Scrivener is one of the best things I’ve done for myself in 2016. If you were already following me earlier this year, when I was knee-deep in the formatting of Rise of the Sparrows, you may remember my love/hate relationship (mostly hate) with OpenOffice and my steady decent into madness.
I wanted to purchase Word but couldn’t afford it, so I turned to Scrivener which came with a free trial and was a bargain when I purchased it!
Scrivener has made writing my novels so. much. easier!
Please note: This post uses affiliate links. If you’re tempted to try Scrivener, won’t you consider buying it through one of the links in this post? It’s no extra hassle to you <3 (in fact, it’s easier since you’re already here!)
At the time, Scrivener popped up across my feeds rather a lot. I caved and had a look at the incredible tutorials by Kristen Kieffer at She’s Novel. Her whole blogsite is an invaluable resource for writers, so I suggest you click that link regardless of whether you’re interested in Scrivener!
Scrivener looked too good to be true and the trial was free, so I figured Why not?
Now, I know I’m not using Scrivener to its full potential. There are so many awesome things you can do with this program; I recommend you check out Kristen’s website if you want to know what its full potential can offer you. I’m only using the basics – but the basics I adore!
Take a look at my favourite features:
Scrivener’s full screen mode gets rid of all distractions. You’re left with your draft and nothing but your draft – even that small task bar at the bottom disappears unless you hover over it.
If you get distracted easily by social media then this is the tool for you! Don’t worry if grey on black doesn’t work for you. You can customise full screen mode (and just about every other aspect) to suit you.
This is one of my favourite features. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the progress bar turn from red to orange to green!
You can set your overall word count goal for the whole draft, or you can set individual session word counts which you can adjust every day, or even while you write*.
*if you feel like cheating… Go ahead, I don’t judge. We’ve all done it.
I don’t use Scrivener’s name generator that often, but it includes some intriguing options such as Ancient Sumarian or Hawaiian. You might not want to spend a lot of time naming a character if it’s just for a quick writing exercise, so this is great for quick suggestions.
And where else would you get Ancient Amazonian names from? Scrivener’s got you covered!
Accidentally closed your WIP without saving first? Don’t worry, Scrivener’s got your back.
Every time you close the program, Scrivener does an automatic backup first so even if you did close your manuscript by accident, you wouldn’t lose anything.
I wouldn’t rely on it, though. It’s never not worked for me, but I’m a paranoid girl and I’m used to saving before I close anything.
I haven’t tried this myself, but I bet quite a few of you just looked up! Scrivener can save your file as a .mobi, .ePub, and loads of other formats.
When I uploaded the .pdf of Rise of the Sparrows to KDP, the conversion happened automatically. However, you don’t get a copy, and many reviewers will ask for something other than a .pdf.
I adore Scrivener’s corkboard, especially because it looks like the real thing. It allows you to plan every chapter, and it’s easy to refer back to remind yourself of what needs to happen next.
You can also open the relevant note next to your chapter in full screen mode, so you have your notes right there without needing to leave your chapter.
I use it to plan all of my chapters in advance to avoid getting stuck. If you’re doing NaNo you’ll know that not getting stuck is vital to NaNo success!
Scrivener allows you to customise just about every part of it, so you can really make it look the way you want.
Remember what I mentioned when I talked about full screen mode? If you don’t want to write black on white (the standard), you don’t have to. If a pink background with green writing is more your thing*, then you can adjust it.
I’ve set mine to a black background with dark grey writing. This makes a nice change and allows me to see my draft a little differently, too.
Remember the cork board? If the cork board look isn’t doing it for you, you can change it to a couple of other textures or one colour. You can even change the index card edges from pointy to rounded, and the colours!
You can make Scrivener look the way you want, and I’m in love with the options it gives you.
*and doesn’t burn your eyes
Did I mention the best part?
There’s a free trial version you can download, which gives you 30 days of actual use (rather than one month, whether you use it or not) before you need to make your mind up. If you’d prefer to try it first, you can get the free trial here 🙂
Or, if I’ve convinced you, you can buy it here:
Words of warning: If you’re like me, you’ll have several backups of your WIP. I had the original files on my memory stick, but eventually moved the main file to my desktop for one simple reason: Loading it and saving it from my memory stick was slow. Maddeningly, insanely slow.
So, if Scrivener looks like it might be for you, learn from my mistake and use memory sticks only for backups. Keep your main file on your desktop, or else you’ll feel like pulling your hair out. Writing and editing a novel is hard enough as it is, you don’t need to make it worse for yourself.
If I’ve tempted you and you’re wondering about giving the free trial a shot (I’ve mentioned it’s free, haven’t I? It’s free!), you can download it here.
Do you use Scrivener, or do you need a bit more convincing? What are your favourite features? Make a tea, take a break, and talk to me! 🙂
Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:
For all of my other musings, click me!
For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.