Wicked Wednesday–Scrivener: A Hot Writing Tool

On Wicked Wednesdays we all chime in about the topic of the week. This week–Scrivener!

Liz: I love Scrivener. Let’s just get that out of the way up front. I had the good fortune of discovering it right as I began the Pawsitively Organic series, so it’s made my writing life a whole lot easier. The ability to work in scenes, easily move portions of my work around while I’m editing, make notes right in the software and keep my character sketches all in the same document is like heaven – and helps my disorganized self work better and smarter.

Wicked Cozy ComputersThe Wicked Cozies had a great session on Scrivener the last morning of our retreat, sharing tips we’d each picked up along the way. Now that Barb showed me how to use keywords, I’m able to see how many characters I have in each scene using color-coding on the index card view. I’m in love! This is a great program.

Barb: I’m a Scrivener fan as well. My life has gotten very nomadic since my husband and I quit our day jobs. Parts of each book in my Maine Clambake series have been written in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, Key West, Florida and Somerville, Massachusetts. Like Liz, I love the way it keeps everything in one place and keeps me organized. I love the way I can keep character and settings folders from one book to the next. And I love how the project statistics keep me on track. Here’s a longer post I wrote awhile ago which goes into more detail about how I use Scrivener if you’re interested.

Scrivener LessonFor those who are members, Sisters in Crime New England is offering an online Scrivener class in August, with Gwen Hernandez, author of Scrivener for Dummies. Look here.

Jessie: I also use Scrivener. I love how my entire work space for a manuscript is in one location. I no longer spend any of my writing time searching through files trying to find where I left things. It has also cut down on the number of sticky notes littering my office. And like Barb, I write in more than one place. Scrivener lets you upload onto several personal machines with just one license. And updates are free and easy.

It works with Simple Note and Index Card apps for the ipad too, so on-the-go ideas are easy to capture and sync with a computer. I particularly love the tutorials over at Literature and Latte.

Edith: After learning about Scrivener from my fellow Wicked Cozy authors, I can’t wait to start using it. I use professional writing tools in my technical writing – I should also be using them in my fiction writing. But I’m being prudent. It’s never a good idea to switch tools mid project. So the minute I send off ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part to the publisher in two short weeks, I’m diving into Scrivener land! And the great thing is that it only costs $40.

Julie: My life is lists these days. So here are my five favorite things about Scrivener:

  • The character and settings templates–always on the left, ready to help you remember.
  • The notecard description that sits in the right hand corner as you type. I am a plotter, so I use the cards to help me figure out the narrative arc. And with each card a scene, the description reminds me of what I want to accomplish.
  • That you can drag scenes around, and all of the text goes with them.
  • Tags and keywords. You decide how to use them (plot points, characters), and they act as a visual aid for your cards. They are also searchable.
  • Draft One, Draft Two, Final. So you can keep track of your edits.

Gwen Hernandez (book and classes) is a godsend when you are trying to figure all of this out. And their online help is also great. Worth the effort to crack the code, because it is a wonderful tool for writers.

Sherry: I have been hearing about Scrivener from the other Wicked Cozy’s for awhile. It was great to see how it worked and why everyone likes it. I’m planning on taking the Scrivner class and transfer Tagged for Death to Scrivener!

18 Thoughts

  1. It’s possible, even probable, that I’m a fuddy-duddy, and it’s also possible that I wasn’t using it correctly, but I found Scrivner constricting. The full screen made it impossible to use the things on the bars, and I found the little screen the little screen too small. I did give it an honest shot, but things moved much more smoothly when I went back to my stone age method.

    Marilan ynn

  2. I am IT challenged. I did download the trial version of Scrivener and watched some of the how to video and freaked right out. I don’t plot I pants. I do use sticky notes and a whiteboard to keep track of plot points I want to come back to and character traits. Is Scrivener really that good that I should bother? And if I do how can I learn how to use it without watching videos which make no sense to me?

  3. I’ve been using Scrivener for the fantasy roleplaying sourcebook I’m writing and think it’s excellent. The ability to move sections around, write notes on each section and to keep everything organised in one place is great.

  4. I’m a Scrivener fan, if only because it lets me keep all the older drafts on file without sprawling over a desktop.

  5. There’s no doubt there’s a learning curve, but the more I play with it, the more I like Scrivener. Project Targets is a great feature. And if you have a chance to take Gwen Hernandez’ class, don’t miss it.

  6. You ladies have almost convinced me. I’m so sick of a jillion docs with notes, characters, plot points, etc. along with various versions of my manuscripts.

  7. If you’ve tried Scrivener and gave up on it, try again. I didn’t like it the first time out because I couldn’t really figure it out. The problem was, I didn’t really try. When I went back to it a year later, I sat down, followed a couple tutorials and haven’t looked back since. Scrivener is an essential writing tool for me now. I’m not sure how I lived without it for so long.

  8. I recently tried Scrivener, went through the whole tutorial and so on, and I have to say it does have a steep learning curve. BUT I stuck with it and in the end decided … it was NOT for me. It’s not that I don’t see how it can be an organizational miracle for many folks, but I was looking for something with the ability to leave Word, and the associate problems with it, behind, as well as the ability to produce a finished product to upload onto the various e-book sites and produce a pdf version I didn’t have to genuflect to so bizarre problems didn’t show up. Scrivener isn’t it. For the finished product you still have to go through Word and your pdf program of choice. So, not for me, I fear.

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