Want The Most Awesome Writing Program? Scrivener.

When I first heard about Scrivener it was at the end of the 2010 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I had completed my first novel’s first draft and was extremely proud to click those word count buttons and get my certificate of having succeeded in my goal for the month of November. And then came the bag of prizes: coupons for a certain percentage off of certain programs. Regrettably I didn’t purchase Scrivener right then and there, I was lacking those funds and I wasn’t sure I would like to convert all of my notes over from paper to a program. What would I do if I didn’t like it? So I tried out the trial version. Lo and behold, I found I actually loved the way Scrivener worked, so here I am, willing to share what I’ve learned about this glorious program with others who might also find it useful.

Scrivener is a writing program similar to Microsoft Word, Open Office, etc. Except it’s better. You can choose from different document types as soon as you open it: Blank (a create your own type of document), Fiction (Novel, Novel with Parts, and Short Story), Non-Fiction (Non-Fiction with Sub-Heads, Research Proposal, and Undergraduate Humanities Essay), Scriptwriting (Screenplay, Stage Plays [US&UK], Comic Script, Taped Drama, and Radio Scene Style), and Miscellaneous (Persuasive Lecture and Recipe Collection). Once you select the one you intend to use, it will have different sections to it. For example, the “Novel” selection will have the First Draft folder with subdivisions for Chapters, in which you can separate your scenes out for easier editing purposes. It also has areas for research and character sketches and/or profiles. Of course you may customize all of this to cover as much or as little as you need.

A document of mine as a sample of what a "Novel" layout looks like.

A document of mine as a sample of what a “Novel” layout looks like.

Scrivener has loads of options that I haven’t even begun to touch yet, as I’ve been converting my paper notes into the program and it’s slow going with that being one of the lower priorities of my day. However, I can tell you that there are different viewing options, you can drag scenes into other folders or into different orders easily, and everything I’ve encountered so far is adaptable to you and your story as well as being intuitive. If I needed to find something, it was in a place that made sense, and how to use it was easy to figure out within a moment of encountering it.

As well as being for the use of the writer, one can also edit within it by using highlighting and comment techniques that are built into the program. So no worries as to keeping track of changes or things you think, as the author, matter. You’ll be able to create and change everything that you would like to with ease and track it. Which is just awesome, because you know how many times I’ve forgotten what I’ve changed from draft to draft?

Overall, Scrivener is a highly adaptive, highly intuitive program for writers at any stage of their process: research, character creation, outlining, writing or editing. I would recommend this program to just about anyone who has any kind of writing that they need to get done. I use it to keep track of my blog articles, original works and ghostwriting, as well as any other little projects I come across.


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