Scrivener for beginners…


Is this the biggest software advance for writers since the word processor?

Part one

When I first heard about Scrivener, I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea, but quickly dismissed it as being a little out of my capability. But somehow it would not let me forget what I had read. That it was ‘a powerful content-generation tool for writers that would allow you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. Giving you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft”.

That would be wonderful, I thought, for writing a novel, or anything else for that matter, involves a lot more than hammering away at the keys until you are done. There are all those countless hours of collecting research, ordering fragmented ideas, shuffling index cards and all those scraps of paper, in search of that elusive structure. That is where Scrivener is supposed to come in handy. A word processor and project management tool where you can rearrange everything in one place and see exactly what you are doing.
I could use some of that organisation, big time. Apparently, Scrivener won’t tell you how to write, which is a shame—it just makes all the tools you have scattered around your desk available in one place.

First thing I read when I downloaded the free trial, was that I should go through the tutorial first, before I attempted anything else. Made sense, as I am clueless when it comes to anything technical.
If I tell you that it took several attempts to complete said tutorial, don’t be put off. My brain has senior moments practically back to back, and hated every minute, if I am honest. Several times, I thought I would have to give in and forget I ever saw the word ‘Scrivener’ before my poor brain went into meltdown. They kept insisting that I should not try to learn everything at once. Fat chance of that! My main problem these days is remembering what I learn, so we shall see how I get on.
(Scrivener is an old English word for writer, by the way. We are all scriveners.)


But I didn’t give up. Instead, I resorted to my old standby. I got myself a copy of ‘Scrivenor for Dummies’, by Gwen Hernandez. I have used these books before and always found them useful, they seem to get my brain to co-operate like nothing else ever has. Don’t be put off by the word ‘dummies’ in the title, they really do help. I finally mastered Windows 8 with one of these books.

Armed with all this helpful information, I intend to write the sequel to The Ninth Life on Scrivenor, and I have the feeling there will be several posts forthcoming on my progress.
I haven’t purchased the full programme yet, so I’m not committed yet.

More posts on this subject soon…

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