The Journeyman Author

On writing for writers.

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Scrivener: a writer’s best friend.

Recently I downloaded a software called Scrivener. This England-native software is designed specifically for the writer. My cousin introduced Scrivener and me. She, an English major with a special fondness for creative writing, figured we would get along. She was right.

I downloaded Scrivener a month or so ago. Though there is an option to download a free trial, I took my chances and spent the forty-five to get the full version.

That was the best forty-five dollars I have ever spent.

Scrivener is a writer’s utility tool. The software does everything I could possibly need a writing software to do. Admittedly, I haven’t even had the time to truly enjoy the full experience that Scrivener can offer. I’ve had a busy month of holidays, my own engagement, and an increased work load, so my “me time” has been somewhat limited. Ultimately, I should let Scrivener speak for itself. You can read more on it here, and, if you feel so inclined, purchase it yourself!

However, there are a many very handy features in Scrivener that make it my indispensible tool. Here are a couple of my favorites.

The Outline Tool

If I haven’t written an article about the importance of outlining your work yet, I will soon. It’s a pet peeve of mine, and something I have some very stern, very loud opinions on. That aside, Scrivener makes outlining easier than ever. Before this beautiful software, I would always write with two word documents open. On the left side of my screen, I would have my current manuscript. On the right, my manuscript’s outline.

Sometimes this can be difficult. I have an older MacBook with a thirteen inch screen. Shifting between the two documents wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but sometimes it was a pain to keep both files on my screen simultaneously without one set of text overlapping the other.

Scrivener has an outline format that keeps each individual outlined element tied to the chapter itself. For example, my twenty-four chapter book has a full outline, and each chapter description shows upon the side of the screen when I’m writing that particular chapter. It’s hard to explain. I advise you check out the Scrivener website to see what I mean.

Basically, you can write up an outline, and it will be there with you every step of the way. All in one program.

The Research Dock

The research dock can actually be used for anything. I personally use it for research. If you’re like me, you have dozens of websites, images, maps, and various other sources that you use to help you along the writing process. I have a bookmark folder dedicated to some of my online research, and a desktop folder for the downloadable content I use.

Scrivener makes this easy, too. The research dock can be used to bring in any other files and tie them directly to your Scrivener file. You can split your screen to show your manuscript on the top and your research material on the bottom. Instead of having to shift between two different programs, Scrivener allows you to keep your research and your manuscript on one platform and interchange between the two seamlessly.

Scrivener also supplied a great tutorial when you download the program to help you get the feel for it. I highly suggest fellow writers check out the Scrivener website to get a feel for what this program can truly offer. They have a version out for the PC, and rumor has it the Scrivener team is working on developing an application for the iPad, as well.

Enough with the blatant marketing! Check out Scrivener if you want to. Or don’t. All I can say is I bought the program, and I’m in love.

One of the best ways to sell a product is to create one people fall in love with, eh?

Cheers
–Mary

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