Scrivener, Day 1

Writing-Clip-Art-300x300Yesterday I fired up Scrivener for the first time. I read all the way through the tutorial, then uploaded a novella (32K) into it, and started to mess around with the program.

Now, to preface things here, I’ll say that I’m pretty good with figuring out what computer programs do, figuring out work-arounds, and getting them to do what I want. Most programs don’t present a challenge for me. Therefore, whatever I say here may not apply to you.

After loading in my novella, I broke it up into Parts and Scenes, added a few items to the ‘Research’ area, and created an outline on the program’s Corkboard (a very handy feature for someone who quickly tires of writing index cards.) All of that was simple after reading the tutorials. And when I got through that, I already had a good idea when the program would be useful for me.

I think that the longer I write, the better the program will work. So for drafting novels, it will be very nice. Short stories, no. I’m still not sure about novellas. 30-40K is an easy length for me, and I think that’s on the cusp of Scrivener usefulness/non-usefulness.

When I draft a scene, I will be able to attach date, location, POV character, clothes, to the actual scene itself. I can view the scenes in sequence or individually. I can group them by date (which is probably what I’ll do since I don’t put in chapters until the next draft.) Essentially, Scrivener seems to act like a series of interactive file folders, which will be very useful when I’m trying to figure out initial structure.

What Scrivener will not be useful for is later drafts. I probably won’t finish drafting the novella in Scrivener because I’m already past the creation stage…I’m at the edits stage.

Scrivener is missing some very useful aspects of Word. The one I’ve already noticed is that Scrivener doesn’t have a right-click “Synonyms” function. Wow, after only a few hours, that’s the ONE THING I noticed that I really wish it had. (You can check the Online Thesaurus, but that’s not nearly as handy as right-clicking and having your answers pop up.)

So my verdict is that when I’m creating a new draft or working on an outline, THEN Scrivener will be nice. But after that, we’re exporting to Word so I can get real editing done.


8 thoughts on “Scrivener, Day 1

  1. I use scrivener to write hearing decision for the Housing Authority I work for presently. I find it useful to organize and put seemingly unrelated data/writing in one location that has easy access to refer too once I get to the actual decision. I have found as a research/writing app it is better than anything else I have tried to devise over the last several years.

  2. I keep meaning to try this, but as a seat-of-the-pants writer with the organisational skills of an inept governmental department, I don’t think it will work for me.

    1. I do think it would work better for someone who’s out there -looking- for an organizational tool. Which means it won’t benefit pansters much ;o)

  3. I *never* leave Scrivener to go to Word. During editing, it’s great, because I can make and track notes on a scene by scene, chapter by chapter, or line by line basis.

    After editing, I published my epub and mobi files directly from Scrivener, which generates lovely, clean ebook files.

    And although it doesn’t quite have everything needed to generate your print book interiors (it’s notably lacking widow/orphan control and fine-grained hyphenation control) it’s close enough to do in a pinch for book typesetting.

    I’ve even converted old books written in Word to Scrivener, just for doing minor edits and republishing.

    1. I think that would work for lot of people. My publishers uses Word, though, so sooner or later I -must- convert.

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