Saturday, February 02, 2013

Writing inspiration: What Scrivener can do (so far)

  • It can let you move pieces of the manuscript around really easily, much more easily than in Word. Flying dinosaur section first! No! Swimming dinosaur section first! You can name the little sections and let them slug it out in the different configurations by moving them around on the corkboard or in the outline feature.
  •  Scrivener has a feature that lets you set a certain number of words per day (the default is 1000) and a target for the project as a whole.  You get to see the little bar advance even as you write, if you want to. If you are on a charts-and-word count regimen of reinforcement (in the absence of Divine Afflatus Inspiration), this is motivating. You don't even have to put a Word Count bar on your blog and then update it. It updates itself and resets itself every 24 hours.  
  • It will allow you to set the bar to 0 for the day (instead of a negative number) even if you begin the day by taking out words. This eliminates the temptation to leave in terrible sentences just because they are words already counted. 
  • I don't dare do everything in Scrivener yet, though, since I don't know how it'll handle footnotes and other things. Basically, it's still something of an extra step, but it's an extra step that makes me write, so I'm not complaining.
  • Right now I'm slogging through some sections that will be totally fascinating when I've rewritten them, or so I'm telling myself, but right now are just placeholders and explorations of ideas to come. I need to keep going, and that's what the process is helping me do.
  • Here's the process, which is a little redundant. But if it makes me pay attention to the writing, and think about ideas each step of the way, I'm going to stick with it. 
    • Wake up and write in notebook (longhand, via Flavia's suggestion about writing in notebooks) for both initial text and research journal. 
    • Transfer/rewrite to
    • Copy & paste into Scrivener and Word. 
    • See how the pieces connect and edit accordingly, adding new text. 


Z said...

This is actually pretty interesting because it is a close approximation of what I actually do, which has that redundancy, but this is more efficient due to the programs.

But, you put into Scrivener AND Word? That would land me with two, bifurcating manuscript traditions of myself ... or do they interact in some way mechanically?

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Oh, go with the bifurcating manuscript tradition! It's so marvelously medieval and post-modern at the same time, mouvance plus "il n'y a pas de hors-texte."

undine said...

Z--I put the pieces in Word or write them there but then copy & past them into Scrivener. That way, I have a "real" copy but can move them around to see how they sound in other ways. Scrivener also lets you print sections without copying & pasting to another document, which I'd have to do in word.

Dame Eleanor--any time I can be medieval and post-modern, I want to do it!

Z said...

Very interesting. The Scrivener in Linux is stalled in beta and doesn't fully work so I am putting this off and learning Lyx, but I am sure I would like Scrivener once I learned it. If it fit with my main OS I would not doubt.

Medieval and po-mo share so many characteristics it is uncanny.

Professor Zero said...

OK, today I wrote a document in Scrivener. Very nice experience although I did not use (did not need) most features. But very smooth, much more fun than a word processor, and you can double space which you cannot do in Lyx (and which I like to do).