Thursday, February 4, 2016

On Writing: My Thoughts on Scrivener

I've been writing stories since I was nine years old. I started on the family computer using a really old version of Word (which was probably relatively new in 1994) and tried to write wherever I was, whenever I could. I would come home from school, and write until bed time (Homework be damned. Whoops), and do it all again the next day.

I was actually watching this movie, Ruby Sparks last weekend, starring Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, who also wrote it. Dano plays a writer who actually writes Ruby (Kazan) into existence. What I found interesting was the he wrote on a typewriter. In the age of computers, writing on typewriters seems wasteful, and like it's making your life a lot more difficult.

I've tried several different writing programs, all on my computers, ranging from Open Office (Like Word, but free), Five Sprockets (Now defunct, sadly), Google Docs, and then this summer after winning Camp NaNoWriMo, I was able to get Scrivener at a discount.

I've spent the last couple months just playing with the different functions, starting different stories and screenplays (It has a screenplay function!!!!), and attempting to write using the index card method. I've never used index cards before, as I always considered myself a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants), but within the last year or so, I started to realize that while pantsing it might be exciting, it resulted in uneven storytelling, lots of plotholes, frustration from writer's block.

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)
Click Picture to purchase Windows
What's great (though tedious) is that you can upload stories you've already written into Scrivener. With my plans to rewrite my first book, I uploaded it to take a look at the different scenes and see what will work, what does, what needs to be changed, and who can forget how much I hated the original ending?

I'm very optimistic that I can use this software to keep me organized in the long run. I'm not an organized person, by nature. Using the index cards, you can rearrange anything by dropping and dragging.

It also helps you keep track of characters, places, how they look, you can drag and drop inspiration pictures. It's all great. I love it!

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)
Click Picture to purchase Mac OS
A lot of writers are turning to methods like Scrivener to keep everything in one place, and I think I'm just another one in a long line. But it's also got versions for logging, you can download different templates to help you plan our your writing (I've found several on Pinterest). I'm pumped to try them for some of my stories (Like my Betsy Banks Mystery Series).
  • What programs do you like to use to write your stories?
  • Do you use Scrivener? How do you like it?
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  1. I did my manuscript all in word, but did consider Scrivener. That screenshot is pretty much exactly what I'm doing with post-it notes right now! I can definitely see the benefit of having it all in once place.

    1. I've never been able to do post-its or index cards, but using this has definitely helped me streamline my thought process to exactly what this one particular scene is about. I can see why people started using note cards in the first place.

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  3. Love using it as well! I did a trial run for NaNoWriMo 2014 and purchased it shortly thereafter.

    1. I tried a trial, and then downloaded it after winning Camp. Great decision. :-)