What is Scrivener? It’s a good question. Maybe you’ve heard other writers talk about but you’re not exactly sure what it does or if it’s for you. Very simply, Scrivener is a software product from Literature and Latte designed as a highly flexible writing development tool. It has 3 main parts to help you develop and write a project.
First there is the corkboard which allows you to create the beginnings of your writing project with some folder or documents. Here, you can essentially do some white-boarding and play around with your main ideas and get your basic plot, scenes and chapters in a sensible order.
Next, for those who like it ( and for those who don’t but need to do it lightly) there’s the outliner. You can use this to work on your more detailed ideas for the project. You can do as much or as little outlining as you need – it’s all up to you.
Last, there’s the editor where you can write your rough draft in divided documents and folder (again, how you approach this is up to you, the writer).
There are a large number of other tools within Scrivener to help you along. The Binder can be turned off and on and it shows you a tree organization of your project. I’ve used this to re-organize the structure of a project when revising. Because it’s visual and making such changes took me a matter of minutes.
There are also a wide array of tools, settings and configurations that can assist you in your writing. The Inspector bar alone contains a number of tools to help you manage the project effectively. Yes, there’s even a compiler that allows you to create a single, unified document from all your containers, including marking the draft as rough, adding the title and other front matter as well as much more.
Scrivener is very powerful, functional and flexible. It does require some effort to learn the software. But as you work with it, you realize you can write almost anything using it whether you plan to publish the content or not. This post was originally written using Scrivener because I have a whole project dedicated to developing blog posts.
For those who need some training, Scrivener comes with a tutorial project and if you click Help you can choose to open a manual in .pdf format. Additionally, Literature and Latte has a number of training videos and there are many more posted by other users that can be found on YouTube. Here’s a link to a video by one of the software developers. You can download it for free and get time to use it during a trial period before you buy a license. Want to know more? Try one of my posts about Scrivener – like how you can begin using it today. There’s really a lot of resources to help you and even a Facebook group where writers discuss the usage, tips and general how-to’s with the software.
Here’s a further tutorial shared on YouTube that gives you a good view about how it works:
Many thanks to eclecticllc for sharing that video!