On Scrivenering

Home for a few days last week with a sick kid who spent entire mornings sleeping, I entertained myself by downloading Scrivener, and transferring a half-finished project into the program.

After three days, I’m hardly an expert. But here are a few early findings:

1. The exercise of breaking all my work into individual scenes, then summarizing those scenes and their purposes, was enlightening, to say the least. All sorts of problems were immediately obvious — the chapter with six mini-scenes, for example, or the scene in which my main character does nothing other than watch other people argue.

2. I love the cork board, which shows all the scene summaries in order, at a glance. So much better than scrolling back and forth through a manuscript, wondering what happens first.

3. There’s a composition mode that blocks the rest of my desktop and its email notifications and tempting twitter feed. I never thought I’d like that, but I did. I really, really did.

4. I can’t Scrivener back and forth between desktop and laptop, which is highly annoying. I can export, then work in text files on my non-dominant computer, then reimport those text files, but seriously? Who would want to do that? To me, so far, this the biggest argument against the program. Scrivener, I need you to get cozy with Dropbox.

There they are, my initial thoughts. I’ll give you an update as I continue. Assuming, of course, that this didn’t turn out to be just one giant procrastination technique.