Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thursday Review—Scrivener for Windows Part Two

by Lynn Huggins Blackburn

Last month we explored a few features of Scrivener for Windows that are particularly useful during the draft process, check out Part One of this review here.

This month, we’re going to scratch the surface—barely—of the Scrivener features I’ve come to love during the revision process. It should be noted here that I’m not a huge fan of revisions.
OK. Truthfully, I hate them. Even having a ready-made excuse to eat tons of chocolate isn’t enough to help me enjoy the process. But after a few weeks of revisions, I’m certain Scrivener is going to make this editing adventure go more smoothly than my last.

Here's a quick rundown of a few of my favorite Scrivener features:
First, let’s talk outlines. I’m not a big outliner, but after the draft is finished, having a quick visual of each scene makes it much easier to decide which scenes need to go, which need to stay and which can stay but need to be moved. In Scrivener, you can create “index cards” for each scene and then view them on the Corkboard.
I know some people use this method with actual index cards and their floor or a handy wall and that’s a lovely idea. Except for one thing…I have small children. One of whom thinks all forms of paper (bills, manuscripts, legal documents) have been provided for her own artistic endeavors. Scrivener allows me to have the visual diagram of my manuscript I crave without the added features of random crayon scribblings.

Second is the fabulous Snapshot. If you’re like me, the idea of cutting a huge chunk of your draft makes your eyelids twitch. But in Scrivener, you can take a snapshot of your original work and if you spend a few weeks tweaking a chapter, only to have your critique group tell you the original was better, no worries! It’s saved and is easily accessible.

Third, the Split Screen. There are so many ways you can use this—to keep a research file open as you edit a scene, or to keep a picture in view as you describe a setting. Or say you want to experiment and rewrite a scene from a different POV, you can keep the original open on the top to refer to as you rewrite the scene underneath.

If you enjoy revisions, you’re probably drooling by now. If not, I’m not prepared to say that using Scrivener will make revisions pleasant.

But, easier? Absolutely.

Less tedious? Certainly.

Possibly require less chocolate?

Nah. I can’t go that far!

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. On her blog Out of the Boat she writes about faith and family while her blog Perpetual Motion documents the joys and challenges of loving and rearing a child with special needs. A graduate of Clemson University, Lynn lives in South Carolina where she writes, reads, knits, takes care of two amazing children, one fabulous man and one spoiled rotten Boston Terrier.


  1. Thank you for writing about Scrivener. I'm very glad to know about this tool.

  2. I just found out about Scrivener yesterday! And I am floored by the features and how intuitive those features are to figure out.

    I am one of those people who've always used index cards and although I don't have small children having a cork-board at my desk doesn't do me much good when I'm on the go with my laptop.

    That feature alone would make it worth it, but all the other ways to organize notes, the built in name generator are also very handy.

    And those are just the features I've figured out so far.