The 5 Benefits of Scrivener

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Written by Frankie Cameron

Do you write with Scrivener? Writers have boasted about the benefits of using the novel-writing software scrivener forever. I thought about trying the program, but didn’t want to spend more money when I already pay for Microsoft 365 for my day job. As an editor, I use Microsoft Word and I love it.

After multiple endorsements, I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about. I downloaded the free 30-day trial of scrivener. It only took two days for me to become hooked. Here is a list of my five favorite things about scrivener (so far).

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The drag-and-drop feature makes it easy to import data into the research folder of the binder. With scrivener it is beyond simple to organize research using folders and files. It is handy to have all the project files (word, excel, images, and PDF, etc.) saved within the binder. The program makes it straightforward to import Web pages from the internet. Click File -> Import-> WebPages.

The example shows sample documents in the research folder. The research files don’t have to stay in the folder, they can move to any folder in the binder (e.g. chapter folders).

It saves so much time to open a research file from within the project instead of having multiple applications open. Not to mention the ease of having your writing information within reach. This is by far my favorite feature.

2. Dual Screens

In scrivener, two windows can be open at the same time. The side-by-side structure allows the writer to check or reference content while writing on the other screen. The screen can split vertical or horizontal, depending on your preference.

Don’t like the dual screen, no problem, simple toggle the split screen off or even shut everything off to avoid distractions in the full-screen mode.

3. The Inspector

The inspector panel on the right-hand side displays the synopsis, meta-data and notes. Toggling at the top of the panel allow the writer to view references, keywords, custom meta-data, snapshots along with comments and footnotes.

Add a label to the general tab for ideas, characters, notes, etc. Also, stay on top of the project by setting the status to first draft, final draft, to do, etc. This helps to keep the project organized.

I find the notes function and synopsis most helpful. The notes section expands to fill the entire pane. Add comments by highlighting the text for things to revisit or revision notes.

4. The Binder

The binder doubles as an outline. Writing can breakdown to chapters, scenes or parts of scenes. The pieces can be as small or as large as needed. The example on the left has two chapters, each with two scenes.

It is easy to move a scene to another chapter. Just drag and drop it, whatever you want to locate it.  On the right-hand screen, scene three moved from chapter 2 to chapter 1.

5. The Corkboard

The corkboard gives a visual overview of the writing project. Scenes display broken down in point form on index cards.

It also works well with characters and places. Apply coloured labels to the index cards to differentiate various categories.

Honourable Mention

Scrivener saves your work automatically every time typing stops for two seconds. You can adjust the inactivity interval settings if two seconds is too long or too short of an interval.

Drawbacks

I have only discovered two drawbacks in my brief experience with scrivener. The first is the learning curve. There is a lot to learn and I feel like I have just scratched the surface of what Scrivener can do.

The second is that scrivener is not a word processor like Microsoft Word. Although scrivener can do the basics of word processing, it doesn’t have the functionality of a full-word processor. I have to admit, sometimes I miss the formatting that Word can do.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the benefits of scrivener outweigh the drawbacks. Scrivener is the perfect tool for writers. I love that I can keep everything in my project in one place and access it easily. I am excited to explore the program thoroughly.

Have you tried Scrivener? Write me a note in the comments and let me know.

 

Until next time
Frankie

Feature photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

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