Our thanks to author and co-founder of Unbound Words Jennifer Kohout for this guest post. Jennifer will be teaching a master class on Scrivener for Authors with Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn at this year’s PubSense Summit. WWW tribe members can save 10% off their registration with code WWW2015!
If there is one program that I would recommend for authors, it’s Scrivener. Scrivener is amazing. It does everything you need to research and write your next novel, and then some. I’ve been using Scrivener for almost two years and I know that there are features that I’m not using. It is amazingly robust.
I will admit there is a learning curve. How steep depends on how technologically savvy you are, but it is well worth investing the time to learn. Once you get over the pain of learning a new system you will find that Scrivener saves you time and energy.
Here are a few of the features that I love:
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Research – Every new project that you open comes with a section for research. You can make notes, import images, and even import websites. This last feature is great when you are working offline. If you need to reference something that you saved off the internet it is right there – no internet connection required.
Templates – There are tons of templates including character and scene templates. This is a great way to organize each of your characters, make notes of what they look like, what their backstory is and what their role is in your novel.
Compiling – This is where Scrivener earns its money ($49 for a license that can be used on up to 5 computers). When you’re done you can compile and export your manuscript into several different file types, including .mobi (Kindle), .epub (all other ebook readers), and .pdf. You can even export it into various word and/or text files that can be sent to your editor!
Other things that I love are the cork board view. You can switch to this view and see your story laid out just as if you were looking at a story board. I also like the tracking feature. I can set the word count for my story as well as my daily goal. A click on the icon opens a small window that gives me the number count as well as a neat status bar that turns from red to green.
Every day it’s a treat to watch the color change and know that I’m making progress. When you’re writing a novel, you have to take your thrills where you can get them!
I would highly recommend Scrivener for anyone writing a book, no matter the genre. It is amazing and I know that my work flow has improved because of it. If you do decide to give it a try, the second thing I would recommend is picking up a copy of Scrivener For Dummies (seriously). This is a great, easy to use reference book that will teach you all the short cuts and have your book looking professional in no time at all. (You know those great scene and chapter divider images? This book will tell you how to add them to your next novel.)
I hope you found this article useful. I would love to hear if you use Scrivener and what you think.
Jennifer Kohout is the Co Founder of Unbound Words LLC. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington and her law degree at Seattle University School of Law. After 10 years practicing, she decided it was time for a change of pace and retired from law. Jennifer has been writing full time since 2012 and has self published ten titles. She currently resides in Washington with her husband and children. In her spare time, she enjoys running and wine. You can contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.