3 Most Useful Scrivener Features for YA Authors

December 4, 2017

I would like to welcome back Dave Chesson to the backwoods! He is here to share some insight about the Scrivener writing tool/software. I personally don’t use it, but I know some author friends who do and swear by it. Do you use it? Have any horror stories? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Scrivener (software)

Scrivener (software) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does the perfect writing tool look like to you?

There are almost as many ways of writing as there are writers. Some people prefer to keep things as retro as possible by using paper and pen. Others have become familiar with a particular word processor and stick with it out of habit.

Really, there is no one best tool – only the tool most suitable for each writer’s needs.

One tool that’s made a huge difference to my own writing life is Scrivener. If you write YA fiction, or almost anything at all, Scrivener has a lot to offer.

Before you embark upon your next YA project, consider whether Scrivener may make your creative life a little easier.

Keep All Your Research Together

Writing a story is basically the process of creating a world.

Worlds are complex places. Making the world of your story a place readers want to spend their time requires a lot of attention to detail.

If you think about some of the most immersive and popular books, such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, they involve elaborate worlds full of detail and delight.

From the perspective of an author, creating such a world isn’t easy. It can be tricky to keep track of all of the details you need while also engaging in the creative process to write a story that works on an emotional level.

Scrivener allows you to create and keep all of your notes related to a writing project within a single environment. This allows you to load up Scrivener and just start writing. There’s no need to lose focus and switch in and out of the software to look up a fact or check a detail.

Keeping your research in an electronic format can also help to protect it. If you’ve ever lost a handwritten note, you know the pain. There’s no recovering it. Backing up your valuable research using Scrivener is a piece of cake. You never need to worry about losing your carefully crafted world to the menace of spilled coffee.

Rearrange Your Scenes With Ease

If your writing process looks anything at all like mine, you don’t always write in a neat, linear fashion. Often, a moment of inspiration will strike and I’ll have the desire to record it, before it’s lost. This can result in a mishmash of disjointed ideas and scenes which need to be slotted into place like a jigsaw puzzle.

Scrivener has a mode called ‘Scrivenings’ which makes this a pain-free process.

You can easily preview and rearrange different pieces of writing as a single document using Scrivenings, without having to copy and paste or risk modifying the original text.

This mode is great as it gives you the freedom to write in the way and sequence you want without having to worry too much about how it will all fit together.

Supportive Structuring

The debate between those who prefer to carefully structure their writing, and others who take a more free flowing approach, is never-ending and won’t be settled here!

However, Scrivener is really well-suited to either approach. If you like structure, Scrivener is absolutely unbeatable when it comes to carefully creating a roadmap for your story to follow. You have the choice of either creating your own from scratch, or importing a template which someone else has created.

You don’t have to use a Scrivener template if you don’t want to. You can start from a blank page and go from there.

Personally, I think one of the coolest things about Scrivener’s structuring is how it can help writers to try out styles of work they might not have had the confidence to otherwise. If, for example, you’d love to try writing a screenplay but aren’t sure of the technicalities, a Scrivener screenplay template will take care of the structure, and give you room to get creative.

Scrivener Summary

I’m not trying to change your ways here. If you have a process that is working well for you, that’s great. Scrivener could be a great solution for you, however, if you could use any help with –

  • Keeping track of all your research
  • Ordering and reordering spontaneous scenes
  • Having a solid structure to support your story

I’ve only really scratched the surface here about the many ways that Scrivener has made a positive difference to my writing life. It’s a complex piece of software which has many useful features that only emerge after taking the time to get familiar with them.

If you’re on the fence about using Scrivener, I’d suggest you take the time to check it out for yourself, and see if it’s a good fit for you.

I hope it makes as much of a positive change to your writing life as it has to mine.

PS – There are some Scrivener coupons available which might make your decision a little easier!

AK Taylor

About the Author

AK Taylor

AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.

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