Why Scrivener Is The Only Writing Software You'll Ever Need

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When I began, I was a Microsoft Word writer. I think we all are at some point. For so long, Word was the only viable option. But I almost never open Microsoft Word anymore, especially not when I'm sitting down to write a book. The first year I participated in NaNoWriMo back in November of 2015, one of the prizes was a discount on the writing software Scrivener. It was then that my life was altered. 

Scrivener is such an amazing tool for writers, especially when it comes to book organization. And it's so simple to use! There are plenty of tutorials provided by both the creators of Scrivener and other writers who have converted to the software, but when I first began using Scrivener I really didn't need any tutorials. Some poking around was all it took to get the hang of it- everything is so clear and concise. 

When you begin a new project, for example, Scrivener asks what type of project you want to create: Blank, fiction, non-fiction, script writing, and miscellaneous. Those are the beginning categories; there are even more options once you get to organizing your document and then compiling and exporting that document. 


To the right is the opening screen when you begin the program. As you can see, there are three options for learning how to use the program, as well as all of your options for project creation. Then, when you're ready to compile your project, there are so many predefined format options. A few examples are eBook, eBook (with parts), general nonfiction, nonfiction with sub-heads, paperback novel, proof copy, screenplay, short story, and synopsis outline. Plus, there are a million options for document formatting including .doc, .docx, .html, .epub, and .mobi. Aside from the number of options, they are all also super simple to execute. You select the formatting you want and where to save it, and Scrivener does all the work for you.

More reasons to love Scrivener: 

  • You can organize your project any way you'd like. You can write scene by scene, chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph--you can even make just one conversation its own folder. Writing and editing tend to be easier in chunks, so break your story up however you'd like and examine it part by part until you're ready to use the Scrivenings Mode to put it all together and view it as one cohesive document. 
  • The Cork Board! This feature is amazing for when it comes to organizing, outlining, planning, and just finding the scene you're looking for quickly. You can view all of your scenes lined up and summarized on a bulletin board type screen and routinely check that all of your scenes are in the right order, everything is flowing nicely, and easily find the scene you want to work on. Even better, is each section of your story (as many sections as you deem fit to create) are attached to virtual index cards (that are "pinned" to your cork board) that move and effect the entire section whenever you move or edit an index card on the cork board. So you can work with just the synopsis you write for each index card for more efficient and concise organizing without worrying about having to then go organize the actual sections once you've figured out the way you want it on the cork board! 
  • Scrivener also allows you to set goals. You can set a total word count goal for your entire manuscript, as well as session word count goals. 
  • Full screen mode helps you avoid distraction while writing, but gives you the option of changing the background image to whatever you want- make it something inspiring and related to your story, or something calming and tranquil. Whatever gets you writing in the most productive way possible!
  • In your project "binder", the left-hand column where all of your story sections are listed, there are also research and story-building tabs. Any research or notes you need to jot down and refer back to can go in these sections that are located directly under your actual story for easy access. You can create character profiles, settings, plot outlines, and anything else you need and have them readily available for as little interruption in the writing zone as possible. You no longer have to go digging through a notebook or loose sheets of paper! Plus, you can move these sections along the binder-you can arrange them according to relevancy, keep them all together at the bottom, or put a character profile next to the scene in your story where you introduce that character, for example. P.S. All of the scenes of your story are easily moved as well for quick rearranging.  
  • View documents side by side. This feature is great for checking consistency, especially if you're writing the same scene from different point of views. This is also handy if you're trying to describe a photograph or work off of a map. 

These are just a few of the features that make Scrivener the only writing software you'll ever need. When you add all the options with the flexibility of the interface (you can control what columns are visible, how you view your document, what tools are available, and more), it really is a no brainer!  
You can try Scrivener for free for 30 days or, if you're already sold, get Scrivener for Mac or Windows. Happy writing!

Until next time,