Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hey, You've Got Your Scrivener in My NaNoWriMo!

by Sara N.

Or is it that you've got your NaNoWriMo in my Scrivener? Either way, they're two great tastes that organizers of the monthlong novel writing event think go great together.

But first, is anybody else attempting to write a novel this month? I'm giving it a another shot after enjoying my first go-round last year. This year, though, I'll be writing my book on Scrivener thanks to the a free trial being offered through November for NaNo participants. If you write your 50,000 words this month, you can get 50 percent off the cost of the program so it can be yours forever. Those who don't get all the way to 50,000 still get 20 percent off. (It's $45 for Mac and $40 for Windows.)

So what is Scrivener? It's a document-composition tool that lets you turn the ideas in your headspace into a novel, a screenplay, a legal brief, an academic article — you name it, and if it's complicated to structure and organize, Scrivener promises to help.

I've been wrestling with it for three days now, and there's a learning curve, but I'm liking the overall setup so far. It lets you break your work into individual scenes or beats, save them on virtual index card, and move those cards around the program's cork board. So if you, like me, know several of the scenes you want to include in your story, but you're not sure when or where or how to order them, you can slop them all up on your cork board, then organize them as you start to add more tissue to the bones of your story.

But don't take my word for it; Scrivener has some high-profile devotees. Ilona Andrews is an outspoken fan. She's done screenshots of her custom background ..
... and even created a tutorial that could be useful to newbies:

Other well-known Scrivener users include author Neal Stephenson and Neil Cross, the creator of BBC's Luther, and one of my favorite romance authors Jennifer Crusie, among many others. And maybe you, if you use the program to write your novel this month and sell it for a six-figure book deal.

Anybody else trying out Scrivener this month? Let me know if you've found creative and useful ways to get it to work for you. I feel like I'm using about a tenth of its capacity right now.
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