16 comments on “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Cliches: Scrivener in Action

  1. Great blog – I’m a Scrivener user too and I’d say I use it pretty much as you do. Why people suffer using Word for long writing projects I have no idea. (Although with my first novel I exported it to Word too early on and that really increased my workload when I was revising. won’t be doing that again.)

  2. What about the word (text) processor? Is it as good as Word/ Better? Does it do spellchecks? In a choice of UK or US English? Can it handle em-dashes? Fonts?

  3. Peter – A lot of people I know suffer through Word because they don’t know anything else and don’t like change. I have several friends for whom habit and familiarity outweigh the benefits of new software, even if it outstrips the one they’re used to by a thousand and one. (With my father, I have to delete the old program and install the new one, then tell him to suck it up.)
    JB – Short answer: yes! It does spell-checking and hyphens and fonts, though the spell-check language depends on your default system language. Actually, I’ll do a follow-up post about the nitty-gritty, because that’s just as important as the pretty organizational stuff.

  4. Karen – As far as I can recall, all these features, except for the freeform corkboard mode, were available in 1.0. With regards to the features I mentioned, 2.0 basically streamlined the UI and integration between modes — in 1.0, if you switch from View Mode to Corkboard Mode and then back again, the cursor will have scrolled back to the top, whereas in 2.0 it’s where you left it.
    I haven’t actually used most of the exclusively-2.0 additions yet, mostly because they’re revision features and I’ve only used Scrivener for new projects so far.

  5. I find the custom columns in Outline mode to be extremely helpful! The word count thing was a boon because the novel in that screenshot was this year’s NaNoWriMo project. If a chapter’s word count was getting too long without accomplishing much plot, I had an immediate indicator that I might be rambling for the sake of making the daily minimum. It was a good way to keep me on track.

  6. New to Scrivener. Love the graveyard idea! I see that you put notes and character summaries in a separate area. I am going to try that too seems much easier for organizing. Thanks for posting this.

  7. Thanks, Lee! Hope it was helpful. :)
    Laura – it definitely makes it easier for organizing! It also helps with compiling later, because sections outside of ‘Manuscript’ aren’t automatically included. Also, with characters and settings, both Mac and Windows versions have summary templates you can use, and edit as you see fit. Good luck!

  8. I’m a Scrivener newbie trying to plan and write a novel, so this is very helpful—thanks for posting.
    One question, though: do you work with both a planning and manuscript section at the same time, or do you hash out your outline in planning, move it all into manuscript to start writing and then make structural changes only there? (I’m not sure if my question is clear. I’m trying to see if you are making outline changes in planning and then mirroring them in your manuscript as you write or moving everything from planning to manuscript once you’re ready to start, then working only in manuscript.)

  9. Hi, Mike!
    I’ve done both, actually. For the most detailed outlines, the ones with dates and specific incidents, I have a separate “outline” and “manuscript” section, with the planning first. I do all the planning in the “outline” section, then, when I’m writing, keep that open as a reference while I add one scene at a time in the “manuscript” section. I don’t copy things wholesale to the manuscript section because things change while I write them; likewise, I don’t change the old “outline” section, either, in case I get off-track while writing and realize the outline was right in the first place. That way, I have a visual map of what has changed from planning to execution.
    With NaNoWriMo novels, though, I don’t have time for a huge, detailed outline first, so I just make a brief, rough idea of what I want to accomplish in the manuscript section and go from there. I use the index cards to move things around initially and have a brief description of what each scene should be. I end up adding and deleting scenes as I write, and if the scene itself ends up changing, I change the index card summary to reflect that.

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