Scrivener Review 2021: A Go-To Tool For Writers

This post is a comprehensive demonstration of why Scrivener is a go-to tool for writers

As an aspiring writer, I struggled to find a platform that will allow me to completely customise it to my needs. I’m pretty finicky when it comes to how I organise myself. I needed a go-to, all-inclusive tool, that looks good, and helps me straighten out the cavalcade of information that I come up with. Then one day, by chance, I happened upon Scrivener which, at its core, is all you’ll ever need.

Buy it once, have it on your PC for life. Just hold on to the licence code you receive upon purchase, in case you’ll be changing to a new computer and you’re sorted for the foreseeable future. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

๐Ÿง Why use Scrivener?

I used to think that Microsoft Word was all I needed to write. That is until I discovered Scrivener.

It is a customisable platform so you will only see what you need, once you set it up (I’d always recommend doing this first, even just to familiarise yourself with everything). Change the background colour, set up your manuscript plan, play around with the menu. There are possibilities everywhere with this software!

As I said before, Scrivener is an all-inclusive platform, meaning that you can pour into it not just your story, but your research, your images, your inspirations, your notes, your lessons, your character templates and more.

If you’re using it for anything other than a writer’s tool, you’ll still be able to customise it for all your notes, research and whatever else your projects may need.

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๐Ÿค” How Scrivener works? (A basic overview)

Scrivener is useful for manuscript writing, playwrights, screenwriters, but also for anyone who has a project that they want to write and need all aspects of it in the same place, such as a PR proposal, or Event Proposal, etc.

Whatever you want to write, Scrivener is definitely the go-to word processor.

Your corkboards are your guides, so when you’re writing a chapter, for instance, you can work out your scenes’ and chapters’ synopsis (picture above, upper right corner). You can also add your notes, references, thoughts or anything else, even links that you may need.

View Your Plans: You have a choice to look at your work as a corkboard or to see the title and synopsis together, or yet again, see it as a written W.I.P. (work in progress).

Set your Target: Set your word count target, scene by scene, chapter by chapter or by manuscript/document length.

Adjust your settings, just as in word. Font size and colour, underlined, whatever. It’s all here too.

Include all your research, your beat sheet, other notes, all your character info and more into your virtual binder.

Everything goes to one place only and you don’t have to remember another sign-in password and username (you write offline). I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s a plus.

You can drag and drop anything into it and make your notes up alongside your story as the ideas strike you, or change the order of any chapters as you go.

Assign a backup place, and you’re golden.

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NaNoWriMo Friendly! ๐Ÿ“

To my biggest surprise, Scrivener released a NaNo-friendly feature this year in time for National Novel Writing Month 2021.

The best part? Now you can update your wordcount on your NaNo profile straight from Scrivener!

How to get started: https://scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb/features-and-usage/enabling-the-update-nanowrimo-word-count-feature-in-scrivener

Can I convert it? Yes! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

To export your work, once you’re done, follow these steps:๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

  1. Highlight the correct document in Scrivener’s Binder view.
  2. Click File > Export > Files.
  3. Choose a location to save your exported file and choose a document name (if you want to change it for some reason).
  4. In the “Export text files as:” drop-down menu, choose your file type. ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ

You’ll have many choices to convert your final product into, as you can see.

So you don’t have to worry about such things either when you want to send on your work to the next stages, whether it needs to be edited, proofed or you want a read-only copy to send on to someone as a PDF.

๐Ÿค‘ Is Scrivener worth the money?

Scrivener is currently on its 3rd version and is available for โ‚ฌ53 as a Standard macOS or Windows licence for personal use, or for โ‚ฌ45.05 as an Educational Licence for macOS or Windows.

From Literature and Latte website

At the end of the day, the price is relatively low cost for what you get out of it (yours forever, no update costs, etc.) so I think it will be worth the investment.


Purchase Scrivener go to Literature & Latte – remember, once purchased, your licence will go a long way!

To get a discount before 30th November 2021, join the fun that is NaNoWriMo, find your region, and get a 20% discount with the code NANOWRIMO21.

Why you should do NaNoWriMo this year? Read my article 5 Things to Know about NaNoWriMo to learn why is it fun, and why is it great to join.


Did you like this review? Let me know your thoughts below ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป and give it a like or share it with your friends in doubt.

If you’d like me to review anything else that is a writing-related tool, let me know, and I will look into it in a future blog post.

May we always have satisfying conversations. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

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5 Things to Know about NaNoWriMo

5 tips on how to survive 30 days of writing

What is NaNoWriMo? by Brandon Sanderson and his 5 hacks to succeed

November of every year is National November Writing Month and if you are a writer of any kind of fiction or non-fiction or just want to try your hand in long prose, this is definitely the thing to sign up for.

(If you missed it, or didn’t know about it – they do a Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July every year too, so don’t fret! You haven’t really missed out.)

These people really know how to prep, prime and make you aware of all the ways that you can write.

This is where I learned about the Save the Cat! method (read my review HERE) and learned of Brandon Sanderson and his free Youtube lectures, among other tips and tricks through the NaNoWriMo community.

1. Your Goal is 50000 words ๐Ÿฅ…

The goal of the month is to write a 50000 words project which may sound a lot, but, it’s also an achievable goal, if you think about a daily count of only 1667 words.

Not too bad after all, right?

You can break it down further, so for exmple you can write about 300 words a couple times a day (say, after breakfast, another during lunch break, and the rest during the evening sometime)

And of course I’ve seen people writing only during weekends, if they had too much commitment during the week.

Can’t write so much? Don’t fret. Any word count is cool to have at the end of each week. Just try and keep at it.

That is the real goal – consistency in writing, to form the habit.

So announce your project and have a go. You won’t regret it.

You can track in fun ways like this PDF or you can make up my version of a colour-in Bullet Journal section dedicated, which looks like so:

2. Word-sprints are surprisingly helpful ๐Ÿ“

‘What is a word-sprint?’ you may ask.

Well, it is pretty much the fancy word for focused writing for a couple minutes, than noting the resulting word count. (so, for instance, write for 10 minutes without stopping and then you have a word count of 134 words). For more info – see Wikirimo.

It is a cool way to not just hold yourself accountable and ramp up your word count. You’re mostly going to write with others at the same time, but it’ll give you time to write your story without much thought about editing.

Which leads me to the next point.

3. NO edits! – or so is the rule… โ›”๏ธ

As I said, edits are for after November, or after you actually finished your full first draft.

Once you have a tangible amount of your story, you will certainly need to revise. All that in good time, though.

November is about writing whatever comes out, in whatever way it comes out. It should not be perfect. NaNoWriMo is designed to help you produce a first draft – mostly.

Perfect it later. Quench the urge, don’t think, just write.

4. But I didn’t win… what now? ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

So you have been steadily working away during November, but you couldn’t make up your wordcount. Let me tell ya, I got stuck on 14000 words this year myself.

No worries.

I’d say, sometimes the point, at least as the point became for me this year, is to get back to some of the creative roots that you’ve missed, or wanted to get back to.

I think participation is more key here, and whether you end up with the full 50000 words or no, be proud of yourself.

You’ve committed to something new, gotten back something you thought you lost, or you’ve discovered your new strength.

So what you didn’t finish within the month. You have the potential of finishing.

And that, my friend, is way more important!

5. Learn from your mistakes ๐ŸŽผ

So… you’ve a number that you have at the end of the month. The story? It may be prefect, but quite frankly, it may be completely off the rack.

You thought, going into this month’s writing, that you are a planner (you plan out all beforehand), a plantser (you plan some, then write out the rest as you go) or a pantser (you only need the basics, the rest you’ll make up while writing).

You’ll make mistakes either way. (I used to think I was a plantser – how utterly WRONG I was – god me, I am planner through and through!)

Whatever mistakes you made along the way – you will learn from them. No plot? No structure? Flat character? maybe you wanna read some books about it (links below)โคต๏ธ

I highly believe in learning by doing, so if you made mistakes? Good! That’s a good sign that you’ve tried your hand the best you could, and now you have some stuff to work with and work out.

Go you!

End thoughts: You signed up, you showed up, you did, you conquered ๐Ÿง ๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐Ÿคฉ ๐Ÿฅณ

I’ve gone into my month knowing about NaNoWriMo 3 days before it started. I was lucky, as I had a story on hand that I could start working on. Still, as I said, I only got a fraction of the story done.

I have, however, picked up good knowledge along the way, which to me, makes it all the way worth the process.

I’ve agonised over whether the story is good enough, whether I have the stamina, whether I can write at all.

Let me tell you though: if I can do it – after a decade of break – you can do whatever the heck you like too!

We can be whatever we want to be. Whatever we put our minds to.

So if you missed out on November – don’t fret. There is 30 days in most months of the year, take your pick, and do what you can. Here is some helpful tips to prep yourself .

Otherwise, keep an eye on Camp NaNoWriMo, coming up next year, to get ready for November 2021.

It is never too late to tell your story. And guess what! Only YOU can tell YOUR story.

Have fun and may we all have satisfying conversations,

Szabina


Books to read/buy:

Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody

No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty

Ready. Set. Novel! by Baty, Grant & Stewart-Streit

Writing Mastery Course by Jessica Brody – Quick review

Wondering what a writer’s best tool is out there at the moment? Are you a planner through and through?

I can tell you, Jessica Brody’s Save the Cat! Writes a Novel course (and book) will be your best friend in plotting your next great idea. It can be found in her Writing Mastery Academy.

It is a well structured course with plenty of examples from films and novels following 15 beats that make up most (if not all) novels.

It is a small investment, high reward course and worth every minute that you send on it. It’ll help you structure your ideas and clarify were you were lost.

If you don’t believe me, go and check her course out. And don’t forget about the book.

I just got my cert!

Good luck and May we always have great conversations.

Szabina ๐Ÿ™Œ