I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately about Scrivener. Me personally? I love it, and I can’t imagine writing without it.
I guess the most important thing to consider is that it’s not Microsoft Word. If you’re looking for all the bells and whistles in a word processing program, that’s not what Scrivener does, and you might be happier sticking with Word. But if you’re looking for a good organizing system to help you keep character traits and locations straight, and pop between chapters with a click, Scrivener is great.
So, about that writer’s block… As a soccer mom and science teacher who is active in my church, involved with my kids, and (tries) to keep up with maintaining my house, if I’m going to add “successful writer” to that list, I can’t afford writer’s block. To complete a novel in any reasonable time, I need to sit down and write a couple thousand words every single day. My secret is that through Scrivener, I keep things organized that I don’t have to write on the same novel every single time, and even if I’m not progressing on one story, I’m still moving forward.
My favorite feature of Scrivener is how every chapter has its own folder, and each scene is its own page within that folder. Those folders, for me, serve as something of an idea receptacle. When I have a story in my head, I write the synopsis first, then create a file that contains a paragraph describing each chapter until the entire story is outlined. I create the folders, insert each chapter paragraph in its folder, and save it for when I have time to write.
What I have now are several Scivener files for different stories, and if I’m at a stuck point in my work-in-progress, I open one of those files, find a paragraph that seems interesting, and churn out a couple thousand words in that folder. By using this technique, I sometimes build up around 20,000 words in a story before I ever intend to sit down and write it. Also, since I tend to write in series, I can hop around between novels to write scenes that relate to each other, and have better overall flow.
This tactic helps me easily win NaNoWriMo every year, and to not lose track of details when I step away from a story. And I never find myself sitting at the computer with nothing to write.
So, try Scrivener! For $40, in my humble opinion, it’s a steal.