I am currently writing my first novel. As exciting as that is, there is a lot of work that goes into it. One has to write character profiles; research places, history, and trends; plan settings; and deal with formatting the novel itself. The work at times can be daunting, especially if one is unorganized. I tried to do writing between my current word processing program and a notebook. However, it was difficult switching between numerous documents and shifting though various papers. I knew that there had to be an easier way, and there is! A program called Scrivener. This program does everything except write the novel itself!
Scrivener uses what it calls a “binder” to keep all of ones work in it. Below are some of the “tabs” found inside this binder.
The manuscript is the document one is writing. The manuscript can be broken down into various parts, sections, or chapters. For example, I currently have mine novel broken down by chapters, but I am able to further break it down into various scenes. I am able to write my chapter in various “chunks” and no longer have to worry about page breaks or section breaks. However, one can write his or her novel in regular chapter format if one wishes to.
There is a great feature within Scrivener that looks like a cork board. It is similar to a “story board” and it has various notecards on it. On each note card, one is able to write a synopsis about each chapter, section, or scene and visually see how the story flows. This makes it very easy to not only write the novel, but to visualize it.
There is a section where one can create the character profiles for each character in ones novel. No matter how big or small their part is. This is great, as it can help the character to come alive easier. There is even a feature to add a picture if one so desires. Since this too is located inside the binder, it is easily accessible to check the character for congruency when writing. It is also easy to add or change any information as needed.
Places and Settings
There is places tab and a settings tab that is similar to the character tab. These sections of the binder provides a template to write down the places or settings where the story is taking place. Any research one does on a place or setting can be easily accessed when writing. By breaking it down by place and then by setting, it makes it easier to be more descriptive when describing the scene within ones work. Pictures of places or settings can too be stored if desired.
There is a section for research which is great. One can do as much or as little research as needed for their novel. Any research ones does for their project is easily accessible without switching from program to program, or without fumbling through various papers. The information through the research tab is readily available for footnotes and/or a bibliography when needed which helps to save time and effort.
Front Matter and Formats
There is a tab in the binder called Front Matter. This section is broken down into three sections: Manuscript Format; Paperback Novel; and E-book. This area allows one to add important things such as title page information, dedications, ISBN’s, copyright information, or a cover for the E-book.
One can format ones novel in either manuscript form, paperback novel form, or E-book form. There are many options as well for sending the completed project in various file formats. The manuscript format for example, when completed, is ready to be printed and sent to ones literary agent and/or publisher.
I highly recommend the program Scrivener for any writer or those who do a lot of research based papers, as this program not only creates manuscripts, it provides option to write: fiction; non-fiction; scriptwriting; poetry and lyrics; persuasive lectures; as well a “blank” option where one can create his or her own work. The options are endless with this program, and in my opinion and must have for any writer.