I use Scrivener – for all my writing projects.
Why? Because it makes me feel I am in control. Correction: I am in control!
Why use Scrivener for NaNo2018?
A good question! There are four quick answers:
- Scrivener will make the planning of my novel, ahead of the first day of writing on, 1 November, easier.
- The planning that I do will make the writing during NaNo2018 a doddle. Enjoyable. An indulgence!
- Editing – beginning next February/March – will be a breeze. Scrivener lets me see my manuscript from the top down, from the bottom up, from each character’s point of view, and from the reader’s perspective too.
- Self-publishing, when I am ready, via the Compile option, is set up for a multitude of exporting options: eBook, Kindle, paperback. Easy, peasy!
And there’s a longer answer … read on.
10 reasons why
Scrivener is my number one choice for writing, and editing, and publishing a novel …
1: All in one place
I have just one file for each writing project, be it a novel or a series of blogposts, or a marketing campaign.
So, for NaNo2018, I’ve created a new project file called Dead Wood.
Notice that I date my project file with today’s date. Every time I work on this project, I’ll use Save As … and use that day’s date. I order the date year / month/ day so that they appear in date order an I can be sure to open the most recent.
Within that one file, everything relating to this new novel will be stored.
- The manuscript itself, conveniently separated into scenes, later to be bundled into chapters
- My character sketches, complete with images of the 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 webpages
2: I design my workspace to suit me and my way of working
On my main screen, Scrivener shows three aspects of my new novel.
- The Binder panel sits to the left of my screen, the main folder being the Manuscript and below that, my Characters, my Places, my Notes and my Research folder.
- In the middle section, I have my Editing pane with a choice of three options: Scrivenings, Corkboard and Outliner. Today, there are no words; on 1 November, I start filling this space. Soon, I’ll be using the corkboard to write my outline.
- To the right, I have the Inspector. Ahead of 1 November, I’ll write the synopses for the scenes and these will provide prompts for what has to be written for each scene.
3: Scrivener’s split pane feature allow access to information while I write
I split the Editing pane so that I can view the chapter I’m working on, at the same time as a character sketch, or a page on a website. I have identified my main character and I’ve started writing her character sketch; I’ve chosen Julia Roberts to play the lead (important for when I sell the movie rights for this best selling novel!).
4: Scrivener’s composition mode eliminates any distractions
If I prefer, during NaNo2018, I can dive into composition mode, which clears the screen of everything but the piece I am writing. Perfect writing conditions.
5: Ahead of time, I can write / mind map my outline – and change my mind later as the characters come to life
The synopsis cards provides a simple way to throw ideas onto the corkboard and let my novel structure evolve – without writing a single word of the novel itself. All the planning can be done in advance, so November is left for pure writing.
Once I start writing, if I want to alter the order, or slip in an extra scene – it’s not a problem.
And when I’m editing, if I spot a plot hole, I can plug it with an extra scene or two, it is so easy. So easy!
6: I am free to write how I like
Once writing commences for real, I never write my novel, starting at the beginning and ending at THE END.
Having set up my outline, I 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 followed by scene 3.
Often, I will write ‘the story’ from one person’s POV, and then go back and write the intervening scenes, maybe from a third person’s POV.
If I feel I’m drying up, I can abandon that scene, turn tail and dive in somewhere else. My progress in Outliner view will show which scenes still need working on.
Whatever comes into my mind I can type it up, and slot the scene in where it belongs straightaway, or let it rest in the ‘to-be-fitted-in-later’ folder.
7: I can leave myself notes
While I’m writing, I can leave myself notes. So, when my internal editor makes 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.
8: I can go deep
Scrivener provide ways of labelling scenes, setting a status, colour coding, and creating meta data (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.
9: I set my goals and I achieve them
Knowing that I want to write at least 50K words during NaNo2018, when I created my new project file, I set a project target.
Select Project / Show Project Targets and click on Options.
First, I have to set the deadline date. It’s the last day of November. Enter the date and click OK.
Then click on Session Target.
I start writing at midnight on October 31 so I’ve opted to reset the daily target at midnight. There are other options:
I tick the box to allow words written on that last day to be included.
Notice also that I’ve declared Sundays and Wednesdays as non-writing days. This is because I know, from experience, that makes sense to build in a couple of days a week for ‘other stuff’.
Then, I click on OK and the final task is to set the target of 50K.
Notice that I set this target on Monday 10 September and yet Scrivener knows there are only 22 writing days to the deadline – which there are in November. That’s because I’m using a version of Scrivener released ages ago which knows we only write in November. Other versions will count from today.
My daily writing target will be 2272 (instead of the usual 1667) but I’ll be aiming for 2500 each writing day.
Get ahead, stay ahead?
Notice also that the options button here takes you back to the Draft Target / Session Target pane.
10: 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 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 experts: The ScrivenerCoach Joseph Michael, Gwen Hernandez (author of the Dummies Guide), Karen Prince and Steve Shipley (expert in iOS) and many others.
So, if you are not yet using Scrivener, get your copy now?
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