Thursday, March 31, 2011


Okay, so I know I've got some writers out there. And writers need tools just like every other trade, right? Well, my favorite writing tool is Scrivener.

If you've never heard of Scrivener, it's a content-generation tool that allows writers full control of long documents. Right now the whole version is only available on Mac, but there is a beta out there for Windows. But really, Scrivener is an amazing tool.

How frightening is it staring at a 200+ page document on Windows? I know that I have trouble finding specific things in long documents like that one scene. And then you wonder if A became before B or if it was the other way around. Plus, editing can be a nightmare when you're trying to restructure your plot.

These things are made easier by the creators of Scrivener who decided to break everything down. You can break things down by chapter, by scene, by part – by whatever you want. You can list things, and move things around all you want just by clicking and dragging. You can write little summaries for you chapters or scenes that will help you find things later, or remember what happened when and in what order (for those of you who are really forgetful like me). You can give sections of text labels for whatever you desire (I like to use this for POV). You can give them keywords to remember who appears in a scene or what the setting is. The possibilities are absolutely endless!

There are also other perks. For instance, you can work on things in little pieces, like scenes, or choose to look at the whole draft as a whole. You can create a workable outline and then rearrange it while simultaneously rearranging your text. You can choose to write in the full screen mode which blacks out everything else.

You can also store all of your research in one place, having it easily accessible for whenever you need it. Lists of characters, settings, descriptions, whatever. You can put pictures if you want and whole web pages if you need. Yes, that's right. I said whole web pages. No more excuses that you can't write because there isn't any web access. You can have everything you need to write at your fingertips.

And that isn't all! (You didn't think it was, did you?) My favorite newest feature (or at least new to me) is the name generator. I'm not kidding. Stuck and need a quick name of an extra who only appears once? Set the name generator to create between 5 and 50 names and scroll through until you find one that you think fits. How cool is that?

And the best part is, it isn't even that expensive. In fact, in the world of programs, it's rather cheap. If I can afford it as a broke college student, you can too.

For those of you who wonder what mine looks like, I'll show you with a screenshot of mine. I put it on a new chapter so you can't see what I'm working on, but It's lots of fun guys. (Click to make the picture bigger.)

If you haven't tried it out yet, you should. Because it is that awesome. I don't think I'll ever use another writing program in my life to work on anything. Because you know what? It even formats scripts for you. Oh, the love. 

Have any of you tried this program? What do you think? What's your favorite feature? Or do you have plans to try it in the future? Love to hear your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

It's an amazing program which I can't wait to be fully released for Windows so I can buy it ^_^

Didn't know about the name generator, I shall have to find that!

Jessi E. (The Elliott Review) said...

I have tried yWriter and the trial for Liquid Story Binder for Windows, and I like both of them a little bit... However, Scivener looks better! Hrm... wonder what other things are out there....

Annerb said...

@Anonymous - Making names is so much fun! I highly recommend it!

@Jessi E. - My good friend Sarah has a great series of posts on writerly tools you can find here: She makes really good arguments and lines out some good details for and against. While it's not an extensive list, I found it quite helpful.

Sarah Robertson said...

You know how I feel about Scrivener. I worship the ground that Scrivener walks on. I cry tears of joy when we work together. If there was a box for it, I'd probably stroke it in devotion. I LOVE SCRIVENER.

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