Waddup Savi Crew!
With July’s Camp Nano a distant memory—I know it literally finished last week Tuesday, I told you I’m dramatic—I’ve focused my energies on balancing the YA anime-inspired fantasy WIP I just edited and revised in addition to the middle grade contemporary fiction so dead it’s practically on life support. Well, all I have to say is thank God for Scrivener (#notsponsored). However, I do have a free coupon code that I will be giving away to the lucky Savi Crew member who is chosen (see full details on how to enter below).
Now, onto the Scrivener tutorial (screenshots included for my fellow visualists out there—I see you!) and two disclaimers; one, if you’re a Mac owner/user, I apologize in advance. My tips are related to the PC version and I’m not entirely sure if these tips can be applied to the Mac version. Please let me know in the comments if any Mac users have tried these tips and they do work—I’d love to find out.
And two, this is just a BASIC tutorial on how to use Scrivener. It by no means cover the entire spectrum of what this programme is capable of. If I were to attempt an in-depth tutorial with accompanying screenshots this blog post would never end (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but you see my point). Okay, enough stalling, onto the tutorial. For real this time, I promise.
For the sake of protecting my content and because I want people to buy my WIPs-turned-future-bestsellers, I will be using a “fake” story for my tutorial. Even though in the past I have divulged some of my story content, none of it ventured into spoiler territory. However, my Scrivener files hold background information, research, character history, etc. which is fun to peruse when the book is already out—not a WIP. Let’s begin.
Once Scrivener has been installed and you’ve clicked on the icon to open the programme, you’ll see a layout like this:
Click on the ‘Fiction’ icon and choose between ‘Novel’, ‘Novel (with parts) or ‘Short Story’. Personally, I don’t mind ‘Novel (with parts)’ and that’s the one I tend to go with. However, if you’d prefer to create your own templates from scratch for character, setting, etc. feel free to choose ‘Novel’. I’m lazy so (with parts) it is:
Enter a name for your project—it can be a working title—and click ‘Create’:
Scrivener’s main template is basically split into three sections: the binder (left), the middle (not sure if there’s a legit name for it but this is where the majority of story will go) and the inspector (right):
The cool thing about Scrivener is that you can use the functions that you like and tweak them however you please and leave out the ones you don’t. The binder and the inspector can be temporarily removed—simply click on them once—for a cleaner desktop. The ‘Novel Format’ information is meant as a guide so you can delete if you desire. Should you change your mind and want to retrieve it again, it reappears with every new project.
The Manuscript section is where the plot information goes and it can be divided into parts, chapters, scenes, etc. You can also export a WIP from Microsoft Word directly into Scrivener (under File > Export > Files). Personally, I like to divide my WIPs into three acts, nine blocks and twenty seven chapters. It works for me and after fiddling with Scrivener for many months, this is the format I like the most.
The inspector (right) allows you to colour-code and personalise labels for the manuscript, character, setting, etc. These can be edited accordingly or use the ones provided under the ‘Novel (with parts)’ template. There are idea, notes, character notes, chapter and scene labels in various colours— which can also be edited. Below this is the status setting: No Status, First Draft, Revised Draft, Final Draft, etc. Again, this can be edited.
For the manuscript I like to choose the corkboard mode (indicated in red) so I can plot my outline and see how the story unfolds. These “index cards” can be rearranged however you choose—no cut and paste required:
Character and setting are so easy to include especially with the preformatted templates provided:
But if you’re more of a MacGyver type, create your own from scratch—or duct tape. You can add photos, description, change the fonts. This programme lets you customise to your hearts content. Believe me, I’ve spent many hours—maybe too many hours—doing character and setting profiles in Scrivener. This Big Bad Wolf profile is pure idleness:
Here is what the setting template looks like:
Scrivener really helps the story come alive and from plotting to drafting to editing to revising to publishing; Scrivener keeps it all organised and in one place. Do you have research material regarding your story? There’s a ‘Research’ section for that. Are you self-publishing and not sure how to format your novel? There’s a ‘Front Matter’ section for that. It’s got templates for manuscript format, paperback novel and e-book. Do you want to track your word count outside of Nano and Camp Nanos? Yup, there’s a section for that too (Project > Project Targets).
After hearing about Scrivener last year and using the trial version for November’s Nano and finally being able to purchase the licence this year—with my discount code for winning Nano that same year, I’ve gotten my writing mojo back! Now I want to return the favour to a deserving fellow aspiring writer.
If you want the chance to win a free coupon code for 50% Scrivener, all you have to do is leave a comment down below: #ScrivenerContest with your name and that’s it! The winner will be chosen at random and announced in next week’s blog. Best of luck to all!
If you enjoyed this tutorial, please let me know and I’ll do a part two. Anyways, I’m rambling again which means it’s time to sign off… Toodles for now.
And remember, no matter where you live, take a little time to enjoy the island life!