I'm rather surprised there isn't a writeup about the software... Let's fix that!

Scrivener is an author tool designed to assist productivity by combining a writing platform (akin to Microsoft Word) with research and outlining tools. Literature and Latte created this useful software and does a fine job with maintaining it. It was originally designed for Mac, but it has a great Windows version which I personally use. You can get it for $40 but if you look around for discounts or you hit your 50K goal on NaNoWriMo you can pick up a full version of your choice for $20. For those who want to try it out, they offer a 30-day free trial.

The one complaint folks have about Scrivener is that it has a ton of useful parts to the point where it has a decent learning curve. The company has some video training but there are loads of tutorials on YouTube. Expect to spend some time with picking up some of the advanced functions, but if you cover the basics you can be up and writing in a day.

Scrivener has one thing I particularly like - excellent novel templates. A bit of Google-fu will find plenty of templates to work from, ranging from the Lester Dent Method to a Romance outline. I have a very complex template that has lots of built-in notes and multiple character arcs that I built from my own psychotic process and ideas gleaned from other templates.

I recently had someone ask me about Scrivener and other writing tools. They were interested in my opinion of their usefulness as an established author and whether they should purchase some of the tools folks are discussing on sites like Facebook.

Here's the funny thing. I almost always write using Notepad++, which is like Windows Notepad but with multiple tabs. I have 138 tabs open on mine as I type this. That's a lot of short stories, essays, and novel chapters in progress. I personally like writing with it because it takes away all of the formatting and forces me to just write the words. When I'm done with a short story, I normally paste it into Word, update any required formatting, and then send it off to an editor or a slushpile. If I'm working on a novel, I paste the chapter into Scrivener and update the formatting. This works for me because it prevents me from getting distracted with minutiae.

When I was re-starting my writing career I kept looking for books and useful tools to help me write. I would recommend authors focus on getting words on a page first and foremost and then look into other tools like Scrivener, the Marshall Plan, or the Snowflake Method of outlining when you're ready to try different things. Understand it will take away some of your writing time when you're learning something new. Apps and books won't replace word generation on a page. I spent a lot of money until I realized I should only invest in something because it accomplishes or fulfills a concrete need like helping me generate words when my carpal tunnel flares up (Nuance Dragon Dictate Premium 13 and a condensor microphone), book formatting (Jutoh, Adobe Acrobat Pro, and Adobe InDesign for my uses), or graphic novel art tools (Poser, Adobe Photoshop). I can afford the expensive tools because I no longer buy everything that looks interesting or nifty.

Scrive"ner (? ∨ ?), n. [From older scrivein, OF. escrivain, F. 'ecrivain, LL. scribanus, from L. scribere to write. See Scribe.]

1.

A professional writer; one whose occupation is to draw contracts or prepare writings.

Shak.

The writer better scrivener than clerk. Fuller.

2.

One whose business is to place money at interest; a broker.

[Obs.]

Dryden.

3.

A writing master.

[Prov. Eng.]

Halliwell.

Scrivener's palsy. See Writer's cramp, under Writer.

 

© Webster 1913.

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