Friday Five: 5 reasons why I use Scrivener…


I missed yesterday- Friday, that is.

I had a funeral to go to, and, even though it wasn’t my loss, some tears to cry for my friend and their family. Too young, too loved and too cared for to go so soon. I guess that’s always the way.

Anyways, the afternoon was full of running around and doing the back to normal thing and before I knew it, Friday had gone- without a Friday Five.

Given that it’s Friday somewhere, though, I figure that I’m still ok.

This week I’ve been working on a beginners astrology course that I’ll be running in August via Skype. I’ve also been working on an astrology ebook that I hope to self publish within the next couple of months and editing (again) the manuscript draft I completed last November.

On top of that I have an idea that just won’t go away, so I’m having my own mini nanowrimo and attempting to smash out 50,000 words of a first draft this June.

I’m being kept accountable with the help of a few friends on the Writers Forum that I belong to, and there’s a whole host of people in the RWA (Romance Writers Australia) doing it too.

I’m a pantser rather than a plotter. This means that I generally have no idea what’s going to happen until it does. I write scenes as they come to me, and generally get a draft out quickly. Because of this I need an app that doesn’t mean that I’m cutting and pasting whole rafts of words through larger rafts of words.

So I use Scrivener. For these reasons… there just happens to be five.

Project Targets

I need this. I set myself an imposed deadline and tend to stick to it. I pop this into the targets, decide how many days a week I’m going to write, and hey presto I have a daily word count.

The little line graph starts off red, moves to amber, and becomes greener as you get closer to achieving your daily target. You can even set it to alert you along the way.

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As I said, I tend to write in scenes.

Scrivener allows you to pop a synopsis of each scene, sort of like a post it sticker. This means that when I’m looking for something, a passage, whatever, I can just browse the synopsis. In Scrivener, this is available in a corkboard view (below), document view or outline view.

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More importantly, you can drag scenes, and chapters around- before or after other scenes. There’s no cutting and pasting, no risking losing chunks of words.

You can even drag scenes down to a deleted scenes folder at the bottom of the page, so you can easily retrieve it if you change your mind later.

Character Sketches

Ever had to trawl through thousands of words trying to remember what you named the best friends husband? How old her kids are? Their names? Don’t stress it. There’s a handy little character section especially for that.

I sometimes find a celebrity who I think could look like my character and attach that image. I’ll also attach images of outfits that they might wear to work, or coffee, or on a date.

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Location Settings

Similar to character settings, I find it helpful to pop in a pic or two.

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Then when you’re done, the whole thing compiles into a word doc (or pdf or whatever) at the touch of a command.

Too easy!  I can’t say the same for the writing, or the editing, or the endless search for a publisher…

Scrivener isn’t just for novels- there’s a format for all types of long form non fiction as well. I use Scrivener for mac (purchased through the app store), but there’s also a version for windows users. Google it.



Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

5 thoughts

  1. Wow Jo. That’s an impressive to-do list. I’ll hold you accountable to it! 😉

  2. Wow, you’re so committed. I’d heard of Scrivener but didn’t really know what it did. The only time I attempted a novel I used the snowflake method, but wrote very chronologically.

  3. Hi Jo, I came over from the Rewind but the link didn’t work and I found my way here instead! Glad I did. Have been thinking about giving scrivener a whirl.

    1. I love it. I’m working on a non fiction manuscript as well at present, and it’s like having a white board in my laptop.

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