At times, writing can be messy and unorganized. In fact, I’m jealous of those who have a clean system in place. For me, I’m working on my third technique to stay organized while working through a project. This technique is using Scrivener.
If you have been using it for awhile, you are probably wondering what was so hard about just deciding to get it. Well, I have a tendency to not want to buy things I might not like or end up finding useless. Scrivener does offer a free 30-day trial. In fact, I even downloaded the trail over this past summer. Only problem was, that life got in the way, and I didn’t take much time to play around with it and learn all that it had to offer.
When I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year, I saw that they had a special trial for that, so I decided a week or so in, to download the trial and actively use it. Turns out, that I love the software.
Previously, I was using an outline method through Microsoft Word. It was working, but I found it hard to find things or leave notes to myself. I ended up with post it notes all over my desk (and other places in the house). At one point, I also wanted to do some rearranging in my story, and that was a mess with all of the copying and pasting I had to do and even starting new documents so I didn’t lose anything.
Scrivener allows you to have a cork board with notecards on it that are linked to your actual written text. These notecards are great for leaving yourself notes about the scene or other ideas to incorporate. I like to have a brief summary of the scene on them to help me navigate where things are at in my story.
You can also create folders with documents in them concerning your characters, setting, or research or whatever else you may need. All of these features are contained in one file that is your story. When you have finished, you can easily compile your novel into a text document exactly how you want.
There are some other features I have found to be helpful, and even fun. There is a tool to generate names. You can select origins for the first name or surname and it will generate however many you need. You can easily move the ones you like to a box for easy reference. There is also a name dictionary so you can look up the meaning of a particular first name. A second feature I have found quite useful is a target box you can open up. With this, you can set a goal for your entire manuscript and a daily goal. It tracks your progress and fills in a bar to show you where you are at.
I’m pretty excited to be ordering my copy of Scrivener soon (waiting for the winners goodies on NaNoWriMo). I’ve heard there are a number of other great features that a lot of use will reveal. But for now, I have found it helpful enough to justify the purchase.