I was gifted Scrivener in December 2018 and started using it last January. After a year of writing my fantasy novel, Gray Haze, in Scrivener, here is what I have to say about the software…
Scrivener has many features (most of which I don’t even use). The features I’ve used the most are the Corkboard, the Binder, Project/Document Notes, and the General Meta-Data, which enables me to label chapters and sections in the binder with different colors. I’ve highlighted the most useful features for me (red pen is to obscure spoilers, lol):
Here is what I love about the software:
- I can see all the chapters and parts of my novel laid out in the binder. This makes it incredibly easy to navigate my manuscript and move chapters around if needed.
- I can label each portion in the binder using the General Meta-Data on the right. I’ve labeled Parts turquoise, Chapters green, and Chapters I need to rewrite dark blue. It’s just so easy to see where I’m at, and one of the most beneficial factors –> I can easily refer back to a past scene to assist me with the current scene. I can even place those scenes side-by-side in the middle of the screen.
- I use the note cards in the Corkboard to outline the Parts and Chapters (or summarize them when I’m finished), which makes it easy to reference the overall skeleton of the novel and adjust it as I progress through the draft.
- I use the Project/Document Notes when I need to remember something as I write. If I think of something while writing a chapter that I want to remember when I reach a future chapter, I can make a note in that future chapter to refer back to the former. Piece of cake.
Here is what I still haven’t figured out:
- How to format the manuscript to make it print-ready. I tried converting it to a Microsoft Document once and was surprised by how many problems it had. This is not a negative reflection of Scrivener; if anything, it should tell you how unskilled I am with the whole formatting thing in general. Plus, I have only tried it once, and I haven’t watched any tutorials. The formatting/converting business is above my pay grade, but I’ll figure it out when the manuscript is ready. 🙂
Overall, this software has saved me as a writer. My wip is nearly 250k words long (so far), and in addition to helping me organize the chapters, Scrivener has also enabled me to keep my character and world-building info in the same place! If I need to write a line of dialogue in one of my fantasy languages, I can set up the glossary beside the main document:
Scrivener makes a great gift for all writers, especially those who don’t mind adapting to new software. It was a bit daunting to use at first, but as I began to fill in the folders and organize my outline, I passed a point of no return. Scrivener is what I will use for all of my big projects in the future.