Another quick revision tip for Scrivener

Set the status for every chapter and scene in your manuscript

Since I’m now back revising in Scrivener (for the first time in a few years) I thought I’d add tips as I rediscover them. Here’s an invaluable feature easily missed.

At the bottom right of every element in your manuscript you can find a status label. As I go through the revise process I change the status to mark the stage of the revision. So I have a simple way of seeing where I am with each scene.

You can also see the status in the corkboard view.

To do this you need to activate these settings.

Finally, there is a way to use these stamps to show you immediately any scenes that remain unfinished. Set the Status label to ‘Needs work’ on those scenes. Search for them on the basis of the status stamp.

Then create a collection based on that search.

You’ll now see the features below at the top of the left column. You can switch between the Binder showing the whole manuscript and to a list of those scenes needing more work in an instant.

The Collections feature is a bit tricky to master so I’d read the manual and get the hang of it. When you have your preferred way of working – fonts, styles, this kind of thing – for pity’s sake save it all as a template so you don’t have to do it all over again. Setting up Scrivener for the way you want to work is laborious in my experience and best not repeated.

Collections isn’t a new feature. You will find it detailed in my ebook on Scrivener which is dead cheap on Amazon. The book was written about version two, not the current Mac three. But a lot of the general advice about understanding the way Scrivener works remains current.

This is very powerful software but also very complex, even for someone who’s been using it for many years. The advice I gave here a long time ago remains: it’s one of the few pieces of software around that’s best mastered by finding the tools you want and ignoring the rest.

Try to understand everything it’s capable of and you may a) go nuts and b) never finish that book.