I’ve been using Scrivener for a few years now. I wrote a post about it in July 2016, in which I raved about some of the basic features that I love about the software. Literature and Latte came out with a new version for Mac a few months ago, and it’s even more awesome now. It’s called Scrivener 3, and they haven’t released a PC version yet.
There are 5 little icons at the top of the inspector column: synopsis/notes, bookmarks, metadata/keywords, snapshots, and comments/footnotes. If you click on the bookmarks icon, it opens a little panel and you can drag other documents from your binder into it, so you can refer back to other documents without losing your place in your current document!
My current project has dozens of documents in it, including text, character sheets, places, and research notes. Plus, I have a memory like a steel sieve, meaning I’m constantly going back and forth to remind myself of what I said last time I wrote about a particular character, or whatever.
The screenshot below shows the bookmark panel at the right. I’ve just put a couple of the character sheets in there as an illustration.
The screenshot also illustrates another awesome new feature:
This feature is under the EDIT/WRITING TOOLS menu. It grays out everything except the kind of text you ask for. You can just look at your verbs, to see if maybe you’re overusing passive voice; you can look at adjectives or nouns to see if maybe you can inject a little more variety or elegance into your writing; and you can even look at dialogue to see if your character voices are consistent and distinct (the direct speech option highlights everything that’s inside quotation marks).
I usually have multiple Scrivener documents open at the same time. There’s my current project, of course. I also have a catch-all called “how to write” which has my notes on everything from the 3-act structure to how to take a screen clipping, and I usually leave that one open. I keep a copy of my blog posts in a Scrivener project, which helps when I want to look up something I wrote a long time ago but am not sure when; that’s also usually open somewhere in the background. In the past, I’d have to shuffle the documents around to find the one I wanted somewhere buried behind everything else.
The new WINDOW/MERGE ALL WINDOWS feature creates tabs in your header bar, one per open project, so you can see them all nicely laid out and switch between them with ease. You can see it in my screenshot above.
Along the same lines, if you have projects you might not open very often but want to find them easily, you can add them to your favorite projects list (FILE/ADD PROJECT TO FAVORITES). I don’t know if this is a new feature, but I just learned about it.
Arrange by label
This is a feature I think has huge potential for helping to see the flow of your story, or figure out if you have the right balance of different points of view, or identify what stage of drafting and revision your pieces are in.
When you’re looking at your document in group mode (the cork board with index cards), there’s a group of icons at the bottom of your document that looks like this:
If you click on the one that looks like little tadpoles, it shows you a diagram like this:
The way it works will depend on how you set up your labels. In the illustration, mine are set up for where the scene takes place. You can zoom out to see more of the diagram at a time (VIEW/ZOOM/ZOOM OUT). A neat thing about this is you can move the cards from one line to another and it will automatically change the label.
There are lots and lots of other cool features in Scrivener, but I’m most excited about these right now.
Happy writing, everyone! If you use Scrivener and have found other neat things to share, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
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