Tag Archives: Scrivner

Library Writers Group: Scrivner and Software

25 Apr

After missing my writing group last month, I was glad to jump back in and meet the group. We had a few new members this month so there was only one other writer I knew well. Because of the new audience, we went over writing software again, particularly Scrivner. I apologize for any reader here who might already know some of this from a past post.

There are some features of Scrivner that I didn’t know about (I don’t have Scrivner so take this with a grain of salt). I did know about the corkboard feature which seems to be a favorite of the users. With each chapter/scene on a notecard, you can move them around the corkboard and rearrange your story to see if there’s a better order. There are templates that Scrivner provides for character sketches and setting descriptions. You can change the templates to fit what you need and you can also create other templates, whatever will help you write better. You can drag and drop sections between files of Scrivner. If you have character sketches done and you want to start the sequel, just drag and drop to the next story. You can take a snapshot, which is a freeze of the story at a given moment. Then, if you change something and if you don’t like it, you can go back to the snapshot and try again.

There’s an option for inline annotations, comments that won’t show up in the final version. This is good for noting something you may have to revisit later or comments from a Beta reader. There’s a word frequency tool which will show words you use far too often. I’m an ‘Awesome’ person myself and I bet the tool would show that! If you have a file in Word that you want to put into Scrivner, there’s a ‘split’ option which can be used to split a long file into scenes or chapters as needed.

In addition to Scrivner, there are several free softwares that writers can use, though they don’t have the number of features Scrivner does. yWriter is one.

Sorry that this isn’t too new for those who have been here a while. For those who haven’t read this before, Scrivner is a wonderful tool and those who use it seem to love it. I have no desire and I’m fine with Word. 🙂 To each his own.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Library Writers’ Group: Tools of the Trade

2 Mar

Another great meeting of my library’s writers’ group! We had some bad weather that night, but it didn’t stop a lot of dedicated people from coming out. We talked about some tools available to writers on the web and had those familiar with them do a demo. So here’s what I learned about the services. As a note, I don’t have subscriptions to any of these and don’t know any more about them than I have here. Refer to the linked websites for more information.

Our lovely moderator showed us Duotrope, a service I’ve thought about purchasing for a long time. Duotrope is a listing of literary magazines that’s really well-organized and has a ton of data. You can search for magazines, anthologies, and publishers who are calling for writing. You can narrow down a search by genre, length of the piece, and qualities of the magazine. Each entrant has a series of statistics about them; response time, number of other members with submissions in to them, other magazines users submitted to. One of our mod’s favorite features is a Theme and Deadline Calendar, which shows you anthology themes that are being requested and deadlines for anthology submissions and contests. You can pick a date a few months in the future and see what kind of writing is being requested. I’m not going to lie, I like this feature. I have trouble finding anthology calls and contests and having them all in one place in a searchable fashion is incredible. It’s $50 a year but if you plan on submitting a lot, that’s easily worth it.

The majority of the meeting we spent going over Scrivner. Many people who have participated in NaNoWriMo are familiar with Scrivner; winners get 50% off of the $40 cost ($45 for Mac). Scrivner is a writer’s word processor: it allows you to write in scenes which are easy to re-order and can have notes about them stored in a side window. People have said that this is better when starting a story from scratch or when doing a major tear-up than when going through the middle of an editing phase. It is possible to import a Word document and there are blogs that talk about how to do this, but people have had trouble with it. My favorite feature is the Outliner view. I write an outline for novels before I start them so this is perfect for me. You can create a tree outline of the book and name the scenes based on what will happen in them and then write happily out of order and re-order scenes when some are completed. I would get it for this feature alone.

There’s a 2-3 hour tutorial that some found helpful, but it’s good to know how long it will last. I was advised not to number chapters because it can lead to problems when compiling, which is a pain in the but anyway. A few of our members said they had problems with it. You have to compile your work to print the whole document or you can print sections individually. Each scene is created in its own RTF file with a random number so it’s hard to pick out one from the source files. Files can be exported as RTF, DOC, or TXT.

Because I was so in love with the Outliner feature, our tech-guru recommended Plume Creator. It’s an open sourced (AKA free!) application. I’m thinking this is one I’ll download when I’m ready to start doing more writing and less editing because it looks pretty solid for ‘free.’ There are some mixed reviews, but it should do what I’m looking for.

The end of the meeting was friend of the blog Nicole talking about her experiences with CreateSpace. She’s published three books of poetry on CreateSpace  and gave us a quick overview of the process. Go check out her publications on the ‘books’ tab of her blog! I’ve got one coming in the mail now. She utilized the code from NaNoWriMo to get two copies free and then started using the software to create other books. The creator has unlimited design control over the cover, layout, everything. She recommends using InDesign over Word because it allowed for even more freedom. The service does a print-on-demand for customers unless the volume requires a higher volume and a special contract is decided upon (this is unlikely).

So that’s what I’ve learned! Do you have anything else you’d want to add to this? What’s your experience with these applications? Leave a comment and let me know.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!