Writing Tools: Scrivener

Some features I use while writing my novels

Favorite Scrivener Features

  • One time purchase — I’m getting sick of the whole “subscription” thing. Scrivener is a one time purchase and is super simple to download. Even if you don’t use all the features, the low price of $49 makes it worth it simply for the compile feature which I’ll explain later.
  • Manuscript Outline — I’ve been using this one a lot in my Warrior series. The Scrivener outlining tool by using the corkboard is perfect for a project with a lot of intricate notes and a huge plot. This has been great for my Warrior project which spans ten books within a single Scrivener file. I can manage each book separately and even combine them for my collection books.
  • Organizing projects — Like I said above, I’m managing ten books at once. Scrivener makes it easy by separating each project into specific files and housing the chapter files within. Whether I’ve named the chapter or not, it’s easy to keep track of each file and find it despite having several in the same space.
  • Compiling — This feature alone makes it worth the one-time purchase. Scrivener offers an easy format to turn your manuscript into a publish-ready file. From Word and PDF to eBook and Mobi, you can create any file you want and put it in any format you want. My favorite is the pre-set margins for a paperback book. No more fighting with Amazon and your PDF editor to get your margins right! Plus, it automatically numbers pages and chapters with the right settings.
  • Strikethrough — I’m all about those word counts. If I write something to change later, I use the strikethrough function to keep those words in my manuscript (I wrote them, they count) until the last second. Just make sure you use the feature that deletes all strikethrough text before you compile. Or, better yet, move them to the trash folder which never empties so you always have the words.
  • Word count and milestone tracking — you can set goals for each project you write. It shows you progress on your goals. For example, my goal is to write 1000 words on the Warrior project every day. While I typically go more, it’s good to see that progress and it helps to motivate me on the tough days.
  • Notes, research, character sketches, and settings — pre-built into the Scrivener writing software is a template for each of these things. You can put in all your character notes and never forget who is blonde and who has black hair.
  • Double-view pane — pull up your research and your current chapter so you don’t have to have three hundred tabs open and a million files to look through. Easy reference!
  • Typewriter typing — If you get easily distracted, pull up the full-screen view and change some settings. You can view the current line and keep it focused on moving forward without getting distracted by what you just wrote. If you have a hard time separating your inner editor, this is a great tool.
  • Front and back matter — If you have some links or specific dedications for each book, use the front and back matter features. When you compile the document, they are easy to adjust and can embed links for easy use by the readers!
  • Name generator — need a quick name? These are pretty generic but can serve as a filler for the time being. Or it gets you thinking.
  • Look up — I always use this one for a quick reference if I need a synonym or for whatever reason forget how to spell the word ‘fish’ (true story). It’s pretty basic, but it keeps you in the document rather than on the internet where social media can tempt you.

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