I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, September 7, 2012

What Is Scrivener and How Do You Use It? Part One


By Pat Trainum writing as P. T. Bradley

About a year ago I tried a beta program by the name of Scrivener. It’s been around a while for Mac users, but only recently became available for PC users, first as a beta program (meaning I used it for free while the Scrivener people removed the bugs), and now as a Stable Release. This means all the known bugs have been removed, but like any product, Scrivener is constantly making their software better and it’s important to check for updates. You can use Scrivener free for 30 days of actual use.

First of all a disclaimer. I.Am.Not. an expert on Scrivener. If you want that, find Angie Hunt who uses Scrivener for all her novels, or better still, use Scrivener’s excellent tutorials. And I don’t get a commission if you buy the program. :-)

To start: Open Scrivener and under file, open a New document. The first thing you'll see under Getting Started is an Interactive Tutorial and the Scrivener User Manual. Watch the tutorial and download the manual. I didn't. I wish I had. I did go on line and view Getting Started with Scrivener. Bookmark that page. It is very helpful. And the British accent is nice.


I chose the blank document because that’s all that was available in the beta program. There is now a Fiction template, but I still use the blank one because I understand it. The Fiction template looks fantastic, by the way and I’ll probably try it someday.

This is what the Blank Template looks like:


The draft folder is your entire manuscript (when finished). The untitled folder under it will be Chapter One. To create another chapter, click on the green button with the +. 

You are now ready to begin writing.



Or not.





What I really like about Scrivener is the information on the left side of the screen. I create new folders by clicking on Project, New Folder. One of the first folders I create is one for my characters.  
In each folder are photos, a bio, description, anything I want to know about my character. It can be as big or small as you like. If you'll notice, under the Research folder, I have a folder for cut material. Have you ever cut something and not been able to remember where you put it? Problem solved!



Another neat thing I like about Scrivener is the Cork Board. TheSE note cards can be moved around (this moves the writing as well), and  it is a great visual for seeing your manuscript as a whole.



THE CORK BOARD

The only thing left for today is how to get your manuscript into Word. That's where the Compile button comes in handy. Every night I click on the compile button. It's the fourth button to the right of the green one with the +. It will compile your complete document into one and can be saved as a Word file. Then I email the Word document to myself. I also drop it into Evernote...I'm one of those people who would wear a belt with suspenders.

So, do you think you'd like Scrivener? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Tuesday on my blog-www.ptbradley.com/blog, I'll be talking about some of the handy-dandy tools Scrivener has, like how to save those websites where you do research, then can't find later. 

Pat Trainum writing as P. T. Bradley
www.ptbradley.com
http://mbtponderers.blogspot.com/
@PTBradley1
2012 Romantic Suspense Genesis Finalist
I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write



24 comments:

  1. Good stuff, Pat. I've been saying for awhile that I want to try Scrivener!!

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  2. I haven't regretted switching over, Melissa. Of course, I still save to Word every night. Monday I'll be explaining how to make a web link in your research tab.

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    1. Make that Tuesday that I'll be explaining things on my blog. lol

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  3. Pat, I've been eager for you to write this post. Do you think this WordPerfect gal could find happiness with Scrivener? ('Cause you know my feelings about Word!)

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  4. Recently at a great writing conf. in Duluth w/ Colleen Coble, she and Jill Eliz. Nelson both spoke highly of Scrivener, enuf to make me want to try. Apparently there's a free month or 40-day trial--I just need to be home 40 consecutive days to try and I do intend to do later this year. Thanks for the great reminder.

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  5. I definitely think you can find happiness with Scrivener, Johnnie. After you compile you can save it as a rich text file if you don't want to use Word. I think WordPerfect recognizes rich text.

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  6. Dee, that's the great part about the Scrivener deal...you don't have to try it on consecutive days. Each time you open Scrivener, it counts as a day. So if you don't open it for 10 days, it doesn't matter.

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  7. Let's see, I haven't tried Scrivener even though we've talked much about it. However, I'm forwarding your post to my daughter, who uses it, and see what she thinks. Thanks, Pat.

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    1. Cheryl, I think Chris will like it if she tries it. Be sure and check back in Tuesday at my blog for more.

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  8. Thanks Pat! I downloaded the free trial, but went back to Word because its what "I know" but I def. will go back and try it again because I'm such a visual person and Word doesn't cut it in that respect!

    Thanks Again!

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    1. Alena, that's what I did originally. I've had Scrivener almost 2 years and just this year really started using it. But I'll never go back! Not for creating that first draft, anyway.

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  9. Pat, what a great post. I laughed out loud at your line, "I'm one of those people who would wear a belt with suspenders." :)

    I have considered trying Scrivener. It sounds like a great program. I just haven't gotten my act together enough to move forward with it. Thanks for sharing what you like as well as what you'd do differently. I appreciate what you shared here today. Thanks!

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    1. Jeanne, be sure and check out my blog Tuesday when I'll show you the real reason I use Scrivener.

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  10. I started using it, based on Colleen Coble's recommendation. I like the way you can keep chapters separate, but the whole document is together. Also, I'm always saving websites, pictures, and notes in the sections at right. I didn't compile until I was ready to print out the whole book and format a little for my beta readers.

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  11. I tried Scrivener, and I liked it, but I prefer Write it Now. Write it Now has more features that I can use in plotting my novels. Scrivener is still a good product.

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    1. I've never tried Write it Now. I'll have to look it up, Lisa! Thanks for another program to check out.

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  12. Dana, I compile every night and save it in a Word document and then store it somewhere. Don't think I'd sleep at night if I didn't. lol

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  13. Interesting concept. I'm too "spread out" like I want everything spread out around me. I guess that's old school but that's how I roll.

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  14. Sounds fascinating! I wonder if I could learn something this complicated.

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  15. Patricia, That's what I like about Scrivener...it's spread out around you like in your office.

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  16. Teri, It's really user friendly. Try watching the video in the link and see how that sounds to you.

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  17. I still use Word as I open a new folder every day to keep track of my changes. I can't tell you how often I remember a phrase I wrote but deleted and needed again because I found the place it belonged. I open that month's folder that I remember it in and voila, I have my words again.

    Great post. Always good to know what's out there for us. I also have used PowerWriter and that's a great program. I use it for plays mostly. It has an auto format that works great for all kinds of writing.

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  18. I've tried almost every writing software program on the market, and Scrivener's the only one that I keep coming back to. I now use it for all of my books -- I've gotten so used to its easy/intuitive way to organize and reorder scenes that now trying to go back to Word just frustrates the heck out of me.

    I did find that there was a bit of a learning curve -- there are SO many features, and I feel even now I'm barely scratching the surface of what it can do! And there are some features (like index cards) that just don't work for me. I still resort to pen/paper for that type of brainstorming. However, I recently found a way to customize the meta-data (fancy, I know!), and now I can assign POV with a fancy colored label per scene, as well as easily track which scene is in which version. Makes revisions and editing SO much easier!!!

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  19. well, now that this came up again on the main ACFW loop, I am reminded that this is a good time to try it out, espesh as I hope to start a new rough draft for nanowrimo. Seems to me there was a special price last year around this time. If anyone hears of it, shout out.

    Thanks Pat! great post and easy to follow. And, with all your successes this year, i'd say it's 'workin for you'!

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