How Getting Organized Can Help You Achieve Greatness!
by Nick Nebelsky
When I set out on writing my first novel, I opened a copy of Microsoft Word and started to type an outline of my story. My novel is based on one word, and from that word I created a character and then a synopsis. As I was flushing out my summary, I created a list of characters, included some ideas for settings, and then set out to write my story. I realized this was a daunting task. I groveled a little about how I was going to do this and keep track of everything.
Then I discovered a free, 30-day trial of a computer program, called Scrivener, published by “Literature and Latte.” It seemed to do everything I wanted and more! I loved it so much, I purchased it after the first day of my trial.
So what is Scrivener and how can it help you achieve greatness? Read on my friends, and I’ll tell you. The greatness is up to you.
Scrivener is a powerful word processor and organizer with a lot of useful features that will make your job as a writer so much more fun than you ever thought possible! This program is made for all genres of writing, including books, radio plays, comics, and screenplays, so it has a lot more features than a normal word processor. Instead of telling you everything about the program, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite features.
The main difference between Microsoft Word and Scrivener is that in Word you work on your entire manuscript in one file or document. In Scrivener, you have quick access to all the chapters of your book, Character Sketches, Setting Sketches, and other research material, all from within the Scrivener interface. This allows you to easily jump around from chapter to chapter as you write. When your project opens, the interface is broken into three main sections: (1) Binder, (2) Document, and (3) Inspector.
The Binder is where all of your chapters, scenes, and research files are located. It’s set up nicely, in that you can get quick access to anything that you need for your novel. The Document area is where you’ll write your book, scene by scene. Editing is easy because you can move entire sections around just by clicking on the scene you want to move and dragging it to another place in the chapter or even start a whole new chapter. This interface is already pre-populated with all of the folders I need for writing a novel. The Inspector includes different windows, such as an area for notes, snapshots of files you’re working on, or photos. (See Illustration 2)
One of the coolest features is that you can import large manuscripts you have already written into Scrivener, and with a simple process, break down your long manuscript into chapters and scenes automatically. I’ve included some helpful links at the bottom of this blog that will show you how to do that. It’s fast and easy and will save you a ton of time!
If you like to think of yourself as an “old-school” writer who organizes using index cards, Scrivener has a built in feature that shows your work broken up into index cards on a cork board. And like the chapters, you can easily move your index cards around the cork board.
I like that I can upload photos of people into my project to use as reference material. I can also create Character Sketches and Setting Sketches to remind me of all the characters in my book. Scrivener provides templates; all I have to do is fill them out.
One of my favorite features is the live word count as you type. I can also set targets for chapters and individual scenes. I’ve set a goal of 75,000 words and can easily break it down and see a visual representation of where I am, in terms of meeting that goal.
Scrivener is ideal for when it’s time to publish your e-book, as you can save your file as an .epub or .mobi file, thus saving yourself of having to find a third party entity to do this for you. You can also see how your manuscript will appear as a paperback or in e-book format. I hope you’ll find the program as useful as I have. It has changed my writing habits and has made me a more organized writer.
Scrivener is available for $45 on literatureandlattes.com, and they also have an educational discount price. They have a free 30-day trial (and it only counts the days you actually use it, not 30 consecutive calendar days), so there’s no excuse not to at least try it. Check out the links below or just use the search words: “Scrivener Tutorials” in Youtube or Google.com.
For more than 30 years, Nicholas Nebelsky has created everything from greeting cards to short stories to children’s books to trade show presentations to screenplays and radio dramas. He currently spends his days listening to a lot of music while writing his first YA novel and contemplating his next venture. For additional information, please visit his web site.