#Scrivener after 1 week of #NaNoWriMo

ScrivIconI have been using Scrivener for about a month now, including 1 week of NaNoWriMo, and I have to simply say.. WOW!!!

Scrivener is making it easy for me to keep all my thoughts and ideas organized so that I don’t loose my groove while writing. That right there is enough of a reason to love this application. There is more than that to Scrivener, more than I have even discovered yet.

I am using the NaNoWriMo trial edition for Windows, which is still available to download and try out until December 5th. I would like to share with you the set up I am using in hopes that it can help you, or maybe, you can give me some pointers on how to get even more out of it.

My screen is split into three panels. I have the “Binder” open on the left, my manuscript open in the middle and research on the right. This utilizes the “Vertical Split” option. I find this most helpful, and here is my thinking.

Left Panel: Binder – This allows me to see lists. This can be lists of people, places or chapter/scenes. I have text files created for every named person, names location and I label each scene so I can see what it contains. Having these lists open helps me quickly recall names and organize my thoughts.

Middle Panel: Manuscript – Technically this panel is whatever I am working on, which is normally my manuscript. I use this as my main editing screen and I keep it the widest of the three panels. This is simple, it allows me to keep my attention centered on my screen. No big secret here.

Right Panel: Research – This is where I found the real magic of Scrivener. Where the left panel gives me a quick glance at lists of information, the right panel allows me to keep notes and read more in-depth information. I have a whole folder for the plot and when I put that in the right panel it gives me a road map to follow while writing. I also have a lot of world building files that I can open in the right panel and keep everything I write consistent.


On top of using those three panels I have also discovered the little magical “Project Target” pop up. This little gift allows you to set a word count target and it shows your progress with both a colored progress bar and a real time word count display. This has been very motivational as I see the bar moving further and further to the right, and changing color.

You can also set a “Session Target” if you want to give yourself a goal. My daughter and I did a race to 1,000 words and I used this feature to measure my progress, which she did beat me to 1k that time… I will win the next one.

I know there is a ton more to Scrivener, but if you only used it for these little things, it is more than worth the price. Check out Scrivener and if you find some magical little tool that can make things better, let me know.

I can’t wait to get into using the compile feature and make my own ebooks with Scrivener. I will most definitely post a review of that once I do.

Until next time…


6 thoughts on “#Scrivener after 1 week of #NaNoWriMo

  1. I, too, am using the NaNo trial version of Scrivener. It is an incredible tool. I have the binder open on the left, my manuscript open in the top middle, research info in the bottom middle, and notes on the right. I also have the Project Target popup on, usually put in the bottom middle.

    I set up the binder to represent the outline that I came up with before November. I have already moved whole chapters around to reflect changes based on what I’m actually writing. It was so nice to be able to just drag and drop.

    Is your daughter also using Scrivener? My daughter is doing they YWP, but she is using Open Office to write in.

  2. Did you know that Scrivener also has a name generator? I find it immensely helpful when I need a name quick and don’t want to get sucked into the black-hole of the internet. Even if it’s just a placeholder name. 🙂

  3. I love Scrivener. Found it searching for a program that could help me keep track of storyboard and notes, used the trial version, and was blown away by the fact it not only did the things I needed, but so much more. I like the feature where you can tag key elements in chapters (such as which characters appear in the chapter) then filter out just the chapters with a particular element in it. So you can review all the chapters featuring a character to make sure their story is flowing correctly. The price is a steal, too. There are programs that do less and cost at least five times more than Scrivener.

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