For my first proper post, I thought I’d introduce my top choice in writing software, Scrivener. There are several reasons why I love Scrivener:
First of all, it makes it really easy to look at and edit a giant manuscript. After using Microsoft Word for my PhD thesis, it’s a great relief to open Scrivener and jump through all the different scenes of a book, switch them around, and play with the cork-board. Not only is it easy to separate huge chunks of text into sections, but also just as easy to combine them again. This is my number one reason for loving Scrivener.
Second, I love the fullscreen option. It allows for (in theory) distraction-free writing time, and is easy on the eyes.
Third, and most useful for NaNoWriMo (I think) is the ability to set deadlines. You can not only set the 50k (or in my case 60k) goal of NaNoWriMo for the end of November, but also set daily goals, and see the little bar at the bottom turn from red to yellow to green. Instant motivation.
Fourth, the research section. You can add pictures, scraps of dialogue, character/place descriptions and/or deleted parts of text to your research section for referral and, again, mixing and matching. It’s separate from the main story so that once you’re ready to finalise your manuscript it gets left out, but you can still see it all the time while writing.
This brings me to five; compile i.e. saving as doc/pdf/whatever. Now I have to admit I’ve had some problems in the past trying to compile large manuscripts using my Mac, but Scrivener support have been very quick to respond and help. Overall, the compile option is not only handy, its ultimate goal is to turn your work into something that can be sent to a publisher, and this is something where I need and welcome all the help I can get.
Now there are many more features in Scrivener, and I haven’t used nearly all of them myself yet, but these main five benefits is why I would recommend anyone taking part in NaNoWriMo this year to try the free trial and allow yourself to fall in love too (also 50% off if you win!). If you’re not NaNo-ing, but want to become an author like me, then it’s a great investment, and in my opinion a lot easier to use than Liquid Story Binder, which is the only comparable software that I’m aware of.
So that’s my tools of the trade; a Macbook with Scrivener. And it’s worked for me for the past 5 years. Feel free to ask me anything about using Scrivener, although their website covers most everything.