In case you missed it, this is part two of a multi-part series about the writing program, Scrivener.

Last time, I went over setting up a new novel project from the Fiction section, and discussed the Binder. I also made some changes to the Binder.

This time I’m going to go over the word processor and the Inspector.

Word Processor

As noted in the previous post, the central window is your word processor. It works just like any other. The spellcheck and grammar leave something to be desired, but let’s be honest. Editing for publication will require your project be exported (“compiled”) to a Word document anyway. Scrivener is a tool to get the work done, not to prepare a book for publication.

The word processor is the large central box. If you put your cursor there, you can type just like any other program. It has almost all the bells and whistles that Open Office, Word, or Mariner Write has.

Here’s a neat trick, however, that gives a great new functionality that really isn’t easy to do with regular word processors!

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See that little button at the top, the one next to the arrows? When you click on it, you get this:

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Cool, huh? You can see two documents at the same time!

I’m not big on the automatic horizontal split screen, though. I prefer vertical. So, I’m going up to the View menu. From there I drop down to Layout, and choose Split Vertically.

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And there I have two screens, side by side. Both are adjustable, and I can highlight any document in my binder to either window. Take the example below — on the left is the first document in my manuscript and on the right is my first character sketch.

Inspector

Now lets take a look at the Inspector on the right side of the Scrivener screen.

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     * At the top is the Synopsis. It has a title (in this case “Untitled”) and room for information about the scene. Here’s where you plug in a one sentence description of the scene. (Trust me! This helps when you get to writing the synopsis for the publisher!)

     * Below that is a General tab. There are two drop-down menus — Label and Status. Ultimately, those both come in handy.

     * Additionally, you have the Document Notes section and a toolbar at the bottom.

 

 

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Focusing on the Label dropdown box, you can color code your scenes to correspond with whatever you’d like. (I create one for each main character, and some supporting characters.)

 

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And the Status comes into play when you’re slogging your way through a manuscript.

I don’t use this section often, but keep it up anyway. If I set a manuscript aside for weeks, it a handy reminder.

Then there’s the section for Document Notes. This really comes in handy when you need more information than just a single sentence in the Synopsis.

Here…Let me show you the Inspector for the opening scene of Beloved Lady Mistress.

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     * As you can see, Missing Person is the title of the scene. There’s a brief description in the Synopsis so I know what’s going on.

     * The Label is green and marked “Margaurethe.” All scenes that are from Margaurethe’s point-of-view are green, and this particular scene has been through multiple edits — it’s the final draft.

     * Finally, I have Document Notes to ensure I highlight certain things in that scene.

 

 

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As an added bonus, I’ve set up the text icons in the Binder to show the color different colors. This way I can see at a glance whether one character is being ignored in the overall scheme of the book.

 

 

I’m going to finish up this entry with a look at the Scrivener screen of my current work-in-progress, Lady Dragon, Book 4 of the Sanguire.

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Next time I’ll show you more of the outline and corkboard views, the available preferences, and I’ll begin entering data into our new novel.


What Do You Think?

Do you use Scrivener? Just starting? Do you use another super-cool writing tool? Comment below! Share your experience!