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Writing Help Wednesdays: Scrivener

By  Alyssa Cormier     6:43 PM    Labels:, 
       On Wednesdays, I'll be posting writing tips, software information, hardware (whether that be journals or pens, or a nice typewriters.) Also, classes, seminars and the like. Anything that might help you with your writing. This will be a more of, "Oh look, this is a thing you might want to check out"...rather than, "I'm an expert on this thing, you should use it."

Of course, this'll be suspended in April, when everyday will be a double drabble. ^_^

Lets talk about.


It's become fairly popular with writers. Kelley Armstrong, the writer of The Dark Power series and Bitten series, is an advocate for it I found out during a class of hers.

I've been using Scrivener for a year, and I gotta tell ya. I'm in no way, shape or form, an expert at it. Actually, I'm 100% certain I do not use it to it's full potential.

It cost 40$ USD (click the image above to be taken to a place you can buy it or test or a trial) but you can get it for half that if you if you do something like finish NaNoWriMo. The program runs on MAC and PC, though from what I gather the better version of the software is for MA. I run PC.

I want to say it's pretty basic. But Scrivener, like everything else, has a learning curve. At the end of the blog, I'll post links to websites and youtube tutorials because I think that those are really essential in figuring out how to work the program. So, it's not super easy. Or at least, it wasn't for me. :) The picture on the left is what it looks like. You can creature a folder for each chapter and then a text document for each scene if that's how you work. Each chapter/scene you can have notes on the cork board so you can write a summary or idea of what does into the chapter. What you're seeing is my work on a novel called Prince Phillip. I don't use the corkboard function. Also, they can be moved around and it will move the scene it is attached to as well. So it's nice handy way of rearranging your story if it needs it.

This is probably my favourite part of Scrivener. You can set word count goals for chapters, color code your chapters/scenes to set them as finished, in progress or any thing you can think of because they are customization. You can also make unique status as well.

You can also change the layout. Half and half with the Outliner or the Corkboard. Horizontal or vertical. Or you can have the plane manuscript, which is what you do all your writing in. The program can go full screen to help you avoid distractions while writing. In the end you can compile your document and export it, though I haven't had the best of luck with that feature. <.<

Prince Phillip is a year-ish old and was the first novel I did solely in Scrivener. It's only now going through a rewrite/edit and boy does it need it. :)

Scrivener also comes with Character (As you may have noticed by the breathtakingly handsome man staring you, dear Heath Ledger plays the part of Phillip in my brain.) and Setting templates that you can alter to suit your needs or use to make different ones (Planet Bio's anyones?). You can import pictures to the program, and even whole webpages. Though, these features are different on PC. I think with MAC you get to drag and drop the images but for me I have to save them to my computer and it only lets me import links to websites. At least I can have them all in one place? Arguably you could simply do all that stuffing by sorting it in folders, or even in Word. It's possible (very possible) that I haven't just figured it out yet.

The thing is, Scrivener has a lot of options and ways to use it, for myself, I probably use at it's most basic level. When it comes to learning it you can simply mess around with it and learn through trial and error, read up on it or watch some video's. I found video's worked best for me. ^_^

Some tutorials
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMjAmhmVABM by eloisejknapp
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdwnHo23Ub8 by  Literature & Latte

About Alyssa Cormier

Born in Newfoundland and currently living in Ontario. Alyssa lives with a house full of boys, 3 sons and a husband. She is a Writer, Artist and Artisan. Who, along with running an online shop called The Night Craft, takes custom commissions, and continiously works on her writing.

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