How I Scrivener

I wrote a post about Scrivener a few years ago, but as I am working in Scrivener now, there are couple new tools I am using a LOT, so I want to share them with you!

First off, if you don’t kow what Scrivener is, it is a writing program that is perfect for all kinds of storytellers! I use it primarily for writing novels, but I also use it for formatting and editing the musicals I write with my husband (which we write together in GoogleDocs first and then I transfer to Scrivener).

It is basically a binder for everything and anything related to your novel! You can have links, pictures, folders and subfolders for worldbuilding and characters, and, of course, your manuscript! It has great options for editing, formatting, and exporting your manuscript, and it also allows you to import templates from writer resources (such as my favorite outline by K. M. Weiland).

In my previous post, I shared about the binder and notecards, meta-data, status labels, keywords, and full-screen mode.

Today I’m going to talk about my new favorite tools: split screen, project targets, and the dictionary shortcut.

Split Screen in action, featuring snippets from my current WIP.

Split Screen Mode is entered by clicking the little square on the upper right hand of the currently opened file. Then, you can select either the left or right screen and open a different scene or file from the binder to view it.

In my current WIP, my main character, Roxana, can read minds, and she will often recall things that other people have thought or said. Split screen mode is so helpful for accurately recalling words and moments with ease. It also helps a lot with continuity when I am checking how I described a setting or someone’s appearance without having to scroll all around in a document or even click between scenes. I can see them both at the same time.

My current project almost always has two scenes open at one time as I reference between them, and it has been invaluable for this story especially.

Project Targets is found under “Project” on the toolbar.

Another tool that I can discover and has been a great encouragement as been the Project Tracker, which I use to track my word count, both overall and each day. You can change your target number of words by clicking the second number and changing it. It will save your overall manuscript progress even if you close the window (which can be moved around) but your session target will automatically reset each day.

One thing you have to do to use this tool effectively is to make sure only your manuscript scenes are “included in the compile”, as this is what Scrivener uses to calcuate your total written words. You can change whether or not a scene (file) is included in your manuscript by going to the middle tab (General Meta-Data) in the Inspector window.

I didn’t want to use “fraternize” twice, so I looked up some synonyms!

The final tool I have been using a lot is the Dictionary/Thesaurus shortcut! When you write click on a word, go to “Writing Tools” and you can look up the word in the Dictionary and Thesaurus right from Scrivener! This has become such a great trick when I’m in the writing zone and need a different word, because I don’t have to pull up a internet browser and go to the thesaurus website or Google and now I’m distracted! This shortcut keeps me engaged with my story and finding that new word quickly by cutting out the middle man, so to speak.

You can also open the word in Google or Wikipedia too if you are looking for more information on something, which has also been a fun little way to research.

Planning Ahead…

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I thought I would give you a quick post on what is happening next in my world of writing!

As far as THE BLESSED goes, I might have written nearly 70k this month for it, but there is still plenty of writing left to be had. I’m almost finished up with Act 2 (just the major, life-changing events to happen there) and then it’s onto Act 3 with the rise of conflict and the resolution!

Then, I’ll have two books in need of editing! Millie is getting through THE VARKEN with editing, and I am excited to dive back into that story and those characters and start really grinding into it to get it ready for publishing in April. My amazing cousin Amy has agreed to do the cover for the novel, and I’m excited to see what she comes up with (she painted the cover for THE KEEPER as well).

I’m excited to have so many new tools at my fingertips this time around with publishing. Along with Scrivener, to make the editing process easier, I’m also looking forward to investing in my formatting a little further. In THE KEEPER, the formatting was very bare-bones and simple, and I’m hoping to learn more about font choice, margins, that sort of thing, this time around. I even have a new website book-marked to aid me in my quest at and Both have lots of great tutorials and ideas here, and a great one to keep on hand for when you reach this point of your process.

While all of this editing is happening, I’ll continue working on world building and character development for the Book Book by writing short stories. I’m so excited by the mundane things I’ve created for this world that I need to get it out of my system! When the Book Book starts, I don’t want to drag on with showing everyone’s daily routines. While that’s interesting, I’ll want to focus more on the plot and characters, and let the world build around you as you read.

Our musical Scarlet is almost through with its round of workshops and will be moving into a whole new planning phase soon. Although timing is still a secret, I’m excited to announce that it will be performed in the 2016-2017 season at our local theatre and I’ll be directing, which will be a huge learning curve for me but I’m looking forward to the stretching and growing.

And lastly, our second musical, Fractured, is well under way! I’ve been working on a blog post about writing musicals, but it keeps staying in that ‘drafting’ stage. As for now, we only have 2 more songs left to write (which will total around 20 songs) and a few scenes left to draft up in the book. It is still very much in the early stages of the writing, with lots of editing and smoothing out needed, but I’m looking forward to polishing it up!

So that’s what’s on the horizon in Erin’s writing world.

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, what’s on your writing schedule?