I started using Scrivener a couple of days ago.  It is pretty impressive! By the end of this morning I had managed to create a full scene outline of my novel, import everything I’d already written, and start making a synopsis. It makes it easy to structure your work, because you can split it into folders and files without you having to open different documents – and you can also view it as one long document if you prefer. You get a good overall view of the big picture of your novel, and at the same time, you can go into detail on whichever part you want.

I’m surprised at how much I like this. I always thought that outlining was incredibly boring (but total pantsering really scary!) Now I think it was just the idea of one, long, linear document that I couldn’t handle. With Scrivener, it’s all hypertext – you can go wherever you like, but still keep your place.

I don’t know if it will help make sense of what is a rather muddled mess at the moment, but every time I open my project file, I have a sense of calm clarity about what I’m doing. Not to say it’s good or bad – but at least I’m not panicking about it!

Is anyone else using this software? Would love to know what you think.

4 Replies to “scrivenings”

  1. Hi Georgina,

    I was browsing the list of attendees for the forthcoming World Fantasy Con in Brighton in 2013 and, recognising your name from OWW, clicked through to your web site. Among the interesting things I found was this blog post on “Scrivener”. Your description of this tool sounded like something that might really help me.

    Out of interest (rather than expecting to be able to install it on Linux computer operation system which I use) I looked it up and was surprised to find a Linux Beta version exists. However, it appears to be quite a significant task to install it in Linux.

    I am currently struggling with an outline for turning a short story in to a novel (Rose in Winter – you commented on early chapters through OWW) and am finding myself struggling to outline three viewpoints and several plot lines that have expanded and now require me to fill in additional detail and add new elements to earlier chapters I had thought at least were drafted! It is driving me nuts trying to keep track of my notes and, technical installation challenges aside, Scrivener looks like it might be the answer.

    So I can’t give you feedback on the tool but I wanted to let you know I hope you will post more about how you are getting on with it.

    Phillip Spencer

  2. Hi Philip 🙂 Thanks for finding me. Are you going to WFC 2013? I will be hoping to meet as many folk as possible there.

    Scrivener is ace – I can’t praise it enough, to be honest. I think it’s the perfect tool for sorting out huge messes of text – you can categorise everything and get it into order, without ever having to throw any work away. It can take a while to import all your notes and writing and to figure out how to order things, but once you’ve got a project underway, it’s really easy to see the big picture – vital for novelling and screenwriting alike.

    Afraid I don’t know anything about installing in Linux, but they seem to have a pretty good help desk and lots of literature about how to get things set up, so I’d say give it a whirl!

    Let me know how you get on.

  3. Yes, I plan on going to WFC2013 in Brighton (as is my daughter, Holly, who is at Sussex Uni so just up the road!). I also intend to go to Fantasycon 2012, which is also back in Brighton. It would be good to meet up with other OWWers!

    Installing Scrivener on Linux turned out to be a breeze and following a quick dabble with the manual’s Quick Tour I launched into it with my novel. Already finding benefits of being able to dip in and edit / rearrange scenes rather than edit separate chapter documents. Am currently wowed by the power and flexibility.

    It is my month for trying new software. I have also just started learning to set up blogs from scratch using WordPress and so posted the Linux guidance links there ( Easy to install and free… what more could one ask of software?

  4. Hey I’m glad you’re enjoying Scrivener! I am finding it helpful in lots of ways. And I definitely hope to meet you and lots of OWWers and other writers at WFC. I went to uni in Brighton, too, so it will be fun to visit again 🙂

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