Scrivener, don’t do #NaNoWriMo without it.

Yes, I have fallen in love with Scrivener. I am a software guy, I like to find computer software to assist me in whatever I am doing. I have an app to track my weight loss (nearly 40lbs down), I user a database program to catalog my DVD collection, I even have a spread sheet for playing Clue. This may come from the fact that I have a degree in computer programing and I write code as part of my job, so I find software solutions for a living.

Naturally then, when I got serious about writing a novel, and participating in NaNoWriMo, I started looking for software to assist me in this adventure. I started with Word, nearly everyone has it and we are all know how to use it. The spelling and grammar checking of Word is really good in 2007-2010. My problems started when I had 1 document for my manuscript, 1 document for my outline and then several others for character sketches, world building and any other research I did for that story. I have half a dozen documents open and had to keep opening and closing them to find the information I needed. There had to be a better solution.

ScrivIconThat is when Scrivener came into my life. I did what any highly intelligent 21st century American did when they had a problem… I Google it! I find several reviews of different software that claimed to assist in the writing process, most were word processors with tabs and not much else. And then I read about Scrivener. This amazing piece of craftsmanship is awesome.

First, let me give you a disclaimer. I have only been using it for a couple of weeks and I feel like I am only scratching the surface for what it can do. So if I don’t talk about a feature that you wish it had, check it out, it is probably in there. Scrivener is available for both Windows and Mac, I use Windows.

Right off the bat, Scrivener solved my multiple open document issue. It has a document tree system that allows you to organize all your documents in an easy to find tree with folders to group them as needed. It as all the standard spell checkers and font formatting that you expect from a word processor. It even has a name generator built in.

I really like the ability to create templates for things like character sketches or world building elements. I have a document for characters so that I can copy it for each character and fill in the information I use. This then gives me a list on the left side of the screen of all my characters, makes it easy to remember names and how they are spelled when you can see them. I also group these character documents by family, even more organization.

The work space on Scrivener also gives you the ability to look at two documents at the same time, and it is easy to change what document you are looking at. The number of viewing options is amazing, you will have to watch their tutorial to get a better idea.

Scrivener also contains a research collection feature. You can save web pages, images, pdfs or any other digital files you have collected for research and access them with a single mouse click. I am also learning to use the Scratch Pad, a note taking window app that you can pop up with a key shortcut, then import anything you write there into your project.

All that I have not even talked about the export feature. In as few words as possible, the export feature allows you to export your manuscript in an industry standard format, all with one button. You can also create full feature ebooks in export, PDF, Word Doc(x), epub and mobi all supported.

There is too much to put it all here, so go check it out on their website. The last thing I want to say is, the software is reasonably prices at $45 for Mac and $40 for Windows. They are running a special for NaNoWriMo, if you participate you get 20% off and if you are a winner you get 50%. But how can you use it for NaNoWriMo if you have to wait for the winner’s discount? They solved that issue also, there is a free, full feature trial, that works until December 7th. So you can use Scrivener for all of your prep work starting now and all of November at no cost, and then once you are a winner you can buy it for 50% off.

Go check out Scrivener, you will thank me for it. There is also a WordPress blogger I came across that talks about scrivener:

Scrivener NaNoWriMo 2013

Until next time…


26 thoughts on “Scrivener, don’t do #NaNoWriMo without it.

  1. Great article but I think I am going to try scrivener another year since I don’t necessarily want to spend all that money right away. Instead I am looking at some other programs like Liquid Story Binder.

  2. I love Scrivener! If I could marry it… I’ve been using it for a few months now and every day I am so grateful for it.

    It’s definitely worth the expense. I was dubious over the cost because I’m on a pension, but I now consider Scrivener to be an investment. I have so many different projects and story ideas. As you mentioned there’s so much more to writing then having one document. I can find everything now, I don’t get confused, and it saves so much time!

    I love Scrivener so much I’m now using it for blogging. Not as a host or anything like that, but as a format to draft and archive my blog posts. It makes my day when I come across someone else who loves the software. It’s just so good!

  3. I agree. Scrivener is a very useful tool for writing. There are templates that you can download and install that make setting up a project simple. Or you can create your own templates which you can then reuse over and over in writing projects.

  4. I love using Scrivener. The cost is inconsequential and the benefits compound whenever I learn a new feature I was previously ignorant of. I have to say the export feature is my favourite.

    Thanks for this post, especially for the link at the end to the Scrivener specific blog. You’ve led me to a goldmine. Cheers!

  5. I picked up Scrivener after my first NaNo win in 2010 (can’t beat 50% off) and have been using it ever since. It’s terrific, easy to use right off the bat and loaded with options. Highly recommended:)

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