Thursday, April 4, 2013

Scrivener Evaluation, Part 1

I downloaded the trial version of Scrivener last week. I spent an hour or more reading through the user manual. Though it was good info, it was pretty much useless to me because I'd had no experience with Scrivener so I didn't know what the author was talking about or what features I'd even want to use. It was an info overload for me.

It's been much more useful to figure out exactly what I want to do and see how/if Scrivener does that particular thing.

For example, I really wanted an index card feature. I needed to figure out how to get all the index cards on the screen (I have an index card for each scene). I went to a tutorial on YouTube and that was very helpful. I learned that I needed to start with the chapter and then under the chapter heading, I clicked on the icon to add  a new folder and a field came up to type in my scene number and a short description of the scene which is tied to an index card.

I decided I wanted to transfer my rough draft into Scrivener. If you use a Mac you can download the whole manuscript and then go through and separate it into chapters or scenes, but the Windows version doesn't allow you to do that. So I copied and pasted each scene (you can divide your text into whatever way works best for you: chapters, sections, scenes, etc) and gave it an index card. I did this all under the first chapter so I could see all the index cards (scenes) at once. (I wasn't sure if I assigned scenes to chapters if I'd be able to see all of them at once).

I learned that I can edit the index card right on the screen without having to go back into the individual screen for that scene, which is cool and saves a step.

I read somewhere to make the heading of each scene/index card a synopsis of the scene, but I'd recommend actually using only a few words and then putting more details under the heading because when you view the index cards screen, you can see the entire index card (I thought I'd only be able to see headings).

At this point, I have transferred my entire rough draft into Scrivener. I can see all the index cards (scenes)on the screen when I choose that viewing option. I will now be looking at it as a whole and see where I left out scenes. I can then make a place holder index card with what I want to include in that scene. Then I'll come back and write the scene after I make sure the overview of the story feels right.

So far, I like Scrivener and I'm hoping it will help me to be more organized and be able to see the story as a whole.

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