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Could Scrivener Become Your New Writing Best Friend? by Rebeca Schiller

Scrivener can be used by all writers whether they use Windows or Macs.

Are you a plotter and outline? Or do you prefer to storyboard? Or maybe you rather pants it and just keep all your documents and research in one tidy project? Whichever is your style of writing, Scrivener offers a wide range of choices for note-taking, editing, and revising, saving and backing up your, importing documents, PDFs, images and websites.

Tip 1: Keep all pictures, research, ideas in one easy to navigate file.

I’ve written on my blog that one of my favorite activities when I start a new writing project is the research aspect of it, but what I also love is collecting images for inspiration and to cast my characters.

Pinterest has secret boards where you can pin your favorite images to help you guide your story, but I prefer to keep it all in one accessible place, and because I am a Scrivener devotee, I keep all my images in my project.

Tip 2: Utilize the photos, research, and template functions.

For my WIP, I have photos of the neighborhood where my story takes place including the building where my characters live. I also include furniture, artwork, and photos of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. All these images are kept in a sub-folder of Scrivener’s research folder and when I want to view them, I choose the Corkboard function and use the free-form feature (sorry, Window users, but at the moment you don’t have this option, but you will by the end of the year).

With the free-form function, I can move and group my images so I know the context of each one. For instance, in one scene my character is standing in front of the Knickerbocker Apartments on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. I have this photograph grouped with the places where Julius Rosenberg lived as a young boy, a married man, and asSing-Sing Prison where he lived until his execution.

Tip 3: Customize the look of the folders to suit your style or mood.

Another visual I like is the feature that allows you to change the folder and text file icons. My folders become Moleskine notebooks or blue, green, red, purple Mead composition notebooks. The folders for my character and settings gallery are a mask and a compass, respectively. I use many of the icons to represent what role certain parts represent in and outside of the story. A thought bubble icon is for my many “what ifs” that come up as I write. Or a text file that is colored shows at first glance who is the POV character for that scene or chapter.

Tip 4: Make time to play with Scrivener and you could find functions you didn’t know existed.

Some writers might think all this visual playing around is a waste of time, but whenever I hit a wall, I look at my visual board and an idea usually percolates after a few minutes of scrutinizing an image. But what’s more important is with all my visual experimentation, I discover other features within the application.

Tip 5: Customize Scrivener for YOUR writing style.

That’s the beauty of Scrivener: any writer can customize it in such a way that it suits the writing style of that author.

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You can join Rebeca to learn the ins and outs of Scrivener for Windows and learn the writing software that writer’s rave about in 30 days or less!


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Rebeca SchillerRebeca Schiller is a freelance writer and currently working on a novel. After scouring the Internet for a writing program that would keep her organized she discovered Scrivener but much to her dismay, she learned it was only for Mac users. In 2010 when Scrivener announced they were launching a beta version of the application for Window users, she jumped on board to give it a test run. For the past five years, she is an avid Scrivener advocate and writes everything on Scrivener (including recipes and to-do lists!)