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Scrivener Tips

We’ve arrived at the middle Wicked Wednesday out of five this month!

We haven’t talked about Scrivener for a while, but we [ALMOST] all use it for our writing. Wickeds, share your favorite new (or old) tip for writing fiction in Scrivener. Keywords? Compiling? Let’s let each other, and the world, know what in this fabulous application makes creating a book easier for us. On your marks, get set, dish!

Edith: I make heavy use of the synopsis card. In it (in the Inspector) I jot down the day and time the scene takes place – Thursday 4 PM, for example – and then a quick couple of sentences about what happens: “Cam drives home, reacts to news about her mom being in there with Susan.” After I read a scene to my critique group I prepend R to the synopsis so I can tell at a glance if I’ve already shared that scene. When I’m revising and I need to remember where in my list of thirty or forty scenes something happened, I can slowly mouse over the list of scenes in the Binder and the start of the synopsis shows up in a small text window.

Liz: I love the synopsis cards too, Edith. What I haven’t figured out is how to not have those little blurbs print when I compile so I don’t have to go through the word doc and delete all the extra stuff. Maybe you can show me! What I like is the ability to color code and tag things differently in the “general” section under the synopsis area. So I color code my day of the week so I can see if I have too much action each day or too little. And you can edit so the colors show in different places, like right in the binder area, or just the synopsis cards, etc. Then my next category is place, so I can see where things are happening around town. I’m sure there are tons and tons of things I haven’t figured out yet in Scrivener, but I love it so much – it makes life easier!

Oh – and one more thing. I use a Mac, and unfortunately there is no Scrivener app for iPad. BUT – I recently learned about Simplenote, which syncs with Scrivener so you can bring your scenes with you on iPad, then sync them back up in Scrivener. It saves all versions too, so you don’t have to worry about overwriting something accidentally. I love this when I have to travel for work and don’t want to bring two computers with me.

[Edith: The blurbs never show up when I compile, Liz. We’ll have to compare notes next time we get a chance!]

Jessie: I love the split screen feature which I use frequently during the revisions process. I am using it even more often now that I am writing books with more than one viewpoint character. Sometimes I want to try rewriting a scene from the other character’s POV and having the original scene in front of me whilst I do so gives me a strong sense of whether it is working in real time.

Julie: First of all, how much do I love that I’m learning more tips? My favorite thing to do these days is to figure out new ways to compile. Example? Lately I’ve compiled my scene cards into a document that I keep with me. When I have a block of time to write, I can look at that document, work on a scene, and then paste it into Scrivener when I get home. I am also color coding days of the week, so I can remember where I am. Also, if I end up moving a scene, I visually know I need to go back and change any time references.

Barb: Liz, have you tried check the Compile button=>Formatting=>uncheck synopsis (for every scene)?

I put all my character names as keywords, so the show up in the outline view when I am revising.

I prefer the screen outline view to the print one because it’s more compact, so I screen capture and print.

Edith: Outline view? That’s a new one for me! I also put my characters names as keywords. Must investigate outline view …

Sherry: Au contraire, dear Edith — I don’t use Scrivener. I tried to learn and even signed up for an online class. I started out with the lessons but soon grew impatient. I’d rather write than take time to learn the program. At Left Coast Crime a couple of authors were talking about a different program with a much easier learning curve — now if I could just remember the name of that program!

Edith: I’m sorry, Sherry! I thought we all used it. It’s never too late…

Readers: Questions about Scrivener? Things you love, or hate, about the application? Or, like Sherry, have you tried it and found it not to your liking?

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