Tools for writing #1 – Scrivener & my writing process

In my Tools for writing series I will be highlighting some of the writing tools that work for me. This is not to say they’re the best tools for everyone, but they are for me.

What’s Scrivener?

For the first post in this series, I’m focusing on a digital tool that has helped me in many situations: Scrivener by Literature and Latte. Scrivener is the beating heart of all my manuscripts, it’s the place where I do all of my writing.

I first came across Scrivener as part of a software bundle years ago and have been a happy user ever since then. The recent addition of the iOS app has only made me happier since I can now tinker on my manuscript on my phone wherever I am.

What’s so great about it?

In short, Scrivener is a software programme specifically designed for writers. It’s a non-linear editing tool (farewell endless scrolling in a Word document) that makes it easy to write snippets of text and string them all together. Its many options for customisation ensure that I always know which part of my manuscript I’ve revised, tweaked or tinkered with.

The word count feature is also incredibly useful. With daily word counts, overall project word counts and anything in between, it’s easy to keep track of the size of your manuscript as your story grows.

The way you can easily integrate external files into your project help me to build an extensive wiki-like area within my manuscript file where I can build up the world of my story in as much detail as I want. The same goes for the most important characters of my story. With customisable templates for character sheets, I can make sure that none of my characters change eye colour mid-story.

Is it easier to write then?

For me, it helps. By breaking the story up into multiple parts and writing on small sections instead of one big flow, my manuscript definitely feels less intimidating. It’s easier to keep track of things as I shuffle parts of my story around as well.

Now Scrivener also allows for further integration with Aeon Timeline, for example. I have to say I tried this but found it too complex for my taste. But if complex timelines are an integral part of your plotting, that’s definitely another plus for Scrivener.

In the end though, Scrivener is still a tool. And that means, like any other tool, you need to use it to get anything out of it. If you find it difficult to find motivation to write, Scrivener can lower the barrier a bit, but in the end… you still need to sit in that chair and type out those words.

It’s only that it’s a much more joyous experience to type them out in Scrivener.

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