Falling in Love with Scrivener 3

Scrivener 3 or Word?

The thing about Scrivener is that it’s full of so many good things to the point where it seems complicated. Many writers are so mentally insecure in that they need to create some sort of writing environment which is the equivalent of blinkers. This is to stop any other distractions from interfering with the brainwaves that create the stories and so on. This can go to levels where a writer might even choose to use pencil and paper or an old-fashioned typewriter rather than take the benefits you gain from using a computer. You still have writers like Lee Child for instance who are technical numbskulls and are still using Word to create full-length novels. I listened to him in a podcast explain how he didn’t know how to use templates properly. What he does is to take the same document he was working on before and delete everything in it so he has the same writing environment as he had before. It’s all part of the same malaise where writers play the primadonna claiming an inability to write unless the muse takes them. Many writers choose to use a plain text editor as their window into their creative world of writing. This stops them from the urge to fiddle with how the text looks on the page and anything else that might distract them. Scrivener 3 is so much better than office software because it is made specifically for writers/authors.

Scrivener 3

Writing And Writers Discipline

Proper writers are disciplined and have a set time during the day when they sit down and start writing. Writing is work. It might be necessary to get into the required frame of mind or thinking for the story. This can be done by reading your creative writing from the day before. Getting into the story by reading what’s been done already is often enough to get the creative juices flowing again. Sometimes what I like to do is to spend half an hour writing in my journal just to get into the writing mindset. Scrivener 3 is a fantastic writers digital environment. Sit down in front of the app and unload the ideas. Be disciplined with your writing work.

Outlining Or Writing By The Seat Of Your Pants

Organised writers don’t write by the seat of their pants and will have a long list of chapters and scenes to be written. Writing with your computer isn’t a question of staring at a blank screen with a blank space in between the ears. Your session in front of Scrivener or whatever writing software you use will merely be a choice of choosing which scene to write from the list you have in front of you. With Scrivener you can split the screen up to have your character notes on one side of the screen or whatever the piece of research you need for what you’re about to write. The other side of the screen will be the area in which you put your words and your ideas. The author only needs to think about what is going to happen in that scene. What does the protagonist want? How is the antagonist going to try and stop that from happening. It’s more productive to be thinking along the lines of how does this scene take the story forward than is to be worrying about your writing software.

Outlining in Scrivener 3

Do You Need To Learn Everything In Scrivener?

I have seen writers complain about Scrivener being so complicated. Complicated to the point where they use inferior apps and miss out on the benefits of software specifically designed for authors. People really do worry about the silliest of things. With Scrivener all you need to do is to open up the Scrivener project, create a new text document in the binder and start typing. It’s not necessary to think about all the bells and whistles offered by Scrivener. It’s even possible to clear away all of the tools for organisation and concentrate on your writing in a fullscreen experience. Have the digital blinkers on even with a fully featured authors software like Scrivener 3. It would be a bit like being scared to drive a Ferrari because it could go at more than 200 mph. It isn’t obligatory to drive at full speed in a super sports car and it isn’t obligatory to know about every single tool within Scrivener. Open the app and start writing, learn about the rest later when you need it.

Getting Past The Learner Stage With Scrivener

When you’re still using the training wheels you can have one single document within your project and put every single piece of text within that one document. If it’s a short document that’s all you’ll ever need. When the project gets longer you can split the single document into separate scrivenings. With the text split up into individual discrete parts you can organise your work to your hearts content. You have the choice of moving things around within the binder to get the work into a coherent, readable document. Or use keyboard shortcuts to move things around or you can do the drag-and-drop using the trackpad or the keyboard. If you’re more of a visual sort of person then jump into the corkboard. Within this view you can see cards representing each item and they are further visually enhanced with colour coding. The colour coding can denote a character point of view for the scene or chapter. There are also labels to attach to the various parts to tell you at what stage you are at with that piece. Use yellow when it is a first draft, orange when it has received its first edit and green when it is finished and ready to present. Using tools like Scrivener 3 is just what you need to make you treat your writing professionally and in a businesslike manner. You still have to be the same type of creative person to make your unique stories. Using a writers software like Scrivener is not going to make your work just the same as everybody else’s. I suggest you will be a better writer when using software fit for purpose.

Scrivener 3 Cork board

Setting Targets And Getting Work Done

It makes me laugh when I see writers struggling to get out 500 words in one day. People like this I don’t see as being professional writers. Professional writers get the work done and this means writing thousands of words. If you only write 500 words per day is going to take a long time to write a novel. The more writing you do the better you get at the job of writing. The more words you put on the page more chances you have to learn the craft of writing. The first stage is to get the basic ideas on the page in a first draft. It is in the editing and the polishing where the real work is done. Within Scrivener there are plenty of tools for helping you to keep track of your writers work ethic. Set a target for the whole of the manuscript, set targets for the words you expect to have in a chapter or a scene. I love the new capability in Scrivener 3 to see the writing history for the project. Find this in the menu and you’ll see the dates you worked on the project and how many words you added on that day. It’s even possible to export this data out to put into a spreadsheet if you really want to get nerdy.

on target

Great For NaNoWriMo

One of the excellent features within Scrivener 3 is the ability to set a target date for your draft to be finished. Then go into options and say which days of the week you expect to be writing. The software will tell you how many words you need to write during the session for the day so you can hit your deadline. You put a tick into the checkbox for – Automatically calculate from draft deadline – Scrivener works the rest out for you. There are a couple of choices for when the session count is reset. The easiest one to choose is for midnight each day. It’s this capability which makes Scrivener the perfect choice if you’re going to compete in Nanowrimo. It’s just one of the great things about Scrivener which makes it the best authors, writers choice for any long form writing work.

Other Goodies In Scrivener

  • A place to put all of your research.
  • Useful templates for various types of writing.
  • Excellent compiler options.
  • Three different types of outlining tools – Outlining in the binder, the corkboard, and the outline view.
  • It works great with DragonDictate.
  • Use of keywords to help you organise your work.
  • Project bookmarks – Place a bookmark to help you find places within the work you need to go back to to finish or change things.
  • Snapshots – Keep records of your work at various stages and see what changes you’ve made.
  • Use a synopsis for each text document – This helps you to identify what’s going on in addition to the title to help you when you’re organising. Especially useful in the corkboard view.
  • Place images in your text and have controls for the size of the images when compiled.
  • Easy to split a large document into smaller parts using keyboard shortcuts.
  • Scrivener scratchpad – another way to keep notes relevant to the project.
  • There are iOS versions for iPhone and iPad – Synchronise and work anywhere.

Keeping It All Together In Scrivener

In other writers software I use I get to have everything all in one file. I split that into an area for fiction writing and another area for blogging. I then have another section for a writers diary. It is super to have everything all in one place like that. With Scrivener it is project file based where you have a project for each distinct piece of work. I suppose you could have a project which is for all of your blogging. Then just have separate Scrivener projects for each novel. If you’re prone to jumping around from one thing to another, this project approach could be an advantage. It’s possible to have more than one Scrivener project open at the same time. You could keep a project used for collecting ideas for stories and using as a writing diary. If an idea starts to look good and worthy of more attention it could break out into a project of its own.

My Personal Verdict On Scrivener 3

I’ve been using Scrivener for a very long time. For many years I’ve been aware that it’s professional quality writing software for authors. I have been using Ulysses as my default daily writing software because I like the simplicity of the interface. I like being able to use markdown for my writing. Ulysses has a simple but powerful way to organise the look of the interface. There’s also a similarly easy and highly useful way to export work out to a variety of formats. I also prefer the use of iCloud for the synchronisation of work between the Mac and iOS. After spending a couple of days using Scrivener 3 I can see myself getting back into using it instead of Ulysses. Scrivener feels good to use in version 3. I’m not going to miss Markdown because I have super fast keyboard shortcuts to set styles. I can probably live with the Dropbox synchronisation. There’s just so much to love in the new Scrivener 3.

Compile Is Excellent On The Mac, Not So Much In Scrivener For iOS

With Scrivener 3 I like the way the compile settings have been simplified. It’s really useful to have the ability to compile directly for the Kindle format from the Mac version of Scrivener. I’d like to see that available in the iOS version along with export to EPUB. There are only four compile options in iOS Scrivener and it’s not enough. When compiling from Scrivener on the Mac I do like the way that you can set it to open up in an application suitable for the type of file you are making. Have your new Kindle file open up in the Kindle app as well as being exported to a folder. Same thing with an EPUB file and choosing it to be opened up in, for example in iBooks.

Scrivener For Dictators

I write using dictation using the software from Nuance called DragonDictate for Mac. If I’m using Ulysses I have to dictate into TextEdit first and then copy and paste it into Ulysses. When using Scrivener I can dictate directly into the application. I like having one less step in the writing process so that is a definite thumbs up for Scrivener. Dragon Dictate seems to be more accurate while using Scrivener for the dictation and isn’t getting cranky if I need to use the keyboard in the same document.

I Shall Never Be So Organised As I Will Be With Scrivener

I just found out it’s possible to use a keyboard shortcut to move a paragraph up or down within a text document in Scrivener. This organisational facility in Scrivener is a cherry on the cake considering everything else Scrivener can do for your arranging of a long document. There is a definite workflow possible using Scrivener for maximum creativity. I have my own template for novel writing based on a well proven three act structure. It’s a good start to take this template and use it in the corkboard view of Scrivener. Use the synopsis area to tell the basic story. Then it’s just a matter of going into the various parts and adding the scenes. It’s a case of going from the broad strokes of the story and working towards the details in a logical fashion.

Written In Scrivener Of Course

Obviously I have used Scrivener to write this piece for the blog post. I have to say I’m extremely happy to be using Scrivener. I’m impressed with the changes made in this version of Scrivener and it’s a delight to use. There are a lot of menus and settings to help me do a good job of writing using Scrivener 3. At the moment I’m not feeling overwhelmed by the interface even though I know there are more things to learn to get the best from this software. There’s a lot of love gone into making this top authors software and it shows in the quality and capability in it.