Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Joys of Scrivener

Last week I started playing around with Scrivener. For those of you who don't know, Scrivener is a word processing program "designed for authors." While there is a definite learning curve, I think it might be a great program. I'll have to continue playing around with it and learn it before I can say for sure.

Here are some things I already love about the program:
  • The index cards - these are virtual index cards and Scrivener gives you so many different ways to use them. You can create character cards, scene cards, research notes. Really, the possibilities are endless.
  • The media option - you can use the index cards to store media information. For example, for character cards and setting cards, you can import inspiration photos! Even better....
  • The split screen - you can split your screen. I love the option of having a photo on one screen and the 'editor' or writing screen on another. You can look at the setting you're trying to create or look at the character you're describing and write away. After you input all the information on these cards, you can use...
  • The corkboard - Scrivener gives you three ways to look at the information you enter. One of these is the corkboard. This little tool is amazing! I'm in the early stages of learning this program and I haven't quite figured out how to do it, but once you enter all your scene cards, you can move them around on the corkboard. When you have them where you want them, click a little button that stores those scenes in that order in the text document. I can't think of an easier way to work out plot bunnies!
So, that's what I've learned so far! If you're an author and you struggle with organizing your novel, check it out. Go through the tutorial and check out the how-to videos on YouTube. Let me know what you think!


  1. Thank you for this! I'm strongly considering upgrading my technology next time I have a little cash flow and this is one of the things I want.

    1. Hi Beth,
      There is a free 30 day trial and I started with that. When I bought it, I was able to save all the work I'd done, so there's no reason not to give it a spin! :) It will take me some time to learn all the bells and whistles, but it's worth it just for the corkboard!

  2. You're the second person in my Blog feed recently who has praised Scrivener. I must check it out.

    1. Hi Donna,
      Same here...I kept hearing about it. I really wish I'd looked at it sooner. I like the feel of a pen in my hand, but Scrivener is saving me so much time! I always have that feeling at the beginning of a new project that I can't hold all the characters and plot lines in my head at one time....this just takes that feeling right away!

  3. Hi, Kristi--

    I bought Scrivener about a year ago, and imported my second novel (The Jagged Man) into Scrivener from MS Word. It was one large chunk at that point, so I divided it into chapters (which creates a separate file in Scrivener for each chapter). Then I used Scrivener to rearrange, polish, edit, etc., the whole novel. I love the corkboard feature for restructuring chapters.

    But when I compiled the novel (to return it to Word), it was a mess. I think what happened is that parts I had written in Word originally seemed to compile the way I wanted, but parts I had written or edited in Scrivener were messed up in various ways (formatting of text was changed in several different ways, and I couldn't re-edit those sections directly in Word -- the format was unchangeable -- I had to find a correctly formatted section in Word, retype that section, then cut and paste it where I wanted it -- very tedious).

    I think if everything had been written in Scrivener to begin with, there would have been no problem, but be sure you do some experiments compiling smaller things (until you're sure you have the settings the way you want them) before you try compiling a full work. The forums at Literature and Latte were great help, though. Or, you know you can always call me with questions.


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