I recently started a new project for my next book, The White Arrow. If I had planned the entire series using Scrivener, then all of The Bow of Hart Saga would be in a single project. But I chose not to do that since I was in the middle of The Bow of Destiny at the time. However, there’s one feature I like to have that works per project (by design actually) and that’s Auto-complete.
For a fantasy author (and for any author really), names get to be a pain to type repeatedly and also lead to a plethora of typos. While a rough draft is rough, it doesn’t have to be filled with errors. With Scrivener’s Auto-complete in use, you can type faster. If you’re familiar with it in similar editors, then you get the picture.
Otherwise, here’s how it works: you start typing a name and Auto-complete suggests names alphabetically and narrows the list down to a few words or one as you type and you hit enter for one word displayed or toggle down with the down arrow in a list to choose from several words. I like to type a few letters when I know I have a list of words that begin with the same first letter and then hit enter for a single word or choose the name from the narrowed list. It looks something like these:
So here’s one quick way to use it. If your like me and have an ongoing series you can add all the names before you get started on a new book. If you are starting a new series, auto-complete is a good reason to develop all the books in the same project. By design, auto-complete keeps a discrete list of words for typing reference only in your project. Otherwise, you would compile a very long list over time and be prompted for names and terms with a list that wouldn’t allow you to save time at all because you would have to stop too much to choose the word from the list of similar words. However, it’s perfect for a single book project or a series. It’s also great for other larger projects such as what you might use for blogging. Why? Because you only have to add names and terms one time for a series project.
To save time in my third book, I still have to add all the names to the auto-complete list that I’ve previously used in the project for An Arrow Against the Wind. This series was started differently and I wouldn’t start it that way again for this reason. But for any project, I’d take time to add common names and terms before you start typing the main body so this will shorten your time. You might find as you go that you have more to add but that’s normal.
Here’s how to add words to auto-complete. Click Project and slide down that menu to Auto-Complete List. This will open a window where you can click the “plus“ (+) button to add words and the “minus” (-) button to remove them and then type it in where it reads “Text”. That’s very simple and easy to do.
Now for a few, quick caveats to help you along. You won’t just get Auto-complete working by adding names unless you have it turned on in the options. To get there, click on Tools and slide down the menu and click on Options, then choose Corrections from the Options Window. There are some default settings already checked or unchecked. Click a check into the “Suggest completions as you type” box and un-check the “In script mode only” if you are not writing a script using script mode. Don’t close the Options window just yet.
There’s one more caveat you need to consider at this point and that’s auto-correct options. You can leave the “Check spelling as you type” box checked on. However, the “Correct spelling errors as you type” option may be a bit frustrating if you have a lot of custom names and terms since this will correct unknown words without asking you based on Scrivener’s built-in dictionary. But to get around this you can click the “View personal word list” button and add the same list of names and terms there too. Otherwise, Scrivener can learn new words by highlighting an known word (underlined in red), right-clicking on it and choosing “Learn spelling” (or use the suggested keyboard shortcuts). That will cut down on words being replace erroneously by auto-correct if you are using it. I’d make sure to have a substantive list built-up before using auto-correct or just leave it off.
So that’s it for the tip to type faster with Scrivener. What tips do you have for typing faster? What custom settings in Scrivener do you find the most useful? Leave your thoughts in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for visiting with us on Story Empire today!