Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How to Write a Novel Using Scrivener

If you haven't heard of Scrivener, it's a program for writers, and in my opinion it's better than any of the rest. I was reluctant to try it.  You can download a free trial.  So I did.  I didn't know how to use it.  There's a tutorial, but it was too hard to follow.  I decided to pass because I couldn't figure out how to write a novel on it.  Then I kept hearing writers gushing over it.  I met someone on FB who told me they figured it out by reading a book on it.  David Hewson wrote a book called Writing a Novel with Scrivener.

I read the book and purchased the download, including a disc should anything happen to my computer.  After using it for a week I am totally in love.  How did I ever get along without you Scrivener?

Here are the reasons I love it:

1. Virtual Index Cards:  I usually write ideas on index cards and stick them on a bulky cork-board that I have to keep against the wall beside my desk.  Now I can get rid of it.  Scrivener has a virtual cork-board and the cutest index cards.  You can color code your cards.  You can mark them as To Do, First Draft, Final Draft, etc.  And the best thing is you can attach a scene to each card.  Later, when revising the manuscript, I can move the cards around without a problem and my scenes will move with them.

2.  Keywords:  David Hewson explains the keywords in his book.  He likes to use POV characters as keywords, also places, other characters, and plot points.  Then you can drag them to each scene they are involved with.  This helps later if you are like me and want to see how many scenes each character has POV in or which ones have a certain setting.

3.  Status:  Like I already said, you can label your scenes as To Do, First Draft, etc.  This will help later when you are rewriting.  Once you have a scene to your liking, you can mark it as Final Draft.  Then you will be able to see at a glance how much more you have to do.

4.  Labeling:  You can choose labels for your index cards like Character makes them red, ideas make them brown, and choosing Scenes makes them blue.  Chapters are green.  It is a very cool set-up.

5.  Compiling:  After you are through you can press the Compile button and Scrivener puts the book together for you.  Supposedly it can also make them into ebooks, but I haven't gotten to that point yet.  If this program can keep me from having to format for three days, it is worth my weight in gold.

6.  Including Pictures:  I always have actors in mind when I am writing characters.  This program gives you the option of adding a picture to each card.  Then you can see your characters at a glance.  Awesome.

This program does a lot of other things too, but I don't want to be here all day.  It's a wonderful writing tool. I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

Stephanie B said...

I have Scrivener but I haven't used it that much yet. It sounds even more amazing and helpful than I thought it was before!