to an agent or publisher, you probably need to write a synopsis. Most writers I know dread writing the darn thing. In a few pages (usually in five pages or less), you are required to describe your entire manuscript, provide goals, motivations and conflicts for your main characters, explore their character arcs and include major plot points. Luckily, I’ve found a way which doesn’t totally get rid of the pain but does make the process less stressful. And I do it using Scrivener.
Corkboards are very much an American thing. As a British writer I’ve tended to find them a bit unintuitive. But the Scrivener corkboard’s grown on me a lot over the years. And now, in both Mac and Windows versions, there’s a wonderful feature that adds a lot more power to the idea for brainstorming and outlining.
In short… you can break away from the rigid outline structure, think outside the box, then go back to your scene order, or create a new one, very easily.