When I signed up for NaNoWriMo, I learned about a computer program called Scrivener. It’s designed for writing. It’s not a word processor and it doesn’t have powerful formatting features to generate an attractive document. Once a writing project in completed in Scrivener, it can be moved to Word for formatting.
Where Scrivener excels is the ability to plan, develop and re-organize ideas. I can plan the scenes I envision in the novel and then easily move from one to another. If I have an idea for a scene I’m not writing now, I can make a note of it right where I will see it when I start that other scene, without losing momentum.. If I realize I need to plant a seed in an earlier scene for my current scene to make sense, I can do that without opening a new document, making my work flow much smoother.
Within my Scrivener file, I have places to store and easily access research, character studies, and settings for my story. I keep all my discarded scenes in case I want to add or modify them later. Everything is at my fingertips, without needing to open multiple files or programs. The program also takes a ‘snapshot’ of my project regularly so I never worry about back-ups while I’m working. I still make sure to back up my work in the cloud at the end of each session to be protected from machine failure.
When I want to review the flow of my story, I can look at the chapters and scenes like note cards on a corkboard. It reminds me of the 3 x 5 note cards I used to prepare term papers when I was in school. The best thing is that I can re-arrange them, just like I used to shuffle my note cards back then.
Probably my favorite feature as I was writing was the ability to set a daily word count target and easily monitor my progress right in Scrivener. If I had been working in Word, each file would have had a separate word count and edits or additions to existing files or scenes would have needed to be tracked manually.
I love the Scrivener features I use and I know there’s more to love that I haven’t yet discovered. I’ll continue to use it for my novel through the editing and re-writing process. I’m also using it to plan and keep track of this blog. I want to be sure to tell the whole story and not miss any key ideas!
For more information about Scrivener, go to literatureandlatte.com.
Full disclosure: I have no connection with Scrivener or the company, Literature and Latte. I just love the program and writing 50,000 words without it would have been much more difficult!
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