Trying Out #Scrivener #amwriting

Do you know what scrivener means? You may know that Scrivener is writing software, which is what I’m posting about today, but, just as a side-note, the word is an old one. Dating from the 14th century, it means a scribe, a person who writes a document for another, especially for a fee. I first encountered the word when I was in high school and we read Herman Melville’s wonderful story, “Bartleby the Scrivener,” which is free on Project Gutenberg.

ScrivenerSO ANYWAY, I bought a copy of Scrivener, the writing software, but I’ve not been charmed by it. I’ve tried to use it multiple times but have, in the end, preferred not to. It’s been invaluable, though, in that just beginning to organize my thoughts in order to use it has always clicked enough pieces into place that I could just dispense with the program and write the story.

This time, though, I think, by George, I’ve got it.

WHY THIS TIME?

I’m putting together a book of short stories set in the world of SAGE, my fantasy trilogy (click here to read excerpts, go on, it ain’t gonna kill ya). A couple of the stories are unfinished and one, the one I’m working on now, is only a sketch. This, I thought, was the perfect project for Scrivener.

And, sure enough, I think it is. Scrivener has a template for character sketches and one for scene sketches. I have two scenes and two main characters, with a third character a little more minor than the other two. Filling out those scene/character sketches have forced me to come to grips with story questions I usually just answer as I go along, but which, apparently, needed to be answered first for this story.

You gotta do what you gotta do, amIright?

WHY SCRIVENER?

Scrivener allows you to break your story into scenes, which you can work on independently of one another, and which you can easily shuffle around if a different order seems better. Much easier than cutting and pasting, which was a miracle when I could first do it, don’t get me wrong.

When you’re done, you can export everything in the order you decided on into a variety of formats (like doc or rtf or mobi). You can take it to your critique group and, if they say the order of the scenes is confusing or would be stronger in a different order, and you agree with them, it’s (to quote the Crazy Russian Hacker) soopair eezy to rearrange them.

So I’m jumping on the Scrivener bandwagon. It’s even unofficially (but permitted by the Scrivener folks) available for Linux!

Do you use Scrivener? Do you like it? What’s your favorite thing about it?

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character is dragged, kicking and screaming, into the modern world or is converted to something he or she previously considered worthless.

MA

 

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About

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Trying Out #Scrivener #amwriting

  1. Jane
    Twitter:

    July 11, 2016 at 8:42am

    Hmm, Good rationale for Scrivener.

    But I just LUV yWriter5. Why? Because it’s easy; it’s free; and it is built for writers BY a writer. It has character info, artifact or thing info, place info, really…whatever you want info. And then you can make reports on where these things occur.

    You can analyze your scenes in a variety of ways, flagging them by stage of completion, elements of the plot, time passed, date, and also you can easily print whatever you might want. You can annotate your scenes with notes such as This is the first appearance of XYZ or We find out here that the MC finds out he’s a changeling, and then (if you place these notes all in the same field on the scene analysis), you can print that out, too, in a report.

    You can print up an outline anytime you please, and here your scene labels come in handy. Oh, and etc etc.

    I don’t always do all these things, but wow is it handy to be able to do’em.

    Nuff said.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      July 11, 2016 at 2:24pm

      That sounds super-dooper! Most of the stuff I work on these days is already done and it would take longer to break it up for the program than it took to write it. But MAN would that have been useful when I was writing the SAGE trilogy! I kind of need to bite that bullet and do that with my Spadena Street books. ~sigh~
      Marian Allen would love to share..Trying Out #Scrivener #amwritingMy Profile

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      • Jane
        Twitter:

        July 12, 2016 at 10:37am

        One of my books I already had broken up into separate scenes, so I did drag and drop each one into the set up in yWriter. That said, I’m revising another book, a former yWriter project, and I swear I can’t recall how I shoved it back into the program! But it’s sure made the rewrite a breeze.

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  2. Dan Antion
    Twitter:

    July 11, 2016 at 9:46am

    Since I am only writing short, mostly unrelated stories, I don’t have a need for such high-techery. Still, I like hearing about anything technical, so thanks for this.
    Dan Antion would love to share..When Did This Happen?My Profile

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      July 11, 2016 at 2:26pm

      As I said, Dan, I haven’t … Well, I’ve NEEDED it, but didn’t have it when I needed it and haven’t needed it since I’ve had it. Until now. 🙂
      Marian Allen would love to share..Free ReadsMy Profile

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      • Dan Antion
        Twitter:

        July 11, 2016 at 3:13pm

        BTW, when I share via Twitter, I get your name but not the post title in the Tweet window. I have to go back to you post, copy the title and paste it in the box.

        Is there any way you can add the title into the sharing box?
        Dan Antion would love to share..When Did This Happen?My Profile

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  3. I love Scrivener, but I admit there’s a steeping learning curve, which I have not yet conquered! I love the ability to re-order, but as a person who struggles to arrange the folders in Windows 10 (Why did they change it?!?) I sometimes struggle to order my scenes properly.
    I guess there are classes, which I’ve not got time and money and patience enough to take, so at this point, I muddle. Still, I write, and that’s the important part!
    Joey would love to share..Share Your World #28My Profile

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      July 11, 2016 at 2:32pm

      That is EXACTLY the important part! Joey, I remember when Windows first came out with nested folders. WOW! You could organize icons into one group folder! Amazing! In fact, I can remember a programmer collaring me at a party at a science fiction convention and telling me that soon you would be able to do this thing called “drag and drop” that would automatically rewrite the code that placed graphics on the screen so you could control where things appeared on your monitor! I was like, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
      Marian Allen would love to share..Free ReadsMy Profile

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  4. Without Scrivener, Pride’s Children wouldn’t exist. I simply couldn’t keep track of as much writing as I do without major software.

    Then, once the bits and pieces are polished, I use Scrivener to do most of the publications tasks. For example, if you don’t need right indents for quotations, you can go straight to the ebook.

    Preparing the pdf for Createspace took a pass through Word, because I wanted a few features S didn’t have.

    But I’ve been using this for EVERYTHING for a very long time, and I haven’t found its limits! And PC is massive – 167K finished for vol. 1. Word used to drive me nuts.
    Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt would love to share..Writing the Author Bio is painfulMy Profile

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      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      July 12, 2016 at 7:56am

      I know PC is massive — I’m about a quarter of the way through vol. 1. It doesn’t seem massive, though. There’s not a wasted word. In fact, there are places I could use a little more guidance as to why THIS this thing made THIS character think THIS, but that just means there’ll be some nuggets left for me when I read it again. 🙂
      Marian Allen would love to share..A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSEMy Profile

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      • Thank you for reading. ‘There’s not a wasted word.’ is high praise.

        Don’t worry – everything connects. I’m a big fan of just-in-time writing – you will get what you need when you need it, and things will be explained organically, through the story, rather than synthetically, via a paragraph of explanation.

        Go with the flow – and there will be a small number of things that won’t be completely clear until the end of the third volume of the trilogy – when you need them.

        If you find anything egregious, I’d appreciate if you let me know.
        Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt would love to share..Incident at Caleta Beach – a persistent memoryMy Profile

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        • Author

          Marian Allen
          Twitter:

          July 12, 2016 at 11:37am

          So far, the only thing I had any objection to (many things I want to know more clearly, but trust I’ll find out in time) is the attempted invasion. When the guy showed up and shouted about the smoke rising, I thought he was warning her to evacuate because of a forest fire! I was all, “No, no, don’t go hide! He’s trying to help!” So that kind of threw me off-balance for a bit. Duh, me! lol
          Marian Allen would love to share..So It Begins. Again. #WeightLoss #ExerciseMy Profile

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          • Hope it didn’t throw you for long – it never occurred to me. New Hampshire in spring is WET. I think you’d have to pour gasoline on it to get it to burn. There I go with the assumptions!

            I trust you weren’t off track too long. Thanks for mentioning it; you write these things, and never know how they will be received.

            Personal attacks by large angry men scare the heck out of me.
            Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt would love to share..To get where you write, know where you startMy Profile

          • Author

            Marian Allen
            Twitter:

            July 12, 2016 at 11:57am

            It did and it didn’t; once I realized she was right, I was with her, but I just totally made it up that he only LOOKED angry because he was worried. Good thing Kary is wiser than I am! I would have been crumpled up in a puddle of my own blood! I think it’s one of the occupational hazards of being a writer that we write the scenes we’re reading and then get whiplash when the true author takes the story a different way. lol!
            Marian Allen would love to share..So It Begins. Again. #WeightLoss #ExerciseMy Profile

  5. A.C.Flory
    Twitter:

    July 11, 2016 at 8:46pm

    Yay! I’m so pleased. I use a Scrivener lookalike called StoryBox and the increase in productivity has been amazing. I still refuse to outline, but having a dedicated writing software that helps organise my thoughts and writing is the next best thing. 🙂

    Once you get used to the process, you’ll wonder how you ever wrote without it. 😀

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      July 12, 2016 at 7:58am

      Organization — that’s what it would be best for, for me. When I’ve tried to use it for a short piece with a simple through-line, I’ve abandoned it for LibreOffice. For this project that’s little more than a sketch, I’m really finding it useful!
      Marian Allen would love to share..SAGEMy Profile

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  6. A.C.Flory
    Twitter:

    July 11, 2016 at 8:51pm

    @Jane – Oh I remember that app! I tried it some years ago, before finding StoryBox. From memory, it’s the same process as StoryBox and Scrivener – i.e. as much project manager as wordprocessor. I think the reason I didn’t stay with it was that I found the interface a bit too ‘busy’ and distracting, but of course, it’s probably changed a lot since then.
    A.C.Flory would love to share..#scifi ? Or the genuine history of a war yet to come?My Profile

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    • Jane
      Twitter:

      July 12, 2016 at 10:33am

      Hi. I have to tout yWriter 5 again, because it DOES allow all sorts of moving around of scenes. Ex: between chapters, inside chapters, etc. Whole chapters, of course, can get moved around if you please, outlines can be generated from already written stuff, and you can get a partially formatted RTF file to export right out of the program.

      Now, I’m going to check out Storybox! Thanks.

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    • Jane
      Twitter:

      July 14, 2016 at 7:48am

      It says it exports TXT, RTF, HTML. It can import a bunch more.

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