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Friday, 21 June 2013

Getting to Grips With Scrivener

On a whim I first downloaded the trial version of Scrivener then purchased the full licence last week. It wasn't a complete whim - I'd read Emma Darwin's post on why she's been converted to Scrivener and a lot of what she said appealed to me. At the moment I work from paper copies for my second drafts onwards and it's cumbersome. It limits where I work and I also need the grounding system of notes without having half a dozen Word documents open. I can't focus like that so I thought Scrivener might be a solution. My intention from the start was never to use it for first drafts - I like my trusty Word document for that and the idea of there being things I 'should' do or 'need to' do in the way of planning would mean a first draft would never get written.

So far I'm treading cautiously. One of the best things about Scrivener is the ability to plan as you go along. The way I've got it set up at the moment is that I have the first draft of the novel on the right hand down in a slightly slimmer panel then on the left I have the scene I'm currently working on. From the left hand panel I skip to the character notes and general theme notes that I've started to make sure everything seems consistent. My real problem in this respect is that I keep accidentally changing the right hand panel than the left!

To be honest, I think I've tried to use Scrivener on a rather odd project. It only has three parts (or three chapters) with tens of scenes involved in each. It was the way the novel fell when I first started writing it and it fits for the story I'm trying to tell. What that means, though, is that my chapter 'corkboard' is looking very packed and my chapter drop-down is stretching on and on.

I'll slowly get used to it I suppose. I'm not regretting buying it; just regretting the time I'll have to spend reading the manual. However, on present information, I think it will end up working for me. I just need to learn what it does - and what I want from it. I'll keep you updated on my progress!

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