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.
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.