I’ve been weighed down with other matters (that thing called ‘work’) of late and not posted much here. Now I’ve finally managed to catch up with stats and links and all the stuff that tells you what people are looking for.
The answer’s one word: Scrivener. Hard to believe no one had heard of Keith Blount’s wonderful writing invention a few years ago. Now it seems to be the mainstream app for lots of creative writers and much else besides.
This blog has a fair number of Scrivener posts which you can browse through the tag here.
But to start off newcomers I thought I’d list what I think are my top five Scrivener tips about novel-writing with the app (in no particular order and please note some may be Mac-only).
- The Unplaced Scene folder
- Four keyboard shortcuts to remember
- A quick way to find your characters in scenes.
- Creating a story bible
- Counting scenes in a chapter
And don’t forget I’ve a free Scrivener template to accompany Writing A Novel With Scrivener too (not that you need the ebook to use it).
Here’s a little gem half-hidden in Scrivener. It’s do with managing notes for a whole project — bits of text that relate to a book as a whole, not the individual documents that make up the text.
Scrivener defaults to opening with Document Notes in the Inspector window. You know the kind of thing. It’s the yellow bit here.
These notes relate to the individual document in the Binder, not the project as a whole. If you hit the switch though you get a Project Note. This is something you can refer to all the time — wherever you are in the book. Handy for general comments, reminders, ideas, and the rest.
I always used to think there was only one Project Note. In Scrivener for Windows this is the case. But not on the Mac. Here you can find this neat little option.
Choose that and you can create several different sets of Project Notes.
So you could use these for general comments, a to do list for the revision phase, pretty much anything you like.
A useful tool beneath the bonnet. Or so it seems to me.
It’s a year now since I abandoned the Mac though we still have one in the house, for domestic use only. Do I ever have pangs for Apple? Occasionally.
I think the iPad’s a neat entertainment and basic web consumption toy — the best there is. Some of Apple’s laptops look very impressive, especially if you load them up to dual boot in Windows.
Still, I don’t miss writing on the Mac. It’s Scrivener’s natural home but Scrivener on Windows seems just as good for my own purposes as I wrote here. As I’ve written here before a lot of my work takes place in Word which, like it or not, is the lingua franca of the publishing industry.
Of all the questions writers get asked one seems to crop up more often than any other. Do you outline your work in advance? Or do you just leap in and get on with it?
My answer for years has been… somewhere between the two. I have an idea where I’m going with a story. I have notes about waypoints along the journey. With that rough plan I make it up as I go along.
But working with TV people has given me new insights into different tricks to apply to novel-writing. Here’s one that’s cropped up from that experience. Instead of conventional outlining… why not use a draft, rudimentary TV script to map out your story?
And if you’re a Scrivener user you’re doubly lucky since you can do that, and write the book itself, inside the same app. Let’s investigate how… Read More