Home > Writing  > NANO  > NaNoWriMo 2016: 10 reasons for using Scrivener

Today’s blog post

is the first of a series for those who might decide to use Scrivener for NaNoWriMo 2016.

(NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and that’s November – the month I set aside each year to write, write, write.)

Why use Scrivener for NaNoWriMo 2016?

Mainly, I use Scrivener because it makes me feel I am in control. Scrivener lets me see my novel from the top down, from the bottom up, from each character’s point of view, and from the reader’s perspective too.

Here are 10 more reasons why I write everything using Scrivener.

In subsequent posts, I’ll go into greater depth on each one.

1: All in one place

I have just one file for each writing project, be it a novel or a series of blog posts, or a marketing campaign. So, for NaNoWriMo, I’ll be starting a new project file for 2016. Within that, everything will be stored.

  • The manuscript itself, conveniently separated into scenes, bundled into chapters
  • My character sketches, complete with images of actors I’ve chosen to play the part – when my novel’s a best seller and heading for the big screen …
  • My locations, complete with maps and photos
  • All my research notes as links to web pages

2: I choose my workspace

On my main screen, Scrivener offers an overview of the project.

  • The Binder panel sits to the left of my screen, the main folder being the Manuscript and below that, my Research folder.
  • In the middle, I have my Editing pane with a choice of three options: Scrivenings, Corkboard, and Outliner.
  • To the right, I have the Inspector.

I can split the editing screen so that I can view the chapter I’m working on, at the same time as a character sketch or a scene, or a page on a website.

If I want, I can dive into composition mode, which clears the screen of everything but the piece I am writing. No distractions. Perfect NaNoWriMo conditions.

3: I am free to write how I like

I never write a novel starting at the beginning and ending at THE END.

Having set up my outline, I can choose what to work on next, which scenes to focus on today. That frees up my creativity. I am not chained to a schedule of writing: scene 1 followed by scene 2.

If I feel I’m drying up, I can abandon that scene, turn tail and dive in somewhere else. Whatever comes to my mind I can type it up, and slot it in where it belongs straight away, or let it rest into ‘to-be-fitted-in-later’ folder.

4: Loads of support

Learning how to use a sophisticated piece of software like Scrivener takes time and energy and, if you are like me, both can be in short supply!

It’s not just knowing what every item on every menu does, it’s also appreciating how this magnificent software, with all its buttons and bells, might help a writer – like you and me – to achieve what we need to do: write that novel.

There’s an abundance of support:  Literature & Latte’s support options and their Scrivener Manual; online videos and tutorials; courses from The ScrivenerCoach Joseph Michael and Scrivener expert Gwen Hernandez.

5: I set my goals and I achieve them

Knowing that I want to write at least 50K words during NaNoWriMo when I create my outline, I set word targets for each scene.  When I start writing, the Outliner shows my progress and it’s colour coded.

I can also set a daily target. There are no excuses for falling behind schedule! 

6: I can change my mind

The corkboard gives me an overview of scenes, one by one. If I want to alter the order or slip in an extra scene, it is so easy. So easy!

7: I can go deep

Scrivener provides ways of labeling scenes, setting a status, colour coding, and creating metadata (data about data). So, I can keep track of what’s still to be done, which scenes are from whose point of view, and a load else besides.

8: I can take notes

While I’m writing I can leave myself notes. When it comes to editing – which will not happen during November – I’ll work my way through these notes.

So, when my internal editor asks irritating comments, like ‘I thought Joanna was called Joanne’ I just make a note to check this detail later. There’s no break in the flow of my writing.

9: Editing becomes a breeze

Writing Improvement Software

My approach to editing – as per EDITING The RedPen Way – means I tackle three tasks at a time.

  • With Scrivener, I can take snapshots before I edit a scene, and after, and compare the two. I move ahead with confidence that the changes I’ve made are for the better.
  • With Scrivener, I can search on a particular character and work on their dialogue in isolation.
  • I can use editing tools within Scrivener and ones that support Scrivener, such as Pro Writing Aid, to look at the fine detail.

10: Compiling is the least of my worries

Scrivener makes it super easy to export in various formats. The Compile function does it all for me – as I’ll explain in another series of blog posts …

So, if you are not yet using Scrivener, get your copy now?

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