Monday, August 10, 2020

Why I Love Scrivener - Double Vision


I'm been asked multiple times about Scrivener and why it works for me, so I thought I'd put together a few posts. Hopefully, they're helpful!

The first post on The Basics is here.

I don't use the whole range of tools in Scrivener but I've found that MANY of the features really work for my brain. This program has saved my sanity and my stories on many occasions.

In this post, I'll talk about the physical layout of the Scrivener program. This is probably the main reason I love Scrivener.



Like any word document or writing program, there is a blank space for you to write. In the screenshot above you can see the main writing space is in the middle.

On the left is the Binder. It's the organizer for your project. Each of the arrows shows that there are files or folders within. On the right is the Info section. The small blue icon in the very top left either hides or shows this panel. I generally have this hidden to give me more writing space.

For me, one of the biggest reasons for using Scrivener is that I can have 2 writing spaces open and visible at the same time. If you can see it, in the top right corner of the main writing space above is an icon showing 2 rectangles together. With one click I get this.


As you can see, I've also clicked the blue icon to hide the info panel. If you have notes in there, you might want it open. If you want to label the scenes (pov, settings, point in the novel, first draft...) you'll have to have it open. The tool for that is at the bottom of the Info panel.

There are many reasons I might want 2 writing panels open.

When I'm working on the first draft, I often have the Character's Path section open on the right while I type in the left. This keeps me on track with Goals and Flaws. I might also have the Secondary Characters file open to help me remember the name of the coffee shop baker or the pizza delivery guy.

Drawing of a stick figure hanging from a red heart
(Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash)
When I'm revising, I can have Version 1 open in the right panel while I work on Version 2 in the left. That way I can see what the changes look like before I make them permanent. For me, Version 2 is often a complete rewrite. Having the Version 1 file open on the right helps me pick and choose what I want to keep and delete.

I also use the second panel to fact check within the MS. I can easily scroll through to find out what I need to know without losing the place where I'm working.

Sometimes I have the previous scene open on the right to make sure the flow works.

Sometimes I'm skimming through the MS on the left and copy/pasting good Pull/Promo Quotes into the file on the right.

Other times I'm using the research page I've saved into the research file so I don't have Gage fishing for walleyes out of season.

Often I have my To Add, Change, Remove file open on the right while I'm revising on the left.

Or my file of overused words...

So the double writing space feature of Scrivener is probably my favourite feature. What about you? Do you think the double writing space feature would help you? Do you have any other ideas for ways to use that second space?




12 comments:

  1. I can see how having that second space open with notes and such would be handy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are very few times I don't have it open for something!

      Delete
  2. I used Scrivener a little bit when I was writing It's All About the People but it wasn't a good fit for me for some reason. But your posts make me want to give it another go and take more time with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely works for my brain - but it did take a bit to learn the ins and outs that work for me!

      Delete
  3. I've tried a couple of times, but I've never gotten into Scrivener. I was thinking of trying again this November when I start a new project for NaNoWriMo. I've heard that I'd feel differently about Scrivener then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Starting fresh with a new WIP definitely worked for me. I'm at the point I can't imagine writing without it!

      Delete
  4. Like Alex, I can see how having a second panel up would help. I know a lot of people really like it. For now, I just use Word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a much better writer thanks to Scrivener's organizational details. I spend much less time trying to find/remember things!

      Delete
  5. I am really glad it works so well for you.
    And yes, that second panel would often be a help. Mind you if I had two panels my greedy monkey brain would want three. Or four.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - there are so many times I've wanted a third so you're not the only greedy one here!

      Delete
  6. I've not tried it, but then again, I'm not writing much anymore.

    ReplyDelete