Weekly Musing: Scrivener Learn to Scrivener

As I get into the revision process of my first novel, a tool I’ve heard about of is Scrivener. Scrivener is not only a word processing tool and editing tool, but also serves to provide a place to house research related to a project and help organize your thoughts.

Before NaNo, I had only heard briefly about Scrivener yet had never seen what it looked like. At one of the write-ins I attended, I finally asked someone about it since she had it open on her laptop. She gave me a quick demonstration and mentioned during NaNo, participants could download a free 30-day trial. I downloaded it but didn’t get much of a chance to look at it until December.

It didn’t seem like a hard program to learn so I went ahead and paid for it without really testing it out. The tutorial said it would take about an hour to go through the program. No problem, I thought. I started going through the tutorial and quickly realized Scrivener is a way more robust program than I was led to believe. Needless to say, it took me longer than an hour to go through the tutorial for my head swam with new information.

It’s not just a word processing tool. Scrivener allows for both text-based and visual learners to get organized. You can compare versions side by side. Look at all the documents within a folder all together, a feature I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with. There are also metrics where a writer can determine how many times a certain word or phrase pops up. You can even track stuff by character, although I’m not sure how or if I even need that feature but I’m still learning.

So far, I enjoy the character and setting sheet features quite a bit. The simple format allows me to focus my thoughts. I know I can edit them to add in categories but for now, I like them the way they are. The setting sheet is very useful since the novel I’m working on is not set in this world. Having a sample list to help me commit what this world about is proving to be beneficial.

I also appreciate having a research folder being a default in each project. I need visual aids so storing pictures and websites related to my book is great. I can easily flip back and forth in views to a picture or article while I’m working on a scene or outline or a character sheet.

The best feature, in my opinion, is the ability to hide your computer’s taskbar. In other words, if you can’t see your taskbar, you’ll be less inclined to click on that icon which opens up the internet, waiting to suck you into its black hole of nonsense.

At this point I’m just trying to keep things really basic with Scrivener. Using it to keep track of research, devoting a folder to each chapter, keeping notes, formulating an outline, using the sample sheets since that is all my mind can take in while also learning how to revise a novel. Trying to become proficient in Scrivener is not on my list. I do look forward to learning how to apply all the bells and whistles it offers in the future; I think it’ll be a powerful, efficient tool.

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