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29 Reasons Why We Write Our Books with Scrivener

When Lisa Anselmo and I launched the Salon, we had three objectives: hold sessions that enabled writers to improve their craft and business skills, build a supportive community, and invite software developers and service providers to demonstrate their products so writers could make informed decisions on what to invest in.

Top of our list was the one program that, as soon as we started using it circa 2006-7, prompted pseudo-Sally Field moments: “They get us! They Really get us!” That’s because the developer and a lot of the tech team are writers themselves.

So we’re thrilled that Oliver Evensen, Literature & Latte tech guy and, yes, a fellow writer, will be demoing Scrivener on February 6th @ 2PM EST. (The session is open to all at the registration link on the right, though the 20% discount is reserved for Salon members.)

Before the session, here’s a list of why we consider Scrivener our most valuable writing tool.

When you start your book

  1. Use a template to format your novel, short story, non-fiction book, or screenplay, so the initial structure is all set up for you.
  2. Import additional templates that Scrivener users have set up for outlining and structuring your novel. They’ll help you “hit the beats” required for the type of story you’re telling, but you can also find templates for blog posts, essays, and more.
  3. Import existing content—great for if you’ve already started writing in Word, etc.
  4. Use Corkboard Mode to brainstorm, outline, keep track of scene status (i.e. to do, doing, done) either by color-coding or stacking index cards like a KANBAN board.
  5. Sort your work the way you like it, either as one big document or split into chapters and scenes.
  6. Customize your fonts, colors, appearance, toolbar, and a whole range of preferences.
  7. Keep track of your characters with individual profiles—even generate their names.
scrivener name generator pws
Choose your settings, hit the button, see what it spits out
When you’re drafting
  1. Keep all your story materials (manuscript, research data, character and setting sketches, etc) in one “binder.” You can import full web pages and videos.
  2. Bookmark the materials that you use often to easily find them.
  3. If you’re a pantser and hate writing a synopsis/outline ahead of drafting, add a line or two in the synopsis area of the Inspector on the right, then compile when you’re done. It might not be perfect, but it’s a start.
  4. Got a photo that captures the scene you’re working on? Paste it into the Inspector’s Notes section for inspiration.
scrivener window pws
Everything I need in one compact window 🍹
  1. Writing a series? You can put all the books into one Scrivener project then move scenes/chapters into whichever book is best.
  2. If you prefer to use separate projects for each book, you can still easily send a scene/chapter to another project with one right-click.
  3. Keep track of all your plot threads with color-coded labels and status.
  4. Changing a character or place name? Save time by using Find and Replace throughout your whole project.
  5. Easily distracted? Use Composition Mode to show only the Editor window.
  6. Or do you like to write with everything at hand? Split your view so you can see other chapters, research notes, etc.
  7. Measure your daily progress with the project targets and daily wordcount. If you go under or over your wordcount on any given day, it will automatically recalculate how many words you have to write the next day to meet your target date.
  8. Write across multiple devices. I have Scrivener on my desktop and laptop (using 1 license) and my iPhone (using another license), all synced via Dropbox.
  9. Use the iOS version and your iPhone’s microphone to dictate your book wherever you are.
  10. Automatically back up your work on your computer, or Cloud account—Dropbox, One Drive, and Google Drive.
You can even customize the progress bar colors 💜

When you’re editing

  1. Take a snapshot before you revise, knowing you can safely roll back if you need to..
  2. Identify overused words with the Word Frequency tool.
  3. Use Linguistic Focus (called Dialogue Focus in the Windows version) to identify areas you feel you’re overdoing, e.g. too many adverbs.
  4. If you’re doing heavy revisions, you can pull your Scrivener content directly into ProWritingAid, put it through its paces, then pop the revised content back into Scrivener without issue.
scrivener word frequency pws
I have a problem with "just"

When you’re ready to publish

  1. Traditional publishing? Compile your manuscript into a Word document using the industry-standard fonts (Courier and Times New Roman) without changing your preferred writing font in Scrivener, and zip it off to your agent/editor.
  2. Indie publishing? Format your book from cover to table of contents to back matter, with many styling options in-between.
  3. Create different file types for different online retailers (.PDF, .MOBI, .EPUB or .DOCX) and let Scrivener do all the resizing/reformatting for you.

Any time

  1. Get quality support from the Literature & Latte team, as well as an active, passionate user community, whenever you need it.

February Special!

Join the Paris Writing Salon for 27% off—now until Feb 28 with code amour.

Coming up:
Editing From the Outside In 12-week workshop
Starting Feb 6 @ 2pm ET. Details, here.

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February 19, 2022, 3 – 4PM ET

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