BarCampCHS Session 3 (ish) Scrivener

Presenter: Andra Watkins
The Accidental Cootchie Mama

She’s working on her second novel now. (Fiction, suspense)

Scrivener!
Is writing software for Mac & Windows.

There are two kinds of writers: the outliners, and the pantsers.  The outliners do tons of research or backstory planning before they begin.  There are also writers like Andra who has characters who speak and she follows where they lead–by the seat of the pants, thus pantsers. (Andra didn’t use this term, but Mur Lafferty does and it captures this style well.)

It’s got a LOT of features. $50 to buy, 30 day free trial.

It has templates that help you–fiction, nonfiction, scriptwriting, poetry.  Each has many subtypes.  These formats match the things that publishers will expect you to use for turning in mss.

It has instructions but you don’t have to read them.  You can customize the screen — anything from a single “sheet” of paper to the index card/corkboard view.

The items on the left hand side lets you organize smaller chunks of text.  The sections can be paragraphs, chapters, scenes, etc.  When you’re ready to produce your finished document, it complies the chunks for you.

The center of the screen is your main work space.  It generally looks like a Word doc.

The right side of the screen lets you search & keep track of the metadata for the chunk you’re looking at in the middle.  Metadata can be color coded, you can use text labels, etc.  You also have space to leave yourself a note about the section “change x – this sucks.”  This helps you keep track of changes you need to make.  If you’re doing nonfiction, you can add in a link or reference to a resource for the section.

Back up stuff!  You can take snapshots before making a major change, so that if you prefer the previous version, you can roll back to that.

The novel template gives you preloaded chunks, like info sheets on characters.
You can drop your research –text, links, images, etc. into chunks in Scrivener so you can have all your research stored IN scrivener.  You don’t have to leave Scrivener to do anything with your writing.  This is just easier than poking around a bunch of crappy subfolders on your PC.

It lets you keep track of your word count and you can look at them any time. You can customize the word count so that it keeps track of how many words you need to do today & how much you’ve done in that day when you log in/log out.

It has commenting options like in Word or stickies in a PDF.

Compiling – you can select exactly what gets put into the compiled text.  You can edit front matter, you can export it into any format that you specify and it will change fonts and spacing, etc. for the complied text.  That way you can use whatever you want for the writing font.  You can include pictures, charts, etc.  It will compile a bibliography for you. Etc.

[From my own experience with Scrivener, the Mac version is the primary one.  The Windows version is newer, and is robust, but doesn’t have all the Mac features.  There is a 30 day trial, and it counts the number of days you actually use it before it expires.  You can also install it, then drag the install to a USB stick, but they don’t support USB installs per se.]

You can set the default file location in Scrivener to Dropbox or anywhere you like.  Careful with this…make sure you back up your files in >1 place.

Once she’s to the point of giving her novel to an editor, she complies it into  Word doc, then she goes from there in Word.

This is an extremely customizable program.  If you have to write stuff, give this a try!
It keeps copied & pasted links live, which is nice.

[OMG!  Andra just admitted that Carnell, who recommended this program to her, was right.  Nooo!  Don’t give Carnell a bigger ego. 😉 Just kidding.  On the square.]

Without Scrivener, Andra says she never would have finished her novel.
Her first novel goes to alpha readers tomorrow.  Congrats!!!

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