Yay! It’s time for another Tech Luv Thursday, peeps. This is the part of the week where I share my favorites for readers and writers from the tech front. Now, I’ve gotta tell you that today’s topic is definitely more writer-centeric. The question I get asked alot is: What tool can you absolutely not live without? The first word out of my mouth is always Scrivener
What Is It?
Originally developed for Mac, this software package, developed by Literature and Latte, is referred to as a content-generation tool. Basically, think about that big, long word document you may have written your first manuscript in. Scrivener takes your manuscript and breaks it up into a series of single, easier to digest documents. Then, it compiles it into a format of your choice when you’re done. Let’s talk about some things that make me happy when using Scrivener.
Check out this screen shot from my novel The Star Catcher. This is Scrivener’s Document View, by the way. Each folder represents a Chapter and each text file a different scene. These are all combined in Scrivener’s binder. And it doesn’t just hold together text documents, it compiles things like character outlines, resources, photos, notes, and more–into a single location.
And remember all those times you had to renumber Chapters in a Word doc? Well, Scrivener takes care of chapter numbering for you during the compile process.
Need to split up chapters? No problem. Pick a point where you want the text to split and choose a hotkey combo. It’s CMD + K on a Mac. Then your chapter is split up. You can then take that text and move it anywhere and in any order. It can be another Chapter, another scene. You can rearrange anything with a simple drag and drop. Scrivener can take writers’ productivity and amp it up a thousand percent.
Ever want to just get away from it all and write? Scrivener provides you with a mini-getaway every time you load Composition Mode. Upload an image file of your choice and select Composition Mode for instant atmosphere. Even better? You can see any other apps or the Internet from this view. Zero apps plus less distraction equals more writing!
Ever need a kick in the writing pants? Yeah, me too. That’s what makes the Show Project Targets feature in Scrivener so amazing. You plug in the number of words you want to hit, when you want to work, and your deadline. Scrivener calculates how many words you need to write per day and shows you your progress.
There’s even an option to tweet your progress through social media. Even cooler? It mentions @ScrivenerApp in the tweet and the team members actually interact with you, encouraging you. Not daily, but enough that you think–wow, I can do this. Somebody out there is rooting for me. What an unexpected perk!
If you’re at all like me, you have notes saved everywhere for your projects. Scrivener gives you the option of a wide range of note choices. These include my favorites: Document Notes, which allow you to add a specific note to the individual document your working in, and Project Notes. Project Notes are accessible from any document within the project. You can add as many as you want and name them however you want.
The big bonus that Scrivener provides is undoubtedly its ability to take single documents and combine them easily into a final product. Think you’ll end up with just one Word doc like you were trying to avoid in the first place? Think again. You can output your work to ebook formats, such as .MOBI, .EPUB, or .PDF. You can choose to save your work in the traditional Word format if you need to. Even cooler? It will output into a standard manuscript format so you can send out all of those partial or full manuscript requests agents have been hounding you for–fingers crossed, right? And you get to determine the formatting you want to apply.
So, there are a few of my favorite features in Scrivener. Obviously, I couldn’t cover everything here. The great part about this for writers? You not only have the ability to write faster, but you can write smarter. Everything you need is in one place. No more hunting around for that one paragraph you think you remember from Chapter Three.
Want to know more? Check out these great resources: