SCRIVENER is an incredibly functional, user-friendly long-form writing platform that makes organizing novels a cinch. These screens (they have captions, so click on them) are just a basic overview of how to use the program. A few more notes:

  • I use 2-3 Scene documents per chapter folder and write about 2,000 words a chapter (I write Young Adult.)
  • You can color code & set yourself word count goals. Tutorial here.
  • The Literature & Latte site provides a very nice 30 day trial for Scrivener (I recommend trying it out during NANOWRIMO because if you win, a discount for downloading the program is often included as a prize! It’s already pretty affordable but who doesn’t love coupons? Also, to extend your trial time you can just do what I did and never close it, it only ticks down the day by how many times you open and close it. But really, buy it.)
  • It saves everything in one neat and tidy project file (when you save it, it creates a folder wherever you name the file path. IE: MY DOCUMENTS –> (TITLE OF YOUR BOOK FOLDER): then there will be a file that simply says “PROJECT” and that’s it!
  • Option to compile in multiple formats.
  • Initially developed for Mac, has a Windows version now.
  • Has features to compare word counts from file to file, track the usage of key words/phrases, and built in character development templates. You can even insert pictures into your documents.

I will have an actual writing-based post tomorrow. This is what I use for writing novels and it’s made it so much easier.

20% off Scrivener with Coupon Code "Grak"

As I mentioned yesterday, Scrivener has graciously agreed to sponsor my “Things Grak Hates” book signing tour. And while this is wonderful news, it gets even better. They’ve also agreed to offer a 20% discount off the regular price of Scrivener for Fans Grak Loves. Just enter coupon code “GRAK” at the checkout screen to receive this discount. But hurry, because the offer ends March 31st, 2015.


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Writing Tools: Create Your Own Templates in Scrivener

Writing Tools: Create Your Own Templates in Scrivener


You use Scrivener don’t you? If you don’t — start today. Scrivener helps you to write. When I made the switch back to Macs from PCs way back in 2005 it was the best decision I ever made, because of apps like Scrivener. Scrivener’s now available on Windows too, so you have no excuse. :-)

Learning how to create your own custom…

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When I realized I could use Scrivener

not just for novel writing, but for a massive day job project. 


I’ve been using Scrivener for the past year or so for all my writing needs (college, creative writing, blog drafts, whatever) and I honestly do not know how I lived without it. This program is like the Holy Grail of organization and order and chaos and glory and honor and creativity and awesome for writers.

It is woven from the dreams of a writer’s soul.

Try it for free for 30 days. Then drink the dang Kool-Aid and buy it. You’ll never look back.

One of my favorite aspects of NaNoWriMo in my pre-Scrivener days was it’s ability to calculate how many words you needed to write a day to complete your NaNo goal. This was something I’d always calculated by hand before, so to find a program that did the math for me? Awesome.

You can imagine, then, my joy upon discovering that the very same auto-calculate feature is on Scrivener for Mac. Except it’s a tad bit better, because you can customize it to your needs.

Unfortunately this feature, as of this writing, is still a Mac-only feature. But my hope is this will someday change and I’d guess that when it does, the process will be pretty similar. So.

For my Mac friends with Scrivener! Here’s how to set up your very own writing goal within the program:

  1. Go to Project Show Project Targets.

  2. Select the word goal (highlighted in blue) and type in your word count goal for your manuscript.

  3. Go to“Options…
  4. Select your deadline.

  5. Check “Automatically calculate from draft deadline.” 
  6. If you won’t be writing every day of the week, choose what days of the week you plan to write on.
  7. If you want to write on the day of your deadline, make sure that’s checked off. 
  8. Click OK.

And that’s it! Now every time you write, you can check how many words you need to keep to your goal by looking at “Show Project Targets” (which is under the Project menu, in case you forgot). And at midnight, it recalculates every day (assuming you did step 5) to keep you on target.

I especially love the auto-calculation, because when you miss a day, it adjusts for you so you can easily see what you need to do to make it up over time. And on the other side, when you write more than you need to, it’s pretty gratifying to see the number of words you need to meet your goal slowly decrease over time. :)

Do you use this feature on Scrivener? daily promotion. Get Scrivener for $22.50





  • for organizing thoughts
  • brainstorming
  • writing dissertations
  • exporting to multiple types of formats
  • storing and retrieving writing
  • writing small chunks
  • reaching writing goals
  • character development and world creation
  • keeping everything in one place

i can’t emphasize this enough: SCRIVENER IS A LIFE SAVER FOR WRITERS



I bought Scrivener years ago in grad school. I’ve used it on and off since then, but never really felt like I was using it to its full potential.

Since WIP is becoming unwieldy and I have no desire to be a hypocrite, I took to youtube for some guidance. I found this video and thought, “Why not?” I poured myself a glass of wine and curled up in bed.

In the first 27 minutes, there were multiple lightbulb moments. I had been using Scrivener all fucking wrong and making my life harder than it needed to be (figures). So, I paused the video and began re-organizing my WIP. I’m still 27 minutes in, but now, organization reigns.

anonymous asked:

I have a question about writing a draft through as opposed to writing it in unordered pieces and putting it together later. Which method do you prefer? I find that I have several scenes for the novel I wish to write sitting clear in my head, whereas I am struggling to get the beginning going. Should I write the scenes that are coming to me first and go back and write the rest later or should I attempt to write the story straight through? Any tips for keeping organized if I choose the former?

I write in chunks and pull it all together later… mostly.

Very occasionally I come up against a piece of writing (or it comes up against me; sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which…) that for structural or other reasons requires me to write it linearly. When this happens, I roll with it. Nothing much else I can do, since in my experience when I try to change a linear project to a nonlinearly-structured one, or vice versa, this is a recipe for trouble.

That said: I’ve been exactly where you are. Many times. The middle of a book arrives first, or chunks of the middle of it. Or the beginning and the end but no middle. (The beginning of The Door into Starlight arrived in 1986. The end of TDIS arrived in 1982. Still working on the middle.)

My advice to you is to write what you’ve got now, because you might not have it later. …Seriously. There is nothing more piteous, or pitiable, than a writer who has through laziness or overconfidence left some piece of character business or plot action lying around the back of their mind because “it’ll keep” or “it’s so obvious” and then has come back to it later only to find that the execution is a sad shadow of what it would have been  previously when the concept was new and fresh. Or worse, when you’ve completely forgotten what you intended to do, and you find yourself staring at what was a lively space in your mind — practically vibrating because it was so crammed full of business — that’s now gone flat and dull because you got complacent about it.

So write what you’ve got now, slot it into a likely spot in a master document, tag it in some way so that you can find it again, and then work on filling in material around it as inclination or inspiration or your normal writing schedule move you to. Really, really useful for this kind of writing is Scrivener. I bless the day Charlie Stross put me onto it: it has saved my sanity more than once. Scrivener is built for handling fiction (and much other writing) in small manageable chunks that you can move around, and comes equipped with endless ways to keep track of what you’re doing.

Look at this, for example: this is a screenshot of the file that has the YW 30 Day OTP material in it.

Green labels in the binder are a signal to me that the material in there is complete: red labels mean there’s little or nothing in there: yellow means there’s a significant chunk of material there but there’s still stuff to do yet. (For more involved projects I have extra color signals to mean almost-finished, first draft, second-draft-needs-polished, etc etc. It’s all endlessly customizable.) More to the point, though, when you’re working in Scrivener you don’t have to stuff everything into a single Word or other word processing file and then go hunting around for one particular piece of business by desperate means like trying to remember a line of dialogue or the way you described something and then searching for that text string. Instead you can find things instantly, because as you see, particular subsections can be clearly labeled. You can turn smaller documents into folders and have even smaller chunks of business stacked up inside them, layers deep: as many layers as you need.

…I could go on about the virtues of Scrivener until people start assuming I’m taking money from them (which I’m not, I’m just really enthusiastic about it), but seriously, this is the first WP program that was built with actual writers in mind, and it shows, all over it; and it’s also one of the most affordable ones. (Also they’re doing a pre-NaNoWriMo deal again this year. Use it free for November and then get a 50% discount by showing them your “I finished my novel” certificate. Even if you don’t finish you can still get 20% off. So a good deal all round.)

Anyway, hope this helps. :)

Alternatives to MyNovel

asked: Due to the fact that MyNovel has stopped working for me for some inexplicable reason, I was wondering if you knew of any good computer programs for writing, free or for a price. Thanks in advance!

Have you checked out Scrivener? It’s pretty much the standard, and everyone seems to love it. Definitely worth a look.

If not Scrivener, how about:

All of these have organizational tools and a space in which to write.

If none of those strike your fancy, check out this list of alternatives to Scrivener.

Good luck with your search and thank you for your question!


Editing Tip: LISTEN UP.


Re-reading the same text again and again can be mentally exhausting to the point that your brain doesn’t immediately register out-of-place (or absent) words and punctuation.

I find it is extremely helpful to utilize the text-to-speech function most PCs are capable of these days.

I’m on a Mac, myself, and with a few clicks of my mouse, I can actually add my work to my iTunes as spoken tracks.

You can do this two ways (probably more, but here are the easiest):

I’ve been writing in Scrivener, which is a fantastic program I cannot rec enough. Try it out. 

Simply highlight the text you would like recorded (I opted to record each chapter individually), right click, and choose the Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track option.


Choose the voice you would like to speak the words (I went with Alex as his “American” pronunciation is appropriate for the text, but if you are on Lion or higher, you can download extra voices under System Preference > Dictation & Speech by clicking on the available System Voices and selecting “Customize”).

Give it a minute or two depending on how long your piece is in terms of word length, and the files will show up in iTunes.

You can customize the files if you want to feel extra legit as a writer.

Now you simply read your work while listening to the spoken track.

Any minor mistakes (especially issues like missing determiners that are easily missed during a general read-through) will be immediately evident. It is also good to hear the words spoken aloud by “someone else” to reveal fumble-y grammar and awkward sentence structures. 

This is particularly useful once you’re on your final draft and looking to be especially thorough. 


Another way to do this on a Mac (if you don’t use Scrivener) is to:

  1. save your file as a .PDF,
  2. open it in Preview,
  3. highlight all text,
  4. right click and follow the same steps as above. :) 

Now, this method isn’t perfect as the voices are robotic in quality and the pronunciations can be bizarre (“No.” is read as “Number,” for instance because the system reads it as the abbreviation rather than as a statement.) But if you are working on a long piece, TTS is far easier than reading it aloud to yourself. 

Windows users can use Audacity or Verbose to achieve the same result, but I’m not sure if the new system allows you to save TTS as audio files in the same way you can on a Mac without the outside software. I would assume you can somehow, but I’m definitely not the person to ask as I haven’t used Windows in years. Oops. 

I just bought Scrivener!

I found a $50 iTunes giftcard in one of my purses that I apparently never used, so, what a better way to spend it than to buy Scrivener? I’ve been waiting for SO LONG!

I’m so excited! Just had to share :)


jessealexia asked:

I would just like to profusely thank you for inspiring me to get Scrivener. This thing is amazing, and so cool, and I'm not even done with the tutorial and I'm already in love. This is going to be so useful when I start my second novel! Do you have any advice/tips for using Scrivener, beyond the basics?

Oh God! I’m still a relative newbie with Scrivener: the program is so damn powerful. And my workload has been such the last year or so that I’ve had little time to do more than stumble around in it, and then strike out to find answers when something’s acting up.

When I bring up Google, though, I can see that these are Scrivener help-or-advice sites that I’ve visited more than once:

A great deal of useful Q&A, ranging from the simple to the extremely technical, goes on at the Writer Beta forum at StackExchange.

See also the entries here at WriteHacked. (They’re OSX oriented, but much of the advice will still be useful for Scrivener users running under Windows.)

Gwen Hernandez is a romance / suspense writer who’s also responsible for Scrivener for Dummies: her website’s blog has a lot of useful free Scrivener tips in it.

Gene Lempp has some tips: look at this one for dealing with chapter headings. (As you’d expect, there’s a lot of attention out there on how to get Scrivener to play nicely with the software needed to generate nice-looking .mobi files for Amazon.)

Also, there is a Google+ Scrivener users community.

And finally, Charlie Stross (to whom I am eternally indebted to getting the thing onto my radar in the first place) has some thoughts about using Scrivener here

Hope this helps. (I really should compile a more complete list of helpful Scrivener links one of these days. Adding to the to-do list…)

Some Links for and about Scrivener

Anonymous asked: Hi, I was reading what you just posted and was wondering about Scrivener? Do you have to pay for it, and can you get it on Windows? If you know, this would be very helpful :)

Here is the website from Literature and Latte where you can find Scrivener. Here is the free 30-day Scrivener Trial, available for both Mac and Windows.

Here are some articles reviews Scrivener:

Here is a Wordpress blog called EverythingScrivener that’s pretty much dedicated to Scrivener. Not sure how active it is, but there’s some pretty great advice in there.

Here are some Tumblr articles with tips featuring Scrivener:

If you’re not sold, check out the Scrivener tag on Tumblr.

Thank you for your question, and I hope that helped!


Got another link for us? Submit it!

I just fell more in love with Scrivener, the writing program I bought last year with my NaNo coupon. You can include a word count GOAL, as seen by the bottom of my screen with the tally of how many words I have and the green progress bar. Omigosh I love this to DEATH. I highly recommend it. I also love the ability to sanction off chapters and then have them all in one “main” portion where you can see the entire document or just chapter by chapter. It makes things feel crisper, neater, and gives me the happy! Gah. 

I rewrote SoF Book 1 and 2 with this baby, and it made the editing process a lot easier than I thought it’d be. 

I love it so.