Oh, how naive we are when we first start to write a book.
It all seems so simple until you begin to consider the enormous task that stands before you. I was naive and I bet you were too. One of the silly assumptions I made was that I could open up a Word Document and start my masterpiece.
Six years later I have a fully finished novel (Beyond Parallel), but I wouldn’t be here without a piece of software that literally saved my life. That software is Scrivener, and it’s something I know Nick treasures too. Note from Nick: YES. There’s a reason I hawk Scrivener at anyone who’ll listen. It’s the bomb.com.
Not only is it prettier and less buggy than Word, but it offers tools that Microsoft couldn’t fathom. Simply put it’s one of the best investments I’ve made in my writing. For a meagre $30 I was able to stay organised, go into new depths, and progress faster than I could ever imagine.
5 Key Benefits For Debut Writers
The benefits that Scrivener has far surpasses five, but I want to share just a few of the features that helped me get from A-to-B.
1: The Character Tool
One of the most important aspects of any book are the people that fill it. You may have an idea of what the characters should look like in your head, but as you delve deeper into your novel this process gets complicated.
The character tool in Scrivener is a lifesaver. You can add images, text, links, and a personality that makes the person life-like. Whether you have two characters or two-hundred, this tool will make your life a great deal easier.
Looking back I didn’t utilise this tool enough for Beyond Parallel, but I can’t wait to base my second novel around it. Crafting future books will be a breeze… hmmmm, yeah, maybe…
2: Drag & Drop It
Books can be a rather complicated mistress. Scenes get moved around and ideas come and go. Scrivener allows you to alter your masterpiece with ease.
No more copying and pasting, or spending precious time searching for one particular scene. The layout offers a birds-eye view of your entire project and lets you move it around with ease. I personally write in a fairly chronological order, but many writers don’t.
3: Full Screen Mode
If you’re anything like me, you get distracted rather easily. A laptop is a truly remarkable toy, but it’s also alive with distractions designed to waste your time. The internet, apps, games, videos… they all add to a writers worst nightmare.
This is where the Full-Screen Mode comes into play because it helps block out all distraction.
You can alter the transparency and bespoke it to how you want it to look. I always write in Full-Screen Mode and it certainly helps keep me focussed and on top. Such a simple, but remarkable tool.
4: Format With Ease
You may or may not have tried to format a book before. It sounds easy, but it really isn’t; especially if you try to use something like Microsoft Word. There are still aspects to overcome in Scrivener, but the entire journey is epically easier.
The most important thing about any book is the words, but don’t overlook how it is seen. Using a professional is still suggested, but Scrivener makes it possible to create an attractive book with just a little time and effort.
5: Exporting In Different Formats
In the last year I’ve sent Beyond Parallel to various people, and in various formats. Reviewers, Editors, Beta Readers, Bloggers, and more… you share your book far and wide.
Sometimes they want it in Word, or PDF, or Ebook, or Double Spaced, or Single Spaced, or…well, you get the picture.
Scrivener makes it easy to format your work quickly and effectively in almost any format. Time is of the essence, and this marvellous piece of kit saves you lots of it.
A Life Without Scrivener
I began Beyond Parallel in Word, but I’m glad I didn’t finish it this way.
Without Scrivener I’m almost certain I’d have hired a professional formatter, and confident my hair would have been forcefully pulled out. Scrivener can still be a little tricky, and you need to spend time learning the ins and outs, but it makes life SOOOOOOOOOO much easier.
Writers are a peculiar bunch. We all write in our own way, but I can imagine few who wouldn’t find Scrivener useful. It’s certainly worth a trial before you part with your cash.
Before I depart, here are a few more articles that help enhance the Scrivener journey:
- Scrivener: The Ultimate Guide to Exporting eBooks (Kindle, ePub, etc.)
- Scrivener Support
- Scrivener Part II: The Nitty Gritty
What about you? Do you use Scrivener? How do you currently write your masterpieces?
I’d love to hear your tales… just leave a comment!
Matthew Turner is a writer from Yorkshire, England. His debut novel, Beyond Parallel is OUT NOW, and if you like coming-of-age tales, it’s the perfect book for you. In the same mould as Sliding Doors, Beyond Parallel flips between two parallel tales. Grab yourself a copy and be part of an emotional roller-coaster that everyone can relate to.
I can’t say enough good things about this program. Best $40 I’ve spent on book expenses, if you ask me! I love the character pages – they help more than you’d think – but am totally in love with simply dragging scenes around as needed, as opposed to the time and energy I spent copying and pasting everything in a 120-page Word doc. I tell every writer I know to use Scrivener!
Seriously… it was the first (and only) purchase I made via the Mac App Store, and I haven’t looked back since. I love it and will always recommend it!
Thanks for stopping by, Liz!
Totally agree Liz. I sing it’s praises far too much. There are certain products I love and couldn’t live without. This is one of them!
Thanks for reading and commenting
Ahh that make me feel better, someone took 6 years to write their first Novel.. Mine has taken me 2 so far. I was beginning to despair. Ideas are not the problem it’s the time and the mindset that gets me every time.
Don’t worry about how long it takes — if you’re consistently working toward the end goal, there’s no “too long” or “too short” about it!
What do others think about writing a story backwards from it’s outcome!
I’ve never tried, though for a short story I think it’d be a pretty good way to do it!
Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.
I’m still learning from you, as I’m making my way to the top as well. I definitely love reading all that is posted on your website.Keep the stories coming. I liked it!