Writing a Novel with Scrivener


The three novels I wrote years ago were done in Microsoft Word because there wasn't another comparable word processor out there at the time (unlike the multitude of OS and iOS options that exist today. I still can't believe George R.R. Martin writes on a DOS machine). I wasn't much of an outliner then so I didn't really have an outline to follow, but I did take a fair amount of notes while writing, and for those I used Text Edit. It was definitely a pain to switch between the two while writing but notes are necessary during novel writing if you're going to remember the stuff to put in later or think of something new to add down the line. If only I had  Scrivener back then, oh how wonderful a world it would've been.

I discovered Scrivener a couple of years ago when I was thinking of getting back into writing (but I wasn't ready yet). However, I did use it to write a few scripts last year and I'm currently using it to write my Novella "Suicide Taxi." Even though I had been using it for a while, I still had not tapped into it's full potential until I discovered some great YouTube videos that really showed how to utilize all the software's rich features. As for writing a novel, I can't imagine using anything else.

Scrivener has different sections for various parts of the writing process like Research, Characters, Places, etc. You can build your world and characters and outline all in the same project that you will write your novel in. And if you need a little research refresher while writing or have a continuity question, it's all right there in the same window. What I like best so far is to break my outline up into chapter folders and then have at least one scene document inside each folder. That way if you want to switch around the order of things later on, all you have to do is move the folder position up or down. Easy as pie.

The outline mode also comes with preset labels which are easy to customize. Most authors, including myself, tend to change them to be the POV of that particular scene or chapter. They're color coded so you can get a quick overview of the POV count and order at a glance.

One of the best features is Target and Stats. You can set a deadline for your project and estimate how many words you want it to be and what days you'll write and Scrivener will tell you how many words you need to write on any given day. However, I'm probably going to be changing up the way I write fairly soon by using writing sprints to get my daily word count up. I'll be writing about that very soon.

Anyways, if you're a writer and you haven't tried Scrivener yet, I would give it a try and see how much easier it can make your writing process. Be sure and check out all the various YouTube tutorials as well. One of the best I've found that will give you a nice broad overview is "Scrivener Bootcamp by Jason Hough."