I am very dual brained. The left side of my brain is the scientist in me that became a nurse and the right side of my brain is the artist that became a writer. Scrivener appeals to both sides of my brain and I will tell you how.
Over the past four weeks, I have taken a course in how to use Scrivener, a writing tool software that opens a world of creative possibilities, and will help me organize my writing process.
I have learned many practical uses for Scrivener, but the basics in how the software works are profound. Here are the highlights:
I have learned about its many features in the Binder, the Editor and the Inspector.
- The binder (left) works as an organizer, keeping all of my manuscript folders, text files, online searches, research, pics, and such in one place where I can interchange and move them around without having to move the actual text. The binder moves the text around for me very easily, no copy and paste required. I can set it up for scenes or chapters. I can have subfolders. It is like having as many notebooks as I want right at my fingertips.
- The editor (center) is my writing platform and editing platform, with all of the benefits of word, plus many others. I can format and type my project here. There are templates for anything I want to write or I can design my own. I can split my screen many ways to view and edit. I can also use a full screen mode, if I want to block out my Binder and Inspector and work without any distraction. I can click on any text file in my binder and go directly to the editor to type in that file.
- The Inspector (right) panel is my work panel, where I do the work of organizing and writing. Here I can make index cards with synopses, devise keywords that will follow my project around keeping me cued on what is important for every scene. I can have character profiles/sketches/pics, locations/settings. Labels and status are noted in metadata. I can keep notes, annotations and footnotes. I can easily determine what is complete and what needs more work.
- There are different modes to work in for different reasons, Document/Scrivenings mode, Corkboard, and Outliner.
- There is a text mode for writing on one document at a time, but also in this mode is Scrivenings. In Scrivenings mode, my document is seen as a whole, with different scenes divided by broken lines. I can see how to weave these together seamlessly.
- In corkboard mode, my index cards are on display where I can work with them, move them around, change the text on them, visualize my character profiles and settings, set up my scenes, and organize into chapters. I can apply Keywords to follow my project and these are color-coded on my cards and in my Inspector. I could lay out a whole series in here, not just one article/book.
- In Outliner mode, I can see at a glance how everything is coming together, the progress toward word count goals in progress bars, and again, move things around to change the order, if need be. I can track progress and project statistics.
- There are many special features, like in word:
- I can search and replace easily and fine tune and tweak searches for differences, say for example; Bob and Bob’s, versus the bob in bobbing for apples…if I want to just change a name in my entire project. There is also a handy random name generator.
- I can also search in my index cards, do keyword searches, and search settings. I can search my whole project or just one document or scene.
- I can save search collections in my binder for reference or to help with subplots and such.
- I can easily create snapshots. In case I want to keep a view of what something looked like before I changed it. Or I need to share something with an editor.
- All of my formatting can be done in Scrivener, setting my fonts, page specs, line spacing, margins and so on.
- I can also design tables and illustrations that can be inserted into my project.
- Compiling and Printing, and Exporting are all fairly easily accomplished. When I got to this section, I hit the wall, but it was temporary. I had to learn some new terms.
- Compiling: All of the tweaking is done through a few windows. The whole project comes together to be prepared for printing or exporting.
- Printing can include or exclude whatever I like, whether I want just the MS documents, or I want my index cards and synopses. I can choose to have footnotes and annotations printed or not. (Very helpful when I have completed the editing process and am ready to print it out again.) I can also print just my index cards or just my outline. If I choose not to print, I can save and export, then read my work on my ereader.
- Exporting is actually a lot more fun than I expected it would be. It is truly amazing that I can write, edit, compile, print, save, and export from beginning to end using one software program. The export files include .Mobi, .ePub, pdf, .rtf, and a dozen other options. My manuscript can be written, compiled and then exported as an eBook ready for publishing.
Pretty amazing stuff, huh? I worried that my right brained creative, artsy, language oriented self would have difficulty with something so organized, patterned, spatial, and logical. Being a linear writer, I felt that I might have trouble with my creative juices being restricted to the confines of a plan. I am definitely a panster not a plotter, but I have been using this to set up my next WIP and I am delighted with its ease and don’t feel at all restricted or confined. It fact, it opens windows on possibilities I had not dreamed of toward developing my book into a trilogy or series. I am feeling much more prepared and organized than I did with my previous novel. It will most likely show in my work. I hope so. Click on the image to see what brain side you work with most. Which brain side is utilized most prominently by you?
I don’t feel like this software will cramp my creative style, but I do feel like it will help me get on track and stay on track with better organization and planning. It has taken a few of weeks of intensive instruction to learn this software, but the possibilities are endless. Gwen Hernandez , author of “Scrivener for Dummies”, will be teaching another course around February or March. I can still use Evernote for additional research. My brain loves Scrivener! Both the scientist and the artist are happy 🙂