Wednesday, February 20, 2013

#WWoW: Trying out Scrivener

Hello new visitors and returning readers!

Today on Not Enough Time in the Day I'm back to participating in the weekly posts for WWoW: Writer's Words of Wisdom. Each week a group of us write about a variety of topics that center around our journey through the world of publishing. From writing, blogging, editing, critique partners, social media and more, we've got takes on everything. Some of us will talk about the same topics but with different perspectives. All of it is done in order to share with you all what has worked...and not worked for us along the way.

My post today is about a writing program called Scrivener. I was reluctant to try this even after all the rave reviews by fellow author friends. I mean, I had a system that seemed to be working for me and I didn't want to mess with it. That is, until I ended up adding more projects to my "To Do" lists for all three of my pen names. The number of paper notebooks I was hauling around with me at any given time was beginning to weigh me down...literally!

The program for Windows (and Mac) was readily available through Amazon for $40. I figured , "What the hell?" I had a credit from Thank You Point left over from another purchase, so I wasn't out any extra money.   So with the click of my mouse I bought the program.  The download was easy and painless as was registering the product with the Scrivener site.

So what now?

With most new "toys" I tend to just open it up and figure it all out as I go, but this looked too damn daunting. To get a bit more help, I went back to Amazon and found a few books that would help me with creating an ebook using the program and of course I had the help that came along with the program itself. Not only did it come with a manual within the program, it also had a tutorial. Hmmmm...this was going to be a first for me, actually watching the tutorial!

Trust me, no one was more shocked than I was that I started up the program to get my initial bearings.  I was so glad I did! It takes you through each section with ease and in language that's easy to understand. Not only do you learn each step, but you learn different routes in the program to achieve the same goals. It's all about tailoring the experience to fit your own needs.

The tutorial explains how each level works from draft, to folders, text files and research files. I can even store the photos that inspire my characters so I can pull them up while writing the scenes. How cool is that?  I found out that I can create multiple levels for each project (chapters and scenes for example) or just keep it straight forward like having each folder/chapter one separate poem. By setting it up that way, I can be sure each poem starts on it's own page like a chapter would.

example of cork board view

My favorite part so far is the cork board view. With my vampire poetry project, I have all the poems/folders laid out on "index" cards. I can then write a short synopsis on each card so I'll be reminded what is covered in that poem without having to open the folder to read it.

The best part? I can shuffle every card in whatever order I want! No more cut, past and then delete like when I worked with just Microsoft Word. If I don't like the order, I can just move the cards around and then flip back to the document view and see all the poems laid out with page breaks. This helps me to visualize what the ebook will look like once it's all finalized. I haven't got to the compiling part yet where I convert all of my "chapters" into an ebook, so I'll leave that discussion for next week.

I'm at the point where I have my cover, nearly all the poems in the order I want them in, my copyright page, dedication and acknowledgement page, table of contents with links to find each poem within the document and my "about the author" section. I've even made separate folders for Kindle, Smashwords and Createspace copyright pages. You see, when it comes to the compiling phase, I only have to choose the appropriate folders/chapters to combine into the final product.

So far, so good! Next is to compile everything and make the different formats needed for Smashwords and Kindle. This is the key reason I purchased this program so that it will be easier to format all the different files for each publishing route. I'll let you all know how it goes next week!

Have you used Scrivener or another program like it? Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you.
For more tips and tidbits check out the other authors participating this week by clicking on their links below.


  1. I agree with you. Been using it for over a year... It's a great product for multiple projects, multiple pen names, and, as cited above, brainstorming 3x5! Hard pressed to find a comparable writing/editing platform. I store from here to Dropbox for redundancy and then copy content to websites (more redundancy) for compilation/publishing.

  2. I haven't tried this yet. I might have to check it out.

  3. I'm pretty confident I will have a good ebook formatted properly for Amazon, but I don't know if I will be able to upload directly to Smashwords with it. I may have to save it as a word document first. Anyone have experience with using Scrivener for a Smashwords acceptable file?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. sorry. I deleted a double post of mine. Darn phone! LOL

  5. Perfect timing. I was just considering purchasing this program. I'll be waiting for next week's post to see how things go.

  6. I've completed the ebook versions for Smashwords and Amazon as well as the print version through Createspace for my new book of poetry. It's live on Smashwords, but as of this post I'm waiting for Amazon and Createspace to catch up. Both said the formating was fine. I'll do an entire post of my experience next week.


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