Using Scrivener to Organize Your Novel

scrivenerI have heard from many aspiring authors and actual published authors (even some best-selling ones) who swear to using Scrivener while writing their novels. I have been using the trial version but I had a big decision to make as it was running out. To Scrivener or not to Scrivener? That was the question.

Pros:

  1. You get a 40 day trial to see if you like it first. And it’s a super cool free trial in that the program somehow keeps track of only the days that you actually use it. So, for example, I downloaded Scrivener months ago but only opened it once or twice before other things got in the way of my writing. When I started back up in October, I was using it a lot more. And I could because the free trial had only counted the days that I had actually opened it up instead of starting the clock on the first open click and expiring exactly 40 days after that.
  2. It makes flipping from one chapter to another super easy (or moving them around).
  3. It’s only $40 – not going to break the bank. (See my note below for a deal on getting it cheaper!)***
  4. There is a NAME GENERATOR. If you are obsessive about names like me this is super cool. I don’t actually sit there and say “Oh, I need a sister for the main character – please tell me what it should be, name generator!” That would be super creepy if I was talking to a piece of software like that. But it has this thing where you can select what nationality they are for either the first or last name, what letter it should start with, etc. It helps out with times when you aren’t really familiar with what an Ancient Egyptian’s first name might be, you can totally look up some examples in the name generator.
  5. Target Word Count: You can put in your target word count for your complete manuscript and see how far along you are …and ALSO you can put in a Word Count target for your current session. So if you are not allowed to move from your chair until you get 1500 words down, you put that in your session target and voilà! Start writing and track it!
  6. Using Collections to Map out POV: I have not tried this yet but apparently you can create a Collection. Inside the collection you can make like Matt, Mike and Sebastian if those are your POV characters. Then place all their POV scenes in their respective collection and you can read JUST their parts so you can see how they flow by themselves as well as in the timeline of the story. Super neat, right?

Cons:

  1. I don’t really like the output settings. It always spits out my manuscript in Courier New and does this weird formatting thing where anything that I had italicized turns into being underlined. I don’t like that at all. I have to believe there is a way to turn that off or change it but I couldn’t readily find it and I have been too lazy to try to look it up since I am nowhere near ready to spit it out in full format for someone to read. Maybe I will do a blog post on that when I figure it out. Until then, I will whine about it.
  2. That is about it so far so…yeah, totally worth it.

If you are thinking about trying out Scrivener, I would say GO FOR IT. It has been a great experience for me and I don’t even use most of the bells and whistles! If you are reviewing the trial version, here is a hint.  A ton of people have blogged about Scrivener. Literally, type in Scrivener in the Google image word search (like I did here) and you will see a bunch of screenshots that show people explaining the different elements. It’s a goldmine of How To’s out there!

***If you decide that you want to get it (like I know you will) then use coupon code WORDSWITHJAM when you buy it and save $8 so that is only a $32 investment!! You’re welcome! :)***

Any other Scrivanerds out there that want to chime in on its awesomeness??

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4 thoughts on “Using Scrivener to Organize Your Novel

  1. I think you can change the courier font setting, as I’ve done it before. Also… the italics to underline thing is ringing a bell… I believe that either it used to be the way an author indicated they wanted italics or it still may be; but can’t remember which it is. Something to do with the publishing process before you get to typesetting. It is the typesetter who turns your underlined words into italics… i THINK. Don’t quote me.

    • Yeah, I think I read somewhere about WHY it does that. I just couldn’t readily figure out how to stop it. From the few articles I read, it said most people accept MS is Times New Roman and you can leave the italics as they are. I think when Courier New was “the” font, it was hard to identify italics in that type style so they used underline. It just totally throws me off when I look at it like that though. I feel like I’m reading a script or something!

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