I have a confession, everyone: I’ve fallen in love. I am 100% twitterpated.
What’s the name of my new paramour, you ask? Scrivener.
My friend Erin set us up and she’s giving a toast at our wedding. Marshall is jealous but begrudgingly accepting.
Scrivener has changed my life and my writing forever, and I don’t know why I resisted it for so long. I’d heard about it online before, but it didn’t seem like the right fit for where I was in my writing process. Was I ever wrong! Now that we’ve found each other, I’m never going back. I love it so much that I want to shout it from the rooftops… hence this blog post.
Seriously, let’s talk about Scrivener. Scrivener is an app for writers by an online community called Literature & Latte. Here’s the description on their website:
Scrivener is hard to explain without being able to see and use it, which is probably why they offer an awesome 30-day free trial. But I’m going to do my best to tell you all how much you really need this app, no matter what type of writing you’re doing.
First off, it’s a word processor. You can do all of your writing right there in the app, with all your basic formatting functions.
So far I’ve found no fault with its capabilities at this very basic level, but that’s not where it shines. Allow me to direct your attention to the sidebar:
The beauty of Scrivener is in its organization. Everything you could ever need for your writing project is right here in one document. All your chapters, all your notes, all your research.
I used to have separate documents in Word or Google Drive for all these things. Now, they’re one simple click away if I need to reference them while I’m writing. This already makes my writing flow easier and more effective. I’m not constantly switching documents, I don’t need a thousand tabs open, and I never have to search for where I left my information. It decreases the potential for distraction and saves me so much time, which helps me be more productive. This is a beautiful thing, but the thing I think I love most about Scrivener is that it helps me be more creative as well.
If you’re using the app in Novel Format, Scrivener provides templates for character sketches. All my character details are right at hand for easy reference and update. Here’s an example of mine:
I didn’t want to spoil anything for you guys so I cut it off, but here are the full templates for character and setting sketches:
You can tell this app was created by writers for writers. They ask the important questions and help you create well-rounded and fully fleshed out characters and settings just by prompting you to fill out this basic information.
After completing my 30-day trial I loved the desktop app so much that I bought it, and used a gift card to buy the app for my iPad. I do a lot of writing on my iPad when I’m traveling and commuting because I don’t have a laptop right now, and the iOS app for Scrivener has been amazing so far. What I love best is that because Scrivener syncs flawlessly with Dropbox, I can access my project in the Scrivener app at any time on my phone or iPad — all of it. All my notes, research, character sketches, as well as the manuscript. Any work I do in the app is backed up to Dropbox so when I open my project on my desktop, all my changes are there. The future is NOW, my friends.
Here’s an example of what one of my chapters looks like on my phone:
The working chapter title Laura in the City is there at the top and holds the three scenes in the chapter. Scrivener makes it almost absurdly easy to find everything in your project, and to have that all available at my fingertips at any given moment? It’s pretty much all of my dreams come true.
But wait!!! In true infomercial fashion, THERE IS MORE. Scrivener isn’t just for wannabe novelists! CHECK OUT ALL THESE TEMPLATES!
I wish I had known about this in college when I was writing APA-style papers constantly.
Then, for the grand finale, when you’re all done writing your masterpiece, Scrivener compiles it for you in your requested style. Manuscript, paperback, ebook, essay, whatever — Scrivener makes sure it’s formatted properly with the right fonts, margins, page numbers, and required blank pages. I kind of wanted to scream when I found out about this. I spent hours manually formatting ATFS for Kindle Direct Publishing. If I had been using Scrivener then, all I would have had to do is press a button. Oh Scrivener, would that I had known!
As for the nitty-gritty: it’s not free. But it is affordable, and it is worth it. The download for Mac is $45. That’s a one-time cost, and the program can be used across multiple devices (I have it on two). The mobile app was $19.99. I used a gift card for it, but as I said before, this app has changed everything about my writing workflow, and I would pay twice as much for the capabilities it affords me.
In summary, I’m not going to be selfish and hoard all this love for myself. If you do any writing at all for any reason, GO DOWNLOAD SCRIVENER. You too could be Tom-Cruise-jumping-on-couches levels of infatuated.
*I was not paid to endorse this product… I just really love it*