Can a Writing Tool Really Help Your Story - This One Can! | The Armchair Genealogist
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Can a Writing Tool Really Help Your Story - This One Can!

I’m always on the lookout for a new writing tool, something to keep me organized and on target. Perhaps I’m secretly looking for a wonderful invention that will take away all the pains of actually sitting down and accomplishing the task. Of course, I learned that long ago there is no magic wand.

I’ve tried a number of programs in the past and I always end up in the same place with a software program that complicates the entire writing process and creates more work and requires me to study a long dry manual to get started.  

Enter Scrivener.....I wasn’t using this program long before I was soon singing its praises. Simply because there is no huge learning curve, you can be up and using Scrivener in a matter of minutes.

Regardless of whether you are writing your family history book, a fictional novel, a how to book, a magazine article or series of blog posts, Scrivener can organize your projects into efficient and organized binders. Scrivener is a flexible and easy-to-use tool regardless of what you’re writing. 

Scrivener is a word processor that works like a project management tool. Its premise is a simple binder, that stores everything you need for a project, the manuscript, plus all your research including PDF files, pictures, notes and ideas, pretty much everything you can think of.  

Scrivener was initially created for Mac users and has been very successful with great reviews by these users, only recently have they offered a free beta version for Windows.  It is available for download here. This is how I became familiar with Scrivener.

Scrivener is a grand slam for a few reasons.

First, it allows you break a large writing project into small and manageable chunks. It really helps you move past the mindset that this project is too big and overwhelming.  When you’re ready to produce the finished document, it brings all those chunks together into a single document.

Whether you prefer to work with outlines, or index cards, Scrivener gives you options.  I am no longer restricted to the method of the program; I tell the program which method I prefer.

I personally love the corkboard. I am not a linear writer. I often rearrange. If you’re like me, with the corkboard, you can place your story contents on 3x5 cards. You can easily move your content around, even entire chapters. This aids in arranging timelines, scenes, and locations, very valuable in sorting out a family history story.  

You can also simply restructure your draft with drag and drop.

I love that I can type my manuscript while splitting the screen with my research. As I make notes, or come across web pages, PDF files, pictures and even audio/video files, I can imported them into Scrivener as part of that project’s file.  I can import much of my family history research alongside my manuscript for easy viewing. Later when I compile my manuscript, these items are not included. Scrivener supports importing documents in RTF, HTML, TXT, PDF, web archive, bmp, gif, ico, jpg, aif, and other formats.
There are so many features to Scrivener I can’t begin to list them all here. However, no worries, Scrivener is not meant to overwhelm you. Learn as you go. The manual is easy to read.

If you really want to make the most of Scrivener, then I suggest buying an e-book for only $5.99 called Writing a Novel with Scrivener. Author David Hewson offers a personal guide on how he used Scrivener to create a novel, 5 novels to be exact.  Again, an easy read, David really focuses in on the features he uses the most and gives you some insight into how he uses them to create his novels.

 This is not a manual but a how to write a novel with Scrivener. He takes users through the basic processes of structuring a full-length novel, writing and developing the story, then delivering either it as a manuscript for an agent or publisher or as an ebook direct to Kindle or iBook.

Keep in mind he wrote this for Mac users but the few differences at this point do not obstruct the merit of this book for Window users. 

 As I have only tried the Windows version, I can only speculate that the Mac version has a few added bells and whistles. Scrivener for Windows will run on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.  

All I can say is sign me up. I can't wait to hand over my money for this program. When Scrivener for Windows goes on sale, it will cost $40.00 for the regular licence and $35.00 for the education licence. Remember if you wish to give it try the Windows version, you can download the free Beta version here. For Mac users click here. 

Rarely do I endorse a program so whole-heartedly but Scrivener is a winner.What I love most about Scrivener while it won’t do the writing for you, it also won’t get in your way either! search is over the perfect writing tool has arrived. 

Go ahead give Scrivener a try, you'll be one step closer to finishing that book. 

Here's a quick video outlining its basic features