Post NaNoWriMo: Thank You, Scrivener

So, you’ve written 50k+ words for NaNoWriMo… NOW WHAT?  It’s nearly a month post-contest.

Winner widgets

I’ve continued writing. I’m up to 96 K words, about 400 pages in– 200 ish more to go. Although, now, I really am not mindful of the word count at all; in fact, I just looked it up to provide you with an accurate update. I’m really feeling the momentum; I know where it’s all going, except for the unexpectedly welcome twists and turns I encounter along the way. My favorite part of writing is always when the characters make their own choices in what they do or say that even surprise me.

I’m no longer obsessed with getting it done. Instead, moving at my own pace while maintaining a do-able schedule for me which means writing 5 out of the 7 days of the week for at least two hours at a time. Flow is everything

Which takes me to a writing program, Scrivener,  I learned about through a fellow writing blogger. I’d heard about it before, even considered a novel-writing program, but never seriously looked into it. However, among the perks of being a NaNoWriMo winner are the deals you get. Scrivener.

Scriverner 5

I am a baby step kind of person. I’m pretty set in my ways. While I believe wholeheartedly in change, it’s still difficult for me. I always have that lingering thought… what if I regret it?… so I opted for the 30-day trial period before diving in. I’d had about half of my novel written, so I decided to play with the program, using my would-be novel as a guinea pig. Moving the files I’d already created over wasn’t difficult. And because I’d done such extensive brainstorming, character sketching, note taking, researching, outlining prior to November 1, it was really just a matter of organizing my notes into sub-pages. There’s actually a neat tutorial to work you through all of the features. I’m such a show me person, so using my kinesthetic skills to move around the program worked well for me. Two weeks into the trial, I took the plunge and bought the download.

One of the things I like most is the accessibility of which all of my notes and such are at my fingertips. No longer do I need to have 5 Word document screens shrunk to the bottom of the page at a time. With Scrivener, it’s all right there.

Scriverner 1

Another feature that works brilliantly is the notepad to the right of the screen. I am obsessive about writing notes along side my writing (formerly using a notepad to do so), but Scrivener allows me to have my notes visible in the corner of the screen. I note what I want to revise, where I want to go with a scene, what I have already revised, etc.: a good source for maintaining continuity.

Scriverner 3

Previously, in working on Microsoft Word, I’d have a file per chapter, so during the revision process I didn’t need to scroll through hundreds of pages. Then, I’d need to copy and paste each chapter into a final document. With the compile feature on Scrivener, I click a button, and the program compiles it all for you. The best part is you get to choose your own settings for the compiled draft.

Three other features that I’m making a good deal of use of are the character bio files and the research file, and the cork boards (for us visual types). Character Bio files are just that– they enable you to have a separate document for each character that you can refer to or add to with ease throughout the writing process. Likewise, the research feature allows you to capture a webpage and have it available with a click, so you don’t have to re-look-up the reference pages on the web you’d already found. The cork boards make it easy to see all of your note pages/chapters/characters/research sites on one screen.

Scriverner 4

So now I find myself with roughly a third left of the novel to write. I’m moving back and forth from editing mode to writing mode. I’m making goals for finishing the first draft of my novel and even tentative goals for having the final draft done– ready to put out there.

THANK YOU, Scriverner  logo


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