A few days ago I started writing using Scrivener. Right off the bat I can tell you it can be complicated. I think I’m a bit ahead of the game because I purchased and read Writing a Novel With Scrivener by David Hewson. This book will give you a head start because it lays out the basics on the parts of Scrivener you’ll use to write a novel. The most difficult piece I’ve so far discovered is creating chapters so they are actual chapters and not notebooks stuck inside other notebooks.
At first this seemed simple but I soon found out it wasn’t. Scrivener has a left column (on the left side of the writing area) that is called the Binder. You have the manuscript, the title page, and then the chapters lined up vertically. Much like Word lines up folders. I’m still not quite sure how I managed to create the chapters but now they’re working as chapters so I’m happy. Next in line are the scenes which seemed easy by comparison. Actually creating the items was not that difficult. I had to click on the designated icons at the bottom of the Binder column. Holding the cursor over the icons brings up the identifiers, one reads New Folder and the other New Text. The New Folder Icon will create a new Chapter while the New Text icon will create a new Scene. This is really nice for building the structure of a book. If a scene has been written that and later it’s discovered it would work better in a different chapter or a different location within the same chapter you click on the scene icon in the Binder and simply drag and drop. It seems easier than having to cut and paste.
In my writing I’ve both written by first creating the chapters and by the seat of my pants (I write and see where it takes me). By using Scrivener to create the chapters then the scenes I’ve found it’s been surprisingly stress free. I wrote using Microsoft Word before and the main difference I’ve noticed is in using the dictionary or thesaurus. With Word it’s a simple matter of clicking on the word and reading the list of synonyms. With Scrivener you click on the word the same way and it brings up choices like Dictionary .com and quite a few others. When Dictionary.com or any other choice is clicked on it opens the choice up in another tab. This is a bit more cumbersome than Word but you have a bigger selection to choose from.
I’ll continue to use Scrivener and let you know how it works for me. I hope to be able to tell you it gets easier with practice.