Scrivener is software that allows you to easily organise a large writing project, so that you can easily switch between scenes, arrange scenes into chapters, store your research, sort, categorise, and search. Then when you’re ready, you hit a button and it spits out a formatted manuscript or e-book. It has some neat features, like a full-screen clutter-free writing space, a random name generator, target wordcounts, and ‘snapshots’, which allow you to roll back and compare previous versions of scenes. You can get a free 30 day trial from their website and the cost of purchase is pretty low.
The one thing Scrivener doesn’t do is help you get started or coach you through structuring a story.
So I have designed myself a Scrivener template for outlining, filled with worksheets and noted up with explanations and examples to help me develop a story from embryonic idea to detailed outline / rough first draft.
developing a story concept, with sources of inspiration and writing prompts
step-by-step process for turning that concept into a three-act structure
fleshing out your 3 Act structure with twists and subplots
character worksheets for developing a character that harmonises with your plot
nifty tools for developing a range of realistic characters
places to just write, and to store scene fragments
worksheets for developing themes into your fiction
In case this is useful to other people, I am posting it here. All I ask is that if you post it on your website, put a link back here. Also, I would love any feedback, because it’s a work in progress and I hope to develop it further.
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.
I use a little program called Scrivener created by the wonderful folks over at Literature and Latte (click the link to the right for more info). It is a fantastic word processing program that meets all of my novel writing needs. Today I wanted to you how easy it is to plan and outline a novel using this program. Sometimes Scrivener has some unconventional uses like the one I am about to show you.
For the novel workshop I’m going to this summer (er, next month, yikes), I need to send people an outline. I had an outline already: a bunch of index cards stuck to my white board, color coded by point of view. Since taking a photo of it probably wouldn’t be helpful, I typed everything into Scrivener. (And forgot to take a photo of my white board before I took them all down.)
Finding it frustrating trying to look back at your topics and subtopics as you flesh out your outlines in Scrivener?
This short tutorial will show you how to use the ‘copy as table of contents’ function in Scrivener to turn a simple list into table of contents that you can view and edit while writing, even in composition mode.