Looking for writing software that is both flexible and powerful?
One question I see often is what software do you use to write? I’ve used several software packages, but the one that I swear by is Scrivener from Literature & Latte.
Here’s the scoop:
Scrivener is available on both Windows PC’s and Mac… additionally, you can now get a version of Scrivener for your Apple iOS mobile devices and your projects can sync – a super nice feature if you also like to write on the go without a laptop.
Personally, I don’t use the mobile version… I always have my laptop, and the times when I don’t, I use a voice recorder app on my phone. Just a personal preference, I can’t imagine typing out my manuscript work on a mobile device without a real keyboard.
Some of the features I like best about Scrivener:
Corkboard and Easy Rearranging of Scenes / Chapters
Yep – no more having your entire manuscript in one word processor file, or worse, saving one chapter per file and having a folder filled with separate documents!
Everything you need for your writing project (including research – see below) is right there inside your Scrivener project.
If I decide I want chapter nine to suddenly become chapter one… I drag it to the number one spot, and voilà… done.
Pro tip: On your chapter pages, take advantage of the “snapshot” feature, which allows you to take a snapshot of the chapter before you make substantial edits and rewrites. Bonus: you can take multiple snapshots!
Character Sheets & Location Sheets
Oh sweet baby cheez-its… I simply could not write a manuscript without this feature now. I am completely and utterly spoiled!
I write in multiple genres, but my main genre is fantasy. My fantasy series generally have a metric ton of characters, of which a good number of them are named and have an actual reason for being there. That being the case, once you get past a certain number of characters, it is imperative to have an efficient way to keep track of all their details.
Cue stage right… Scrivener to the rescue!
Like the manuscript, the character sheets are also viewable in a corkboard layout, or a list, or on a sheet-by-sheet basis, of course.
You can modify the template to fit your own needs, but the basic one that comes with the fiction project template is a good place to start. (I share mine in the Author Mojo Academy course)
This same thing works for setting / place sheets. And for my current fantasy series, I even created additional templates to track all the details of my various races, and even the professions and magic classes.
Truly, it is a brilliant feature, and by itself worth the price of admission.
Pro tip: you can put stock photo pictures on your character sheets to help you really connect with each of your characters on a deeper level
Do you have a fair bit of research for your book? Nonfiction or fiction alike. I have a lot of research on medieval leather crafting tools and methods, detailed information on archery, metalworking, and all sorts of things!
There is an entire section where you can store your research — right inside your Scrivener project. No more needing to worry about saving bookmarked websites – trying to figure out where you saved that bookmark to… or in my case, having to search through hundreds of bookmarks just to find the one you’re looking for.
You can “import” the webpage you are using for your research right into the project so it is handy and easily accessible from within your project while you’re working.
Pro tip: If you like to use any type of outlining method for your manuscript — I use a modified Snowflake Method myself — create your outline in the research section. That way it is easily accessible anytime you need to refer to it.
Cons to Scrivener
There are cons to every piece of software, I worked in the tech sector for over two decades before jumping headlong into my writing career, and that is true for any software category. So, here are the cons I found for Scrivener.
I almost don’t consider this a con because the price is so ridiculously low for all of the power that this software brings to the table. But, many new authors are on a modest, or in my case when I started, miniscule budget. As of this writing, the Scrivener software was priced at $45. And in all the years I’ve been using it, that price hasn’t changed. (and it includes updates).
Now, this is the one con that can throw many users off Scrivener. But, if you are serious about your writing, I urge you to take the time to work through the learning curve, it truly is worth it!
That being said, there is definitely a learning curve when you first fire up the software and want to start writing.
I would strongly recommend looking into a course such as Learn Scrivener Fast from Joseph Michael. He’s the one who taught me about Scrivener, it’s a great course that will get you up and running fast.
In short, Scrivener is an amazing deal for any serious writer, whether you are writing fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, or anything else you would put pen to paper for. I highly recommend it, and if you are concerned about the learning curve, definitely check out the Learning Scrivener Fast course too.