Finding the Right Tool for You
Towards the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, I decided to take a short story I was working on and turn it into a full fledge novel. Somehow the plot expanded and has turned into not one, but three books.
Going from writing short stories to full length novels is a skill one does not learn overnight. In the transition, I knew this would be the case. Before writing anything further, I decided to dive deep and research tools that would help my story be the best it could be while also allowing me to shift my writing around as I saw fit.
My first stop was Authortube (Youtube), where hundreds of people talk about their experiences with writing and what tools they used while writing.
The tool I found most common throughout the hundreds of videos I watched was Scrivener.
The name rang a bell to my early college years when I tried to write but didn't have much time or money to spend. But that was over 12 years ago, and I was on a new mission to finish this current trilogy I was working on.
So, at the beginning of 2023, I decided to download the free version and give it a try. Here's what I found.
Scrivener is a simple, and easy to navigate writing program made for desktop users. Once downloaded you are brought through a couple 'how to' videos on how to use the program and locate several features. Once opened, the program is similar to Microsoft Word except with more moving parts.
In downloading the program, the user is allowed '30 days' or in this case '30 opens' to work in the program on a free trial basis. So, if you don't open the program everyday you can be working in Scrivener for several months before your free trail is up.
Once I watched the 'how to' videos, I felt it was pretty easy to navigate and use the program. The first, transferring my word document over to the Scrivener. With a few simple clicks I had all my writing in one place. Unlike Word, you're able to break your writing into several different sections including documents, research, characters, and outline to name a few. This way everything you need is in one place and accesible with a few clicks.
Within each section you can add subsections. This is fantastic when writing scenes or chapters in which you can move around if you don't like where that section is currently in the story. You can even split your current document in two instead of starting fresh if you feel a break is needed for a new chapter.
In all sections, but particularly the research and character sections, you can add photos to reference back to for places or character descriptions and physical traits.
My favorite feature of the Scrivener program is being able to escape out of all the program features and only have your writing on the screen with a photo in the background to set the mood. It helps from distractions as everything on your desktop is out of sight and out of mind bringing you deeper into the world as well as not being distracted.
Overall, I have to say Scrivener has helped my writing so much by being able to keep everything in one place. This year, I'm trying to write in scenes versus chapters and being able to move about those scenes as I see fit really make the writing experience that much more enjoyable. It's even easy to compile your writing into PDF format to print out for those who like to edit with a physical copy such as myself.
The best part is finding out that you only have to pay a one-time fee for the entire program. A one time payment of $60 is honestly worth it when you can do as much as you can in the program.
Scrivener honestly has everything a writer would need and I'm so glad I finally gave it a try after all these years. If you haven't already go try out the free 30-day trial... I promise, it's worth it!
What program do you like to write in? Tell me in the comments below! If you haven't already, don't forget to subscribe to get the latest posts on writing.