In this Scrivener review, we'll take a look at the benefits of having writing software specifically for complicated projects like your latest novel.
What is Scrivener?
Basically, it's writing software that keeps you organized. If you are writing your novel in a Word document with notebooks, index cards, and multiple files to keep track of your character's backstories as well as the outline of the book, this software will feel like an amazing gift from your muse.
Benefits of the Writing Software
When writing your novel, you'll begin to realize that it's crafted from a variety of small parts. There's your outline, which you will refer to frequently during the writing process. Even if you don't outline, there will be reference materials and research that you'll look at while writing. Each character will have a backstory, quirks, a description, and a relationship to other characters. All of these individual pieces could be scattered in a dozen places.
Writing software like Scrivener will combine all those elements into one place where you can access them quickly and easily. Each chapter is separate, so you can easily search or rearrange them as needed. Imagine you're writing a scene with Jennifer and her sister Alex, and you vaguely remember that you might have mentioned Alex's eye color a few chapters ago. You can easily click to the chapter or do a global search of the entire document where all instances of her eye color were mentioned.
Brainstorm, Outline, and Organize
Some writers find that they need index cards for organizing their story. Scrivener has you covered there. They have a corkboard for adding and organizing digital index cards with your outline, character information, or location details.
Each chapter or bit of research is kept as a separate “file” of sorts. You'll be able to add information as needed to the draft or outline as well as change each chapter's status. If you're finished with a chapter and have revised it to your satisfaction, you can change the status to Final Draft.
After you've added status' markers to the scenes or chapters, you can do a search of final draft files. In each file, you can keep reference pictures, the synopsis of your story as well as the document itself.
Writing the Novel
Before you can organize files, chapters, and scenes, they have to exist. All the reference materials and index cards are not going to matter if you don't have a space to write your novel. The word processing functions like a Word document with the ability to change the font, bold, italicize, and underline. There's an entire menu across the top much like other word processing systems.
Once you're finished with your great novel, you can import it to a different file format. Scrivener will gather all the chapters and place them in the kind of document you'd like from an epub for an ebook to a PDF for a brochure or a document for you to format yourself.
All Kinds of Writing
This software is perfect for writing a novel, but it's also great for school writing projects that can become incredibly complicated without a system. It's great for short stories, too.
Personally, I've used this for professional writing because it's easy to add pictures and keep research close to the assignment. I've used it for the prompts on this website when turning them into a downloadable document for readers. The research and other documents and index cards are not collated or printed with the finished document unless you've indicated you want them printed.