Today I tried to organize my unfinished NaNoWriMo novel into a writing program called Scrivener. I’ve heard that Scrivener is a great tool for keeping your writing project organized, and since my unfinished novel needs heavy editing (special thanks to all the Write Or Die word sprints) I thought I’d engage in a little productive procrastination and get my story sorted into chapters, scenes, and character and setting profiles.
One cool thing about Scrivener is that it lets you start out with a template for various purposes, such as a novel, short story, screenplay, etc. I used the novel template, which gave me spaces to fill in my chapters, scenes (within chapters), format a title page, and set up notes on various characters and settings. Because I’m new to this “writing a whole novel” thing, I think it’s helpful because this fantasy novel involves some worldbuilding and I was starting forget the names of the people and places in my imaginary world.
Since Scrivener is an experimental tool for me now, I’m encouraged that I don’t have to stick with it. The software seems to have plenty of ways to export the document to Microsoft Word, PDF, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML, and even ePub and Kindle. Another cool thing about it so far is that it seems to autosave for you while you work.
There are some problems, too, mostly with cost and compatibility. Scrivener is only available for Mac. The new Windows and Linux versions are bleeding edge and still out in public beta. You can download them for free, but you might not want to trust your masterpiece manuscript to some free beta tool. Although the Mac version hasn’t asked me for money yet, it costs $45. If it’s as helpful as I’ve heard, it’s worth $45, but I’m not quite sold enough to get out my credit card yet.
Anyway, I have been using Scrivener for novel writing for about an hour and a half. I think I will probably try this tool for Script Frenzy, especially since the built-in script format will relieve some of my worries about how to properly format my script. But if it suddenly stops working and holds my novel ransom for $45, I guess that’s the price I have to pay for experimenting.