Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Scrivener Love Story

Today I want to give a shout-out to Scrivener. Scrivener is a word processor (kind of like Word) that was created especially for writers. I heard about it through word-of-mouth but hesitated to actually buy it for quite awhile. For some reason, the idea of using a new word processor really scared me, which is pretty sad because what am I going to do when I actually have to do something scary?

I eventually bit the bullet and bought it for my birthday last September, but only started using it with my latest round of revisions. It’s been a few months now and I can already say I’m obsessed.

How did I write before Scrivener?! Or, more accurately, how did I keep anything organized before Scrivener?

There is so much to this program that it’ll take me forever to learn all of the little tricks, but here are a few of my favorite features so far:

Organization

This is by far my favorite part. I like to think of myself as a somewhat organized person, but when it comes to writing a book I’m anything but organized. I jot story thoughts here and there, create files for character names (or possibly multiple files because I forgot I made the first one), to-do lists for future revisions and to-do lists for future drafts.

What’s the difference in these files? I have no idea. But now I won't have this problem.

Scrivener keeps all my files in one place, in easy viewing as I write. I can organize them all by theme (e.g. plotting notes, themes, character descriptions) and if I want to review one of the files in the middle of writing then I can bring it right up without having to search or lose my place in the other document. Plus, I’m saving all the miscellaneous websites and photos there as well so I can easily see them. LOVE that.

Digital Note cards

Another plotting/outlining/organizational tool is the ability to create a note card for each chapter (or scene) in a book. You can write anything on the note cards. I write a somewhat detailed synopsis of each chapter, including day & time, which is such a pain to keep track of. You can color-code them, view them all on one page like an outline, and move the order of the cards (i.e. chapters).


It’s SO useful and has already really helped in keeping track of pacing and plot structure.

Searching for “Voice”

I just learned about this trick, but I already love it. There’s a search bar that will locate and list every time a word appears in the document. That doesn’t sound particularly exciting, but it’s really helpful when you have multiple POV’s in a book.

With my current book, I have two characters (a guy and girl) and I don’t want them to sound exactly the same. I try to use certain words with each of the characters, but it’s hard to keep track. This will make it so easy to catch my mistakes.


So, yeah, I could go on and on about this program, but it might start to seem like I’m a paid spokesperson (which would be very cool but is not true). So, instead I’ll just say that writing a novel can be hard and confusing and I’m very thankful for anything that makes the process easier.