Monday, September 26, 2011

$10 for your Scrivener input.

Today I'm calling on each of you to add your input. We're going to talk a little about a writing tool called Scrivener.

A lot of the authors I speak with, and the blogs I visit, mention this product as the be-all and end-all when it comes to keeping writing clear, correct, and organized. Having always been easily influenced, I decided to take the plunge and download a trial copy. I must admit, it is a very robust writing tool, although somewhat intimidating for the beginning user.

So, with that said, I'm asking for your input. If you're a Scrivener user, tell us about it. What do you like about it? How do you use it? And what's the first step in getting started? In other words, if you were a new user, what information would you need in order to start using the program to create a new book? Be as verbose and detailed as you wish (you're a writer, aren't you?) If you'd like to give a step-by-step tutorial, or a link to a tutorial you found helpful, that's fine, too. We're taking any and all info that you can furnish. Think of yourself as a teacher. And there's a bonus for being helpful.

$10 Barnes & Nobel Gift Certificate.

In order to encourage you to participate, I'm going to send one of you a $10 Barnes & Nobel Gift Certificate. But there are some stipulations. First: There must be at least ten comments with some helpful information. Your comment doesn't have to be high-tech or lengthy. Just something to help the new user get started. Second stipulation: There is only one entry allowed per person. If you supply a YouTube link, you also need to include some additional information in your comment on what the video covers and why you found it helpful.

Final stipulation regards the deadline. I'll accept comments until the end of the week. The cutoff time is midnight (Central Time) on Friday, September 30, 2011. So be sure to add your comment prior to that time to be eligible. Winner will be selected by a random number generation system.

Good luck! And thanks for participating.


  1. I'm a Scrivener user and I love it!

    I started using Scrivener when I started my first novel a few months ago. At first I watched the 10-minute video tutorial and then watched the extended (30 mins) video tutorial. After this a was a prepared beginner.

    Because I wasn't feeling too confident yet, I opened the starters' document for novels that comes with the package and went through that. This document tutorial took me a few hours to complete, but it gives a really solid overview of all the functions and made me a confident intermediate user.

    When I started writing, I first created a separate document for every scene and wrote a one-sentence summary on the cork board card. Then I started from the top and started writing. I'm now 20k into my first novel and am loving it.

    After setting up my novel, I took a short story that needed rewriting and split it into scenes like I did with the novel. In doing so, I handed myself the option of playing with the scene sequence by switching to the cork board view and I discovered I could make the short much more interesting by telling it in reverse chronology. If I hadn't had Scrivener to play with my scene chronology I would never have discovered this!

    I've written a few posts on my own website with Scrivener tips; if you're interested look for them under the Scrivener tag. And feel free to ask any questions.

    Look forward to reading how other writers use Scrivener!


  2. I hate it.

    The interface is huge, the document handling is clunky. Every single scene is a new document. Every character, every city, every ship, everything that I want to keep track of is in the database.

    I can't just *write* -- the story doesn't flow. I have to keep stopping and putting the pieces in the right places so I can find them later. Done with this scene, ok, start another one -- new document, same chapter? New chapter? Stop and think. All the time stopping.

    I hate it.

    But after only two weeks of writing with it, I'm cursing that it's a beta (I'm running linux) and I can't just pay for it and have it done with. The latest beta is set to expire while I'm traveling and I don't know if I'll be able to get the new one or not.

    The truth is, I can write in a big document and let it all just flow if I want. Then carving it into scenes is easy. Rearranging the scenes in the chapters is easy. Moving pieces about, recovering lost's all right there. Yes, it's a pain in the butt, but yes, I have to admit it's helping to keep me organized.

    But I don't have to like it.

  3. I've used it for two books now in different ways, and I have to say I don't think I'm getting everything out of it that I could.

    But I like the way it's so easy to move chapters and scenes around, and the corkboard was invaluable when it came to writing a synopsis because the basic outline of the book was all laid out for me.

    I think as I use it more, I'll find it more useful. I like breaking my chapters into scenes because it makes attacking each section of the book less intimidating and has also made my book a lot more streamlined.

    I'm still not 100% convinced it's the right tool for me, but I haven't found anything that works better for me, so I'll stick with it a while longer.

  4. I've been using it for two years. I had the first version and it took me a while to get used to it. I have the Scrivener for Mac Version. I've gotten used to it just fine. Last year I had to upgrade it and pay more money for the newer version. The only thing I had trouble with is compiling ms into a document in the old version. But I do love it and use it more than I use Open Office.

  5. I like it! I use the scrivener beta windows version.

    What I like best is how I can move scenes around. I am not the most linear writer so sometimes I write scenes out of order.

    Or later I decide this scene should go before this one and or this chapter should really end/begin with this scene.

    Makes restructuring very easy.

  6. That is super information!! Thanks for sharing it.

  7. I can't even remember what I did first in Scrivener, or how I learned to use it. All I can say is that it works big time for me.
    I've been starting novels since I was 15. I never got anywhere near completing one. Along the way I've earned a fair bit of my living by writing. Normally I'd just fire up Word and churn out whatever it was I had to produce. If it was long I tended to get lost in the middle, but I just put that down to my inadequacies as a writer.
    Then I found Scrivener. And I wrote my first and then my second novel. My second was done as part of NaNoWriMo a couple of years back. Neither of them are finished, but I continue to work on them and they get better and better.
    I've also written a lot of other stuff in Scrivener. I've written a few plays, radio plays mainly. I've written short stories, poems and non-fiction. And I've got a lot of potential projects for the future lined up in Scrivener.
    So how to write in Scrivener. Forget all the bells and whistles. Just get into the first document in the Draft and start writing. If you have a plan, follow your plan. Add further documents as you want them. Each can be as long or as short as you want. Add new documents for chapters or people or voices or anything. Just keep writing. You'll find the tools you want when you need them. Bish, bash, bosh, it's a first draft.
    Where Scrivener really comes into its own for me is when the thing gets long, longer, longer and I start to lose track of what came before. When I go back to revise and suddenly have an idea, how about if that scene, those events, come in the book before these events. I've been able to experiment and learn so much by moving things around, taking them out, putting them back in. I also often split documents in two, breaking them into smaller and smaller parts as I get the feel for the rhythmn of the book. It's easy to add new bits in to make sense of things if you can quickly find insertion points. Sure, it involves a lot of writing and working out, but if I was still in a Word document it would be an absolute nightmare.
    There's a lot more to it than that, of course, but to me it means I feel in control of my novel. And every time I press Compile and get a full version out to read through I bless Scrivener all over again.

  8. This site sounds great ,I am going to check it out!

  9. Ihad a hard time with Scrivner, but my writer son loves it. I may try again when my Mac arrives.


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