Scrivener. Learning New Tricks Every Day.

Scrivener is a beautifully delicious program made for writers, by writers.

I’ve been using it for a little over a year, and am only just beginning to tap in to the possibilities that this app offers me.

Scrivener is the go-to app for writers of all kinds, used every day by best-selling novelists, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, students, academics, lawyers, journalists, translators and more. Scrivener won’t tell you how to write—it simply provides everything you need to start writing and keep writing.

Scrivener Website

I like this program as when writing, I tend to jump around a lot. I like to have all of my chapters in an easy to use, manipulate, re-organisable way. The meta-data is glorious, the time stamps and automatic back ups are comforting.

Like I said, I am only beginning to scratch the surface, however, what I have below might just be enough for you to feel like this is a program you could have a play with, learn from and with.

Happy Reading 🙂

Project Targets

This is as simple as they come, but I use it everyday I write. Essentially you put in what you wish your overall manuscript total word count to be;

120,000 words

And then you enter what total you wish to reach with each writing session you undertake

800 words

**I tend to edit and nit pick as I go, which would always chew in to my time, but did ensure that those words I was putting down where always relevant, of satisfactory quality and using the voice I had built. Hence the not massive word count goal

Plotting Tool

So to check out my story at any stage and see how my chapter progression was going I would use the Outliner Contents Export.

  1. File
  2. Export
  3. Outliner Contents as CSV. File
  4. Select file path & name

Revel in the gloriousness that is your metadata extracted and made so simple

What you can see here below is my modified metadata, #nospoilers but you do get the general idea (I turned what I didn’t want you to see into white text & this extract is from early on in my manuscripts infancy)

I did not have to manually write in this document, as it was all extracted from my working document in Scrivener. And now that I am up to the editing stages, this document and others after will be invaluable in getting a quick grasp on what I need to tighten, where I have gone over my word count, who hasn’t been seen for a while, or any number of other wonderfully awesome uses it may offer me.

Parameters I Set Up


Assigned to character, so if I ran my eye down the spine, I could see by the Pink colour how many chapters where based around the adventure of Amara. #forexample

To Set Your Own

  1. Open Scrivener
  2. Select Project
  3. Select Meta-Data Settings
  4. Select Labels
  5. Alter / Add / Modify as you Wish
  6. Select Save
  7. Right Click your text down the Left, Select Label & Choose from your new options

Custom Metadata

Character Introduction – Where is the first time I reference or introduce a character, their skills and abilities or physical appearance? Should I do it earlier? I want to ensure my characters dialogue is organic, with references to people and places that while not pertinent at the time, will come back and be beneficial later on.

Foreshadowing – Where do I need to drop my little hints and Easter eggs? This way lets me see really easily if I have dropped too many in one chapter or spaced them out too far apart.

Location – I am going to extend this to Location and Weather, so that I don’t have my characters try and start a fire in the middle of a freak storm (yes I am drawing on some horrifying re-reading experience here!)

Characters – Who is where. Which minor characters are running about. Is there too many name drops in one chapter? Have these two characters even met? Again this is a simple way for me to attempt to ensure quality control

You can see how this information is then used in the above image of my Outliner Contents.

Compile Tool

While I am not a full on alfoil hat wearing, scared of the government conspiracy theorist; I do think it is prudent to be better safe than sorry.

So every few months, I complie my story in to a word document, and email it from one of my personal emails, to another.

This gives me a

Time, Date Stamped Back Up

If I ever needed it.

**If I ever needed to demonstrate that I wrote the book, I would have evidence #pleasegodsno #wouldn’tthatbeabother

Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty more really useful tools, abilities and time warps available in Scrivener, which I’ll put in to other posts.

But for the moment, if you are able to find a program that allows you to write comfortably and supports your style (in my case a need for lots of metadata), carry on my writing darlings.

I hope this post had something useful for you, now get back to writing you silly thing.


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