Monday, June 11, 2012

Expanding the Toolbox

by Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

There are many tools in a writer's toolbox, but none quite like the applications we use for our craft (unless you still write long-hand, in which case God bless you). Like many writers, I have always used just a word processing application to do my writing. I use Microsoft Word, some people may use Word Perfect, but same concept: open application and type. That means you have to find another way to keep track of all those pesky things that writers of fiction must have: character notes, plot synopses, scene descriptions, etc. I used Evernote. Some writers use Microsoft Excel, some just use a separate Word file.

This all works, but it's a bit clunky. After all, when your novel manuscript is 90,000 words and 47 chapters, finding one particular scene - the one you have to move - can be a little tricky.

For a couple years now, I've heard about this alternate application - Scrivener. Break your manuscript into scenes. Easily move them around. Keep your character notes right there. Pin things to your virtual cork board. I have friends who swear by this application.

I've always been intrigued by the web site description, but have been afraid to try it. What if I don't like it? How much time am I going to invest in learning a new tool (I've used Word for almost two decades, I'm pretty good with it)? But I saw Scrivener and got to touch it with my friend on our research field trip last weekend (more on that in another post). And I liked it. Or I was at least intrigued by it.

So I'm taking the plunge. I've downloaded and installed Scrivener. I'll be blogging about my initial experiences - say the first week or so - for anyone who is similarly interested and wants a first-hand account.

Here goes nothing.

Note: I'll be using the Mac version of Scrivener for this experiment. If you are using the Windows version, please allow for slight differences.


  1. I've heard about Scrivener but haven't tried it. Now I'm delighted to let you be my guinea pig. Tell us everything.

    1. Keep on reading. I'll posting as I learn.