Scrivener Writing Software

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Scrivener is software by Literature & Latte designed for writers. It acts as a word processor, planning software, research and storage bin, and book formatter for when you’re ready to send your manuscript to a distributor. I’ll let L&L write their own advertising copy, but here are some of the ways I’ve used the software with Committed:

  • Word Processor: I started typing my book in Word. That’s not a problem when you’re typing a term paper for school, or other small projects. Once you get to between 40,000 and 100,000 words, navigating a Word document becomes more difficult. With Scrivener, everything is broken into movable chapters, and moving form here to there is simple.
  • Revision Mode: When revising a chapter, I go into “Revision Mode,” which shows all my changes in a different (up to five) color. I found it very helpful to keep track of changes and versions.
  • Composition Mode: Click a button in the header, and everything else disappears, so it’s just you, your story, a peaceful background image, and a blank page. I didn’t care about this at first, but the more I used it, I really came to enjoy distraction-free writing.
  • Side-by-Side Mode: Another click, and I can look at two parts of the document at the same time, in two different side-by-side windows. I found this helpful when rewriting, outlining, and looking at research while writing. There were times I also put up pictures of my characters (movie starts that resemble what I think my characters look like) in the right window, and wrote in the left. Very cool feature.
  • Research Collector: Scrivener makes it easy to store any research or data (or movie star pictures) in an easy to access set of files–within the system. Everything organized in one place.
  • Compile: From time to time, I like to go back through my manuscript and “beta read” my own work. Scrivener made it easy to convert the manuscript into a Kindle file and transfer it to my iPad and/or Kindle. When reading my own work, I typically read on the iPad, and highlight or note any sections that I want to revisit or rewrite.
  • Sticky Notes: If I’m not comfortable with the way I’ve written a paragraph, but don’t want to slow down at the moment, I create a Stick Note and paste it (electronically) to that part of the manuscript. Scrivener keeps track of all the notes, and I can run back through a list of sticky notes, one at a time, making sure I don’t miss any corrections.
  • Much More: I haven’t touched on Word Targets, Cork Board options, and so much more.

Writers develop habits and routines that are unique to them. Maybe the best part of Scrivener is its flexibility, allowing the individual writer to customize the software to fit the way the work. Don’t like seeing all the buttons and folders while you write? Go to Composition Mode. You shape the software to look like you want it to look.

Scrivener currently sells for $45 on the Literature & Latte site. I read on KBoards that they will sell it for $32 using the Coupon Code “WORDSWITHJAM”, and recently saw a now-expired coupon for an even lower price. They also give a 30-day free trial to use a full version of the software, so you can put it through the paces before buying.

Final notes:

  • I am not connected to Literature & Latte in any way, and receive nothing for recommending them. I just think it’s great software, and most writers would benefit from using it.
  • I use the Mac version. From what I read, the Mac version is better than the Windows version.

Scrivener Training

  1. Literature & Latte Training Videos: 22 online videos to get you started with the program.
  2. Bootcamp & Synopsis: A YouTube video.
  3. Compile With Style: A nice how-to.