Writing a book is a huge task that takes a lot of planning and consideration about how to structure your content. A table of contents with ideas about the type of content you’d want to include in each section is an important tool that can help keep you organized. But writing is rarely a linear process. There may be times during the writing process where you are writing about an experience you intended to put in chapter two, but realize that it would be better for chapter eight. The further you get into the writing process, the more that this could happen and the more confusing it can be to move your content around in a cohesive fashion. That’s where Scrivener comes in.
Scrivener is a word-processing program that can be used to outline an author’s work. Scrivener can store your documents, notes, concepts, and research. It also has templates for non-fiction, fiction, and screenplays.
Keep All of Your Notes and Resources in One Place
When you are writing your book, there are a lot of files that you need to keep track of. These can be statistics that you are including, testimonials, or even notes that you thought of while you were at work. Where these fit into your book may not be clear until later, but having multiple files in different locations on your computer can be hard to compile. Scrivener allows you to have all of these files in one location that’s easy to organize.
Instead of having files on your hard drive, a flash stick, or even a cloud service, Scrivener allows you to upload all of your files in one location. Scrivener has built-in folders and subfolders that allows you to organize your chapters, notes, and resources into their respective areas. It also allows you to have your resources in the same screen as what you’re working on to use for quick reference.
There is a built-in draft folder for the first draft of your book and a folder for resources. Once you are ready to convert your manuscript into a pdf or word document, Scrivener compiles all of the chapters in that draft folder into a completed manuscript without the resources or notes. You are free to change these folders as you see fit to match what best works for you and your organization’s preferences.
Organize and Reorganize Your Content Easily
During the planning stages of drafting your book, you may have different sections or subsections that you want to include for different chapters. The more content that you have, the more complicated it can be to keep everything organized or to reorganize content in a way that makes sense.
Jenn T. Grace, Publish Your Purpose’s founder and CEO, experienced this first hand. She once worked on a manuscript that was 280 pages in a word document. This was for a client and they requested that it was done in a word document. There were many people who were working on the manuscript simultaneously and it became a mess of communication when they were moving certain stories or pieces around to be more cohesive.
Scrivener alleviates that stress through the aforementioned section folders. You are able to easily type out each section and subsection in its own folder and are able to reorganize via clicking and dragging. If you have a subsection that has a specific story about school, for example, and it would be better if it was told later in the book, you can click and drag the section to move it. You can also draft your front matter (copyright, acknowledgments, etc.) and your back matter (glossary, notes, references, etc.) into your draft, allowing for the full book to be completed in this one program.
Look at everything from a thousand-yard view
Something that’s very useful during any planning phase, and particularly useful during writing, is being able to look at what you’ve written from an overarching perspective. This allows you to look at how everything is flowing, or if there is anything that needs to be changed or altered. A great feature of Scrivener is the ability to view each section as if it were on note cards pinned to a corkboard. This allows you to view your entire book and how it is progressing.
Each note card has a little synopsis about what the section contains and automatically reorganizes all of the cards if you move one around. Scrivener also has an outline view, whether that outline is the table of contents or if it’s the content in a specific chapter. It allows you to look at specific pieces of content and organize them accordingly. You can switch from a thousand-yard view looking over your entire book or view it up close as you fine-tune the details.