This week I have Superromance and Carina Press author Joan Kilby talking about something that has fascinated me for a while now. SCRIVENER!! I have heard so many people say they use this program to write their books and I always wanted to know HOW that worked. I admit to thinking it sounded like just another procrastination tool to prolong actually writing the book, but I also admit to not looking into it properly at all.
Scrivener has so many great features there isn’t enough space to list them all so I’ll mention a few of my favorites.
Corkboard: Plotting is a breeze using the index cards on the corkboard to keep track of scenes. The index cards are linked to the text of the scene as you write.
- create as many cards/scenes as you like;
- tag them with colors specific to your characters’ povs;
- write a brief synopsis of the scene on the card;
- add meta-data notes, for example, the date created, first draft or revised.
- hold the cursor over a card and a popup shows you the first line of that scene.
- flip the card over and insert a photo of the pov character (if you have one).
- see at a glance the balance between different characters’ povs.
- drag the index card to a different location, and the associated scene moves within your manuscript, allowing you to rearrange scenes quickly and easily.
Here’s a link to the corkboard of scenes for my wip.
The book isn’t complete and I haven’t separated the scenes into chapters but you get the idea. You can view the manuscript in individual scenes or by clicking on the ‘Chapter’ folder at the top, scroll through the entire manuscript.
Binder: Along the left-hand side is the Binder. This contains all your scenes plus folders for each character, research where you can store hyperlinks, photos, media, and copied text plus any other folder you care to create.
Along the top are a number of icons for managing your manuscript. One of my favorites is ‘Compose.’ Click on this and everything fades to black except the text. What I really love is that by going into Preferences on my Mac I can set the background color. I then set the font color in Scrivener and I can write in white text on a teal background. I find this color combination the most restful on my eyes. I can’t get it in Word anymore, at least not in Word for Mac.
Name generator: Ever have a problem thinking up names for your characters? The Scrivener name generator, located in Edit>Writing Tools, instantly generates up to 500 first and last names in different nationalities. Love it!
Drawbacks: The biggest one for me is that I can’t use the keyboard to perform many of the editing commands the way I was used to doing in Word.
Also, you have to convert to Word once you’re ready to submit it to an editor or agent. However, that’s probably a good thing since the text is easier to edit in Word.
However, I got into a sticky situation. I compiled my proposal chapters, converted to Word, edited the chapters and then submitted them to my editor. Since then I’ve also edited the Scrivener text. Now I have two different versions of the same three chapters. I’ll have to be very careful when creating the final version that I have the most up-to-date elements of both Scrivener and Word. Of course, if you’re writing the whole manuscript before editing and submitting, you won’t have this problem.
Conclusion: I highly recommend Scrivener. The interactive tutorial that comes with it is easy to understand. You don’t need to know much to dive in and you quickly learn more simply by doing. The program was created for Mac so anyone familiar with Macs will have no problem. I understand there’s now a Scrivener for Windows.
I’m still learning about Scrivener but if anyone has questions I’d be happy to try to answer them.
Comment to go in the draw for winner’s choice of one book from my recent trilogy. For titles, excerpts and reviews, go to http://www.joankilby.com
Thanks, Rachael, for the opportunity to blog on Scrivener!
PROTECTING HER SON April 2012 Harlequin Superromance