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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barrett | 1608 comments I feel sure this has been discussed before, but I can't seem to find the thread, so forgive me for raising it again.

I'm about to embark on a new novel, which hopefully will run into a series.

My usual way of constructing a novel is on countless sheets of paper, post-its, graffiti, and tattoos. This method has worked okay in the past, but tends to leave me feeling as though I've perpetually forgotten something, especially during the editing phase.

I write the book proper using Word, a chapter at a time with more notes at the top of the page and many more in brackets throughout the text.

So my question is, will Scrivener help me or confuse me? Some months ago I looked at the free download and read all about it. Then I burst into tears and threw the computer in the bin.

Realistically, how long would it take a person with below average intelligence to get a working knowledge of it; and how long perhaps would it take to grasp its full potential?

Simon (Highwayman) (highwayman) | 4697 comments You can get a free triel (30 days I think).

I played with it but as I don't have an original thought in my head I was reduced to mapping out 'Great pubs I have visited' which didn't really put it to the test.

I think it needs a bit of quality time to get the most of it :)

message 3: by Simon (Highwayman) (last edited Sep 06, 2012 03:12AM) (new)

Simon (Highwayman) (highwayman) | 4697 comments Oh, I should add that I didn't think it was complicated. I would say it is easy to learn but will take quite a lot of trial and effort to 'master it'.

message 4: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9442 comments I used it for the short that I submitted to the group anthology. It was pretty easy to use. When I was ready to send it off to Ignite, I just used the Word export filter to produce a .docx, and off it went. :)

If you PM me your email addy, I can send you the scrivener file to look at. (I was planning on sending you a copy of the story anyhow, for reasons that will be obvious when you read it...)

If you can visualise each scene as a file, and each chapter as a folder, then you pretty much have it sussed. You also have other folders for research notes, character & location profiles etc. The cork-board view works well for shuffling the virtual post-its etc.

message 5: by Kath (last edited Sep 06, 2012 03:47AM) (new)

Kath Middleton | 24030 comments I think Steve Robinson is a keen Scrivener user - might be worth sending him a PM too Andy.

Edit to add that if you have below average intelligence, someone else is publishing novels in your name!

message 6: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barrett | 1608 comments Thank you Simon and Tim. PM en route.

I have a very common name, Ignite. I only scrape match stick figures in wet sand, remember? Hehe. Ta for mentioning Steve.

message 7: by Harrison (new)

Harrison Davies (harrisondavies) | 189 comments Best program out there IMHO.

message 8: by Anthony (last edited Sep 06, 2012 06:38PM) (new)

Anthony Cardenas (aecardenas) | 34 comments Scrivener all the way if your are a Mac user. I think it's the perfect way to organize all of your thoughts, ideas, notes, research, various drafts, create character list, and compose in a non-linear fashion, which is pretty much how most of us write anyway, and then you can compile your work in a variety of different options, like PDF, .RTF, .DOC, etc., for final formatting in preparation for submissions or publication or whatever else you intend to do with the work.

What's also cool about it, is that you have different starting templates that you can use for each type of work--so if you are doing a novel with Parts and Chapters, then there is a template for that; if you are writing a Screenplay, then there is a template for that; if you are writing short stories or poetry or a stage play or a non-fiction (such as essays or research papers, etc)...there are templates for those types.

Oh, and did I mention it also has this cool little "cork board" feature, which allows you to brainstorm with scenes on notecards and mix-match them on a cork board and rearrange them on the fly, depending on how you are pacing your narrative, etc.

And it's not that expensive either. I think just $45, and worth every penny. I use it for all my novels and scripts (both stage and screen), and have even begun to start using it for poetry and song lyrics.

message 9: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9442 comments There's even a BBC template if you fancy writing for Auntie... :)

message 10: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barrett | 1608 comments Thanks Harrison and Anthony. I'm still working my way through the tutorial; started it yesterday but had to break off for an evening at the flicks followed by lots of beer - has to be done.

Yes, it showed the scriptwriting template, which I was surprised by. I've always used Final Draft before, but used to struggle with re-arranging things, so Scrivener appears to be spot on for that.

Thanks to Tim, I have a good sized sample of work I can load into it later, and play about with to find out how it all works.

message 11: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Comley (Melcom) I've heard some recent scare stories with scrivener dumping writer's info.

I had thought about getting it but I'm too scared to now!

The plus side is that it'll format your books for you in several different formats. :-)

message 12: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barrett | 1608 comments Eek!

That doesn't sound too good. I have begun using it; only plotting and some character work, but I will be royally miffed if it eats any of my first draft.

Perhaps I could avoid any problems if I emailed it to myself occasionally?

Anyway, so far so good with it. I can certainly see the benefits of using this as a writing tool if for nothing else than the ability to see each scene and chapter and rearrange them as required.

message 13: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9442 comments I haven't encountered any problems.

But I still back up to Dropbox, my other Mac (automatically thanks to dropbox!), and an external hard drive.

message 14: by Harrison (new)

Harrison Davies (harrisondavies) | 189 comments No problems whatsoever. Just scare stories. Dropbox it automatically. no issue.


message 15: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9442 comments BTW Andrew, did you manage to open my file eventually? You went awfully quiet...

message 16: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barrett | 1608 comments Tim A wrote: "BTW Andrew, did you manage to open my file eventually? You went awfully quiet..."

Hi Tim, no I didn't; well not as a complete file. I managed to open aspects of it (some photos of Oxford, character outlines etc..) outside of Scrivener, but nothing other than blank scene headings within it. It's got to be my fault, I am utterly useless with things like this - which is why it took a huge gulp in order for me to try it out.

But fret not, I did read the story and I fell in love with it I raved about it with Ignite for some time). I look forward to the book coming out immensely.

Could you explain the dropbox to me - I have a vague notion of what it might be but nothing more substantial. I always used to email my days work to myself (plus it felt like someone loved me!).

And thanks, Harrison, nice to be reassured :)


message 17: by Steve (new)

Steve Robinson (SteveRobinson) | 2930 comments Hi Andrew!

Bit late to the thread so sorry about that. You're probably all set by now but I'll throw my thoughts in anyway.

I've been using Scrivener since I went Mac - actually I went Mac so I could use Scrivener because it wasn't available for Windows at the time. Both steps - going Mac and Scrivener - have been great for me. I like that it autosaves my work (every second - yes I'm paranoid about losing my work). The organisation is brilliant IMO. I label my chapter folders with something relating to the content (not just chapter 1,2,3...) and then have all my scenes in that chapter in separate files so I can see everything at a glance and it's really easy to move scenes around. I used to use Word and still do for the final few drafts but it's the only way to go when you're creating the story. My books are potentially quite complex with past/present dual narratives and a lot of threads to keep track of. I'm sure Scrivener helps me to keep things clear for the reader by the time a book is finished.

So, I'd say it's not the only writing software you'll need and you might decide it's not for you in the end, but it's worth sticking with it and learning how to use it and how best to get what you want from it. You might find (like I did) that once you start using it you'll wonder how you ever managed without it.

And (I'm touching wood) I've never lost any data through using Scrivener and I've been using it pretty constantly for the last 4 years or so.

message 18: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barrett | 1608 comments Yes, Steve, I have found many advantages to Scrivener over the week I've had the trial version. Not least is the ability to see chapters and scenes and rearrange them easily. I certainly could have used this effectively while writing The Third Rule - that thing was such a headache to make any changes to because of all the threads would subsequently have to change too.

So, when I get paid, I shall treat myself to the proper version.

Incidentally, I suspect in the near future, this laptop will die, and I'm planning to have a computer built for me as a replacement. Is swapping the licence from one to the other a huge problem?

message 19: by Steve (new)

Steve Robinson (SteveRobinson) | 2930 comments I'm pretty sure you just enter the code they give you when you buy the full version. I'm still on my first Mac so I've not had to set it up on another one yet. That's usually how it works anyway.

message 20: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barrett | 1608 comments Thanks, Steve.

I'm sure it'll be fine, though if I have any problems, you guys have been brilliant!

message 21: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9442 comments Andrew wrote: "Tim A wrote: "BTW Andrew, did you manage to open my file eventually? You went awfully quiet..."

Hi Tim, no I didn't; well not as a complete file. I managed to open aspects of it (some photos of Ox..."

Things in Scrivener are stored as files and folders. You get a hierarchical window on the left side of the screen that lists them, just like a windows explorer tree view (if you don't click on the Binder button and it should appear). Just click on the file in the binder to see what's in it.

If you click on one of the folder icons, you can use the Group Mode buttons in the ribbon bar to toggle between joined-together file, cork-board and outline views.

There's walk-through videos on the web site, which are well worth taking a few minutes to watch.

Dropbox is a file hosting service, that provides cloud storage, file hosting and automatic synchronisation between PCs (also PC <-> Mac and Mac/PC <-> iPad/Android/etc). Very useful. I use it all the time for off-site backup, and also for sending big files to groups of people. You get 3GB for free, and can pay for more storage.

message 22: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barrett | 1608 comments Funnily enough, Tim, I downloaded Google Drive a couple of days ago, but having read their T&Cs I have uninstalled it. It might just be my paranoia but I didn't like the small print that says they're entitled to publish it anywhere despite me being the IPR holder.
Dropbox seems much more my cup of tea, so uploaded that to my laptop and phone last night. I'll be using it from now on.

message 23: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9442 comments Just came across this: Scrivener for Dummies by Gwen Hernandez. Don't have it & haven't read it, but I've found the 'Dummies' books to be good when it comes to other subjects.

message 24: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barrett | 1608 comments I'm having second thoughts about Scrivener now, Tim.

Since the computer went wonky and I have a new one, I have bought Office 2010, which has a rather good navigation bar to the left of screen, and a much improved search facility.

And further, I note that DM has bought SuperNotePad (?), and he says it's very good so far.

All that, coupled with Scrivener being complicated (complicated enough to warrant its own Dummies book!), and faced with a delay of several weeks before I do any more first draft writing, has caused me to at least postpone, and possibly cancel, Scrivener.

All in all, I think Scrivener has some wonderful features, but many more that I will never use or will have to invest too much time learning about. Anyway, I have several more weeks where I don't have to make any decision.

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