Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Scrivener is in fact as awesome as everybody says

Posted by: Angela Korra'ti
Let me say this straight up: I'm very grateful for the Kickstarter I was able to run in 2012, for the contract with my trilogy with Carina Press, and for having a technically challenging and rewarding day job.

But I'm here to tell y'all, all of these things converging together on me over the last few years, particularly in conjunction with assorted medical challenges, has meant that my ability to produce words has been a lot less, well, productive than I would like. My mental well has been pretty dry since the release of Victory of the Hawk this past April. I've released two short stories since then, "The Blood of the Land" and "The Disenchanting of Princess Cerridwen", sure. But these were also both previously existing works, and not brand new material.

What's kept me from working? Creative weariness, pretty much. Some of that's coming off the urgency of getting that last Rebels of Adalonia book off into the world. Some of it's also how having a day job like mine often means that I come home from work in the evenings too mentally worn out to be able to also produce however many hundreds of words I need to write.

Still, though, I'm a writer. I want to write. And part of me has been a little frustrated at myself for not actually continuing to write through this year's summer and fall. That part of me has also finally gotten loud enough that I'm looking for new ways to do something about that.

My current plan: I've finally bought Scrivener. I know a lot of writers who swear by this program, and so far I have to say, I'm deeply impressed. I really like having access to individual scene files as well as my notes on its sidebar, and the corkboard and outline views seem like they're going to be supremely useful in some upcoming project planning I need to do.

Plus, I simply like having a new environment to use to write in, something that doesn't look like Word. Yet at the same time, I'm looking forward to playing with Scrivener's ability to compile projects, into Word docs for anything I need to send out manuscripts for, into PDFs for archivable copies, and into EPUB for forthcoming ebooks I'll want to ship.

There's a dialog box to show you your project targets, too, both for the project as a whole and for your daily sessions. I've set mine for the latter to 500, since 500 words a day is what I want to achieve when I'm on top of my game. Having that progress meter right there in front of me, alongside the words I'm working on, has been amazingly motivating the last few days!

With my aforementioned day job hat on, I also need to give props to the tutorial that comes with the program. It's amazingly well written, and I found it very clear and informative as I worked my way through it and got an overview of the program and what it's capable of.

As to what I'm actually writing in Scrivener--I've got a post up today on my own site about that! C'mon over and check that out, especially if you've read the Free Court of Seattle books, because I'm pleased to announce there are more stories on the way in that universe. Give it up for Scrivener, everybody, for helping me wake those stories up again!

How about the rest of you out there? Are you using Scrivener, and if so, what do you like about it? And what other tools do you find helpful to keep your writing on track?

Angela is the author of the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series as Angela Korra'ti, and of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series as Angela Highland. You can find her at, or on Facebook or Twitter. Come say hi!

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