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Why I Use Scrivener to Organize My Writing

DISCLAIMER – This post is done of my own volition, however, should you be persuaded to use the same software that I do, and feel generous enough to click the links that I provide you with, I am paid an affiliate fee by Literature and Latte (the creators of Scrivener) for each copy of Scrivener that is purchased.

There. Now that the legal stuff is taken care of, How do you write? Do you use the traditional pen and paper? Are you one of the Millennials who uses any form of technology to scribble down your notes, write entire chapters, and make doodles? Do you use a multitude of things?

*phew* That’s a lot of questions…but have you considered all the many places that ALL your work exists?

Here is a list of all of the media I use in the writing process:

  • Desktop Computer (main device, at home)
  • Laptop Computer (main device, on-the-go)
  • Chromebook Laptop Computer (lightweight, excellent for travel and battery life)
  • Cell Phone – Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (always on my person, can quickly create handwritten or voice notes)
  • Tablet – Samsung Galaxy Tab A (with S-Pen) (larger screen to create handwritten or typed notes on-the-go)
  • 3×5 Blank and Ruled Note Cards (for my wall-sized mind-map (more on this in a later post…)
  • Traditional Pencil/Pen and (MANY) spiral notebooks

Here are MOST of the apps, places, and software that I have kept all or parts of my work throughout my entire process and why I have used it…if I can successfully justify it:

  • Google Drive (because it syncs all of my files online as well as on all digital platforms.)
  • Google Docs / Google Sheets / Google Forms (Character Development Worksheets & Surveys, World Building)
  • Microsoft Notepad (quick notes that I don’t want to forget)
  • Samsung S-Note (handwritten quick notes digitally synced on my phone, tablet, and automatically in….)
  • Evernote (handwritten (phone/tablet), typed, voice, or photo notes that are synced across all media)
  • Microsoft Word (word processing, exporting for CP to read)
  • Microsoft Excel / Microsoft Access (spreadsheets and databases to hold information generated)
  • Google Photos (photo notes or reminders to check something out later…synced on all media and devices…)

There are probably more…but my mind is taxed at the moment. I never get rid of anything.

I find that I am more efficient writing when I use traditional pencil and paper, because I am too easily distracted by other things when using technology to write. When I rewrite a chapter, I totally rewrite it…literally. I rip those pages out of my notebook, label them as “Version X.X” scan them with a digital scanner, and then file the originals away in my binder. I NEVER get rid of anything. Perhaps this is nostalgia…perhaps it is packrat-ish…perhaps it’s partial fear that my entire digital life will crash at the same time…

When you have rewritten a few different times, things become bulky inside my binder. My files are stored all haphazardly depending on how I felt when I named each of them.

I have participated in NaNoWriMo (new tab) and Camp NaNoWriMo (new tab)

ENTER SCRIVENER

scrivener-screenshot2“Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.”
Literature and Latte Website (new tab)

 

Scrivener literally allows me to make order from the chaos of my mind. I use outlines, chapter notes, mind maps, doodles, and many more things that are very valuable to my overall product, but they are created across the vast array of media that I mentioned above. Most especially useful, is the scanning and import of any handwritten notes or chapters into the Scrivener project database that I can archive and reference older versions of chapters, or keep the original work after I have moved on to many different revisions of the same chapter.

I chose Scrivener after my participation in my first-ever NaNoWriMo (new tab) because it is the only tool that allows me the most flexibility in creating one master database for everything I own relating to each novel or story I am working on.

My use of Scrivener varies between projects, but the basic premise is I keep the most current version of the chapters and scenes in the Manuscript area, and have subdivided other folders for Character Development and profiles on each character that I create, setting and scene development for continuity, a section on magic (since my story involves a complex system of magic), etc.

One of the greatest features I have come to rely heavily on is making what are called “Scrivener Links” within my writing. A Scrivener Link is a sort of hyperlink that, once created, allows you to click and view the document you linked it to. 

For example:
Say that there is a folder called Magic in my Scrivener binder. When I allude to my system of magic, I can create a Scrivener link to the Magicfolder so that when clicked, it opens up a smaller exploration window that shows me all of the documents pertaining to magic in my database.
Another example, is that when my characters’ names are used, I create a Scrivener link to their character profile and other information about them so that I can study my character and make sure they are acting within their parameters as a character.

There will definitely be more to come in my Adventures with Scrivener! I am working on an in-depth tutorial of the many features that Scrivener, along with Scapple, Aeon Timeline, and other writing tools have to offer!

If you would like to purchase scrivener, and are willing to help out a fellow writer, please go HERE (new tab) to use my affiliate links.

WARNING If you purchase from this link, I do receive a small commission from Literature and Latte for your purchase. It helps keep the lights on and website up and running!

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