February 8, 2017
Hey Soplings! As I told you last week, it was time for me to fly the WORD coop. What I landed upon was the magnificent program of Scrivener. (gasps of delight*)
Today, I'll talk about the three tools that make Scrivener simply the best. This program is a Type A, Organizational Nutcases dream. Which I am. Proudly. xD
As you know, I've been hard at work writing Gods or Men. I had just scratched the surface in WORD--about nine chapters--but had about two dozen other files/notes/emails lying about trying to keep information about Jerah's point of view in order. Where were they last? How much time has passed? Who are the secondary characters in his part? What's their backstory? Did Rathurus have shoes at the end of Heroes or Thieves?
These were just a few of the questions I asked myself and I had a note somewhere for all of them.
As you can imagine, I quickly drown in all of this information. When you have 9 different points of view, 60 chapters, 600 pages, two prequels, a sequel, and a dozen themes/symbols/motifs to keep track of, things swiftly overwhelm you.
Enter Scrivener: cheap. Simple. Organized.
Now let me preface my next praise by saying the con of this program: I may have left the coop that is WORD, but I'll be returning to visit. See, Scrivener is a organizational dreamhouse, but it pales in comparison to the editing and manuscript prep powerhouse that is WORD. There is no contest here.
Now, onto the three tools that make Scrivener the best.
First, Scrivener has a Binder
This binder is what you see on the left hand side of the picture. It allows you to create folders and sub folders to your heart's content. And then you can use icons (like the mask and lightbulb) to help you find your content easily.
In Gods or Men, for example, I have all of the character PoVs divided into seperate folders (with each chapter written in a separate text document), I have an ouline folder (with each chapter outlined in a separate text document), and then a research folder where I have all of my research compiled into folders, subfolders, etc....
You can also create collections out of these folders. For example, let's say I want to remember what Turlondiel said and did back in HoT, I want to keep track of something important she does in GoM, and I want to find an easy reference for her appearance. What I can do is select all of those files that answer that information, and create a Colllection. This Collection will be a new "minor" binder where only that content shows up and I can call it Turlondiel. I can have one for Themes, Jerah, or anything else I want to take a look at across my entire primary binder. Yet I can still access everything from the left hand side rather than trying to dig through folders and subfolders on my computer--and all of it opens up instantly right there before my eyes without opening a hundred documents.
Second, Scrivener has Notecards
Notecards, notecards, notecards. Who doesn't love notecards?
For every book, I have a color coded notecard that has a brief synopsis of the character's pov. At the end of the book, I look at them and try to organize them into the most effective tale.
Now, Scrivener makes notecards a virtual reality. Below, the writer uses these lovely, color-coded notecards to organize an outline for a single chapter. She can move these notecards about easily to find the most effective scene.
But that's not the only way notecards can be used. In my case, I use them in a far broader spectrum, making each notecard serve both with a synopsis and, when double clicked have a text file with a very detailed chapter outline breakdown. They are still color coded by character (Jerah is red, Navon is purple, Saebellus is black, etc...) and I have easy access to shuffle them around to create the most effective sequence of events.
Third, Scrivener has the Scrivener Tool
The bar that you see on the right hand side of this image is the Scrivener tool. It is an organizational powerhouse. As you can see, it has several icons--a note pad, books, key, tag, camera, and speech bubble.
These sections allow you to flip easily between the selected documents relevant content: the colored notecard with the synopis, labels that let you color code that synopsis and refence where it is a "To Do" "First Draft" or anything else you want to create, document notes AND Project notes (the first being notes for just that selected file, the latter being notes you can see when accesses ANY file), keywords, comments (which you can color code as well), special data that allows you to add anything you want to keep track of (aka, I have a TIMELINE section so I can keep track of how many days/weeks/etc... have passed since the last relevant event), etc...
And the best part is, your writing is right there in the middle of the page. It can be one text document or you may choose to divide that section and have two text files open side by side. If you want to open TWO files up side by side (and you can open any two files up side by side that just ), the Scrivener tool remains relevant to whatever of those two files you currently are working in. (Say I want to have Jerah Chapter One open and its Chapter Outline open beside it, I can do that and still have that Scrivener tool open to the right with further important content!)
These three tools are fantastic, but they are just the surface of the organization the Scrivener program has. I could go on for an entire post just about ONE tool--even those I addressed were just skimmed!
But remember, this is not a replacement to the editing and manuscript prep that is WORD. When I am done writing my book, I'll compile the chapters into a WORD doc and edit them there. When that is done, I'll use WORD to make it all look pretty.
But until then, there is nothing better than Scrivener!
What writing program do you use?
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