Friday, August 30, 2013

Scrivener for Dummies

What do you do when you're so sick of Microsoft Word you want to pull your hair out?

You look for alternatives!!!

And you find Scrivener. Then you go to a Scrivener workshop put on by Gwen Hernandez--a blonde gal. Okay, yes. I have to mention that!! I don't care if it's odd. :D She's a beautiful blonde woman with a name like Hernandez. It's okay, though. It took me no time at all to acclimate to the contradiction. Especially since I have a beautiful, blonde sister who is now named Reyes...

But, I digress... and onto the topic at hand, Scrivener.

There are lots of awesome things about Scrivener. The first and most obvious...word processing.
It's different, yet similar. Don't get me wrong. There are lots of alternatives to MS Word. Open Office and whatever is on your PC when you get it. Not to mention Notepad. So, this isn't such a big deal maybe.

Its flash is in everything else. It's a fiction writer's organizational dream. It has corkboards, color coding, folders, index cards. In every "fiction" project, it has set folders for characters, research, places...and the ability to add folders if you can think of other things you might want to keep track of. For example, in one project, I opened and started, I decided I was going to use the places folder. In that folder I have at least nine notes with each spot my hero and heroine end up. In those notes are details about the spot, what happens, etc. Because my characters are an Angel and a descendent of Mother Nature, they move alot. This is not the usual small town story--all in one place. It helps to keep things straight.

You can see each note on the corkboard or in outline form or, by clicking through the project files, see them separately in the main window. I know this is all foreign to you if you've never even opened Scrivener to use it, so I'll try not to be too detailed. BUT...I just wanted to get it out there. For all of you people who love post it notes, color coding, and otherwise being anal retentive about plotting, this is a GREAT tool.

Last, but not least, I want to quickly mention. I formatted one of my ms for epub. If anyone else has ever used MS Word to create a .pdf and then dropped it onto an ereader, you know...the formatting is AWFUL. This is not the way books or documents were meant to be read!! Well, let me tell you... using Scrivener to format my doc in order to read it on my Nook??? So awesome. So awesome! If I were to self-publish again, I would know exactly what to do, where to go. None of this crazy step-by-step process that takes well over an hour to get one document into ereader format. Nope. Just a few clicks here, a few clicks there, and BAM! Perfection. I was pleased. By far, pleased with this discovery, more than any other feature.

Anyway, feel free to leave me a comment. Tell me what you think, if you use it.


  1. Very interesting about the .pdf formatting - I'll have to try this. I can see were some of the features would be more useful for those writing novella length (and longer) stories where there are more people and places to track than in the short stories I mostly write (I only have one idea for a novel-length story, so maybe I could try it with that).

    Since you've done more with this than I, is there any problems moving work out of Scrivener and back to Word should the need arise?

  2. No! not a problem. You can import and then move back to Word at any time. :) It's pretty simple. You can even import a manuscript/project and split it into folders. I am going to do that with my Angel story.

    Not sure I made it clear, but the eformat is great because you can go directly TO epub or mobi, rather than deal with pdf at all. pdf is where the doc to reader gets wonky. :)


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