Scrivener was the very first program I purchased after I bought my MacBook in May 2008. It seemed intuitive and easy to use. I watched their video tutorial and worked through the tutorial that’s actually IN the program.
I do remember noticing that there was a lot of stuff ‘over my head’ but I buckled down to plan and write a novel in the program. I started with a blank template and created the divisions the way that made sense to me at the time. I’ve used the program for a couple of other novels and a variety of other types of projects since the spring of ’08.
Not sure exactly what Scrivener is? In their words:
Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.
And I got it. I totally got it. I made it to the end of those awkward first drafts. (Why do first drafts continue to be awkward? Perhaps that’s a topic for another post.) Then I’d compile the whole works and kick it out to Word for formatting and subsequent drafts.
As time went on, I heard a few friends comment how they’d bought the program but didn’t quite know what to do with it, that it seemed too much hassle to learn how to use it. Seemed strange to me. I’m no techie. I figure that if I can learn to use it, anyone can.
And so I’ve brought folks into chat and taught them the basics of how to set up their folders and files. I’ve watched (from afar) their eyes light up as the beauty of the program has clicked with them. That moment where they say, “So THIS is why everyone raves about Scrivener!”
Ahhh. What a life.
And yeah, I remembered that there was more to the program than what I used, but I had enough figured out to be completely sold. Enough to keep my research and characters and settings straight. Enough to write the darn novels. Honestly, I thought I was using the program to about half capacity.
I was what they call W-R-O-N-G.
I follow Scrivener in Twitter and I’m a fan of theirs on Facebook. Through these I discovered a class being taught via Yahoo Groups by Gwen Hernandez. It was only $25 for a one month class for non RWA members, with classes delivered to my inbox Monday through Friday.
I kind of figured I could sleep through the first week or two before I began learning new stuff.
I was what they call even more W-R-O-N-G.
By the third class (that would be Wednesday of week one), Gwen was kicking my butt and by the middle of the second week, my brain was officially on overload. I’ve learned all about keywords and statuses and pov meta-data and collections and creating synopses and comment mode and making my own templates and project targets and snapshots and and and…
My head is spinning. I will not retain it all. I won’t even retain half of it. (Thankfully I have all the class notes to refer back to.) Turns out I knew almost nothing about using Scrivener.
The beauty? Is that you don’t HAVE to know this stuff to be comfortable with the program and to write novels in it. I didn’t feel deprived before taking Gwen’s class. I loved the program just as much a month ago as I do now.
And so, if you’re new to Scrivener or been working at it for awhile, as in my case, I suggest you look into taking one of Gwen’s classes. Looks like she’ll be teaching this one again in March 2012. And meanwhile, read through some of her blog posts on the page I just sent you to. You’ll pick up lots of tidbits right there.
Excuse me while I toboggan down this iceberg they call Scrivener and take a closer look at the 90% of the program that’s below sea level.