Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Scrivener - you don't have to eat everything on your plate

I'm a huge fan of Scrivener.  This wonderful writing software works very well on both the Mac and Windows platforms...  and makes the process of writing much simpler, than trying to use Word/Word Perfect/Google Docs.  Scrivener allows you to bounce here and there, write the end, first,  write the middle and then move it to the beginning, take a section and split it into three separate parts in different locations, and have all of your research right there at your fingertips and available in a split-screen view with your draft.

At least, that's how I use it.

So far, if I think of something I wish my writing software did... I poke around, and sure enough, Scrivener does it for me.   I know there are tons of features on Scrivener, that I don't use.  Some features - I know about, but I've not taken the time to learn how to use them.  Some features,  I've not felt the need for.  And I'm sure there are still other features that are built in, but I haven't felt the need for them, so I haven't looked for them, and I haven't run across them.

And that's ok.

There are a lot of Scrivener users out there, who talk about the time it takes to learn everything that Scrivener has to offer.  And there are a lot of potential Scrivener users out there who express concern about being able to learn all the features, potential users who are too intimidated to give Scrivener a shot.  And I'm confused by both of these groups.

Scrivener puts a lot on your plate -- but you don't have to eat everything that's there.  One of the many things I like about Scrivener is that you use what you want, and ignore the rest.  And the parts that you're ignoring?  Trust me, they don't interfere with the parts that you are using, and they don't get in the way.  They also don't get rusty... they merely remain in the background, patiently waiting their turn, until such time - if any - that you call them up.

Yesterday, I came across a post by an author/blogger I follow - Michael Holley - talking about the corkboard feature.  It's a feature I'm aware of, but never felt that it matched any of my needs, so I've ignored it.  Michael talked about using it in a different way, and I might (or might not!) try it, at some point.

But today, I came across an interview with David Hewson, and one of his remarks made me do a mental fist pump.  Hewson is an author, and was talking about one of his books that is based on a television series, and consequently has 3 different story lines weaving in and out, and he talked about how helpful Scrivener was to this process.  He could write from beginning to end, but he could also pull out only the sections applicable to story line A, and make sure there were no gaps.  And then he said
That said I think it’s important you only use the tools you need. Scrivener is a very powerful and complex piece of software. You’ll be wasting time if you try to learn all of it – I haven’t and I’ve probably written fifteen books in it now.
Wow.  That's what I've been trying to say.  Not only should you not worry about learning it all, you shouldn't even try to learn it all.  Only use the tools you need.

Don't you just love it when someone more important and famous than you, says the same thing you've been trying to say??!!
I think I'll celebrate, with a nice cup of tea.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a timely post for me! I've heard so many wonderful things about Scrivener, but I am afraid to try it. Mostly because I've never seen Scrivener live. I've heard of the cork board feature and the split screen option, both of which intrigue me.

    Now, knowing it's not that hard to use only the parts I want, I think I'll give it a try!

    p.s. I *attempted* to answer your question on my blog!