I have no problem with writing in Word. In fact, I’m doing it now.

Yes, I’m sure there are more efficient ways to go about things but I’m okay with Word. I also like Word for writing first drafts of novels. But it’s been a pretty annoying tool to rewrite with.

Before I start the initial draft I use cue cards and outlines to get an overview of the planned structure, and I lose this during the first draft. I just write. I don’t want to worry about numbering scenes or whether a chapter break should go here or there. That’s what the rewrite is for.

The thing is, I don’t have an easy way to skip from scene to scene. I might be reading scene 21, when it strikes me that a conversation in the scene would be better taking place in scene nine. In Word (at least the way I use Word) this would involve me scrolling through the document, making changes here and there, maybe getting distracted by another scene along the way.

Hello Scrivener….

I kept hearing great things about Scrivener.

If you’ve not had the pleasure, Scrivener is word processing /information management software that was designed to make a writer’s life easier.

Last week I coughed up almost £30 for a Windows licence and it’s taken me four hours to fall in love with it. That’s right, I’m in love with a computer program, what of it?

What makes Scrivener so awesome?

I’m moving the draft of my novel over to Scrivener in bits (although I could just import) and I can already see the benefits that Scrivener brings to rewriting.

Structure

It lets me organise the draft into scenes and chapters. I’ve already noticed some issues with what will be chapter nine. This chapter is the next to be redrafted, and the opening scene is a bit of a mess. As part of the Word document, it doesn’t seem that bad, but by itself its weakness is quite clear.

It’s easy to rearrange scenes, or move them between chapters – you just drag and drop them into the appropriate location.

Scene distribution

I’m naming the scenes by view point character. This is helping me keep track of how many scenes each character has.

Note taking

Questions often pop into my head when I’m reading through a scene. Before Scrivener I’d jot something down on a post-it note and add it to the pile.

Scrivener has a sidebar for note taking that you can keep open while working on the main document.

Importing/Exporting

For me, exporting will be the important bit. I’ll be exporting to back up regularly.

There’s so much that makes this software a brilliant tool for writers. For me, the main selling point is the ability to organise and format the manuscript.

I think I’ll keep using Word for draft zero, but I can tell that Scrivener is going to be a vital part of my writing process from now on.

You can get a free trial of Scrivener over at the Literature and Latte site. There’s also a very useful Twitter account.