Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Joys of Scrivener. And Cake.

Hello all,

This is my first Awesome post so I thought I'd ambitiously start off with a bang. I got up at 6AM, got my chocolate protein coffee, and now I'm trying to be clever. That's the thing about forced wit and creativity. It doesn't come easily. And for those aspiring to become professionals, it's the first thing you'll encounter once that ink dries. You have to produce. On a deadline. Be contractually creative. It's a lot of work. And isn't happy-go-lucky fun like it used to be.

So I guess that's what I'm going to talk about: writing like it's a job. But wait Wes, you're first book isn't even out yet! You're barely a baby pro.

That's true. April 30th is my book release (buy my book!) for The Lives of Tao. I probably write in the most inefficient way you can imagine and made every single mistake in the book. That's what happens when English is your third language and it takes five drafts before you get a coherent manuscript. Sound familiar anyone? If it is, here's my first piece of advice:

Get organized. Fast!

If you want to be a paid writer, you have to treat it like a career. Whether you're a plumber or a project manager or a ballerina, you have to be able to work in a professional, organized fashion.

For me, it's Scrivener.

Some writers swear by it; others hate its guts. I say download the trial, sit through the boring ass (can I say ass on this blog?) tutorial, and muddle through all the options. By the end of the day, you will know if it's for you or if you think it's the dumbest piece of software some know-nothing jackass asked you to download.

So what's so great about Scrivener? It looks like a bunch of folders and files and stuff. And it has this silly virtual cork board. What is this madness?!

Well, yes. The great thing about Scrivener is that it has a bunch of complicated folders and files and stuff. And it has this silly virtual cork board. Which is Awesome!  It gives the writer a top down view of his story. For me, I organize my book by chapters, and then label each chapter by point of view and what sort of chapter it is (development, plot, action). That way, I can gauge the flow of my book. There's many ways to set it up. It tracks your word count, has full screen mode (for those with ADD),  project targets and stats, and a whole lot more. There's also repositories where you can store your images, notes, file synopsis, outlines...etc...everything you need at your finger tips. Play with it and find out what works best for you.

But Wes, it's forty bucks!  True, it isn't cheap for us poor struggling writers. That's like three scotches or two deep dish pizzas. So here's a 20% discount code: NANOWRIMO
Go get the trial for free. See if you like it. Let me know what you think.


  1. I've heard a lot of people recommend Scrivener but I still haven't made the leap. But now that I've become more of a plotter, perhaps it's time.

    P.S. I can guarantee you won't be the only one to let an occasional ass to slip out on this blog. Especially if I ever post a teaser from my book.

    1. And don't think I didn't notice you failed to come through on your promise of cake.

  2. I got the free Storymaker not too long ago, but haven't used it much. I guess I don't see the point to all the extras. But I think tools for organization are only useful if you can use them properly. For instance, a few years back I was helping my parents organize their bonus room. They had several big metal filing cabinets (my dad used to work for himself), so you'd think it was all organized, On the contrary, there were folders with labels to fit the one document inside. They weren't sorted alphabetically or numerically, or even categorically. For me, that's what Scrivener (or Storymaker) ends up looking like. I could probably learn to use it, but the motivation would have to be pretty intense... maybe like writing on contract. Great first post! Welcome, Wes! Looking forward to The Lives of Tao!!

  3. It took me a long boring day to sit through that tutorial and figure stuff out. Afterward though, I was hooked. You gotta commit to putting the tiem in.

  4. I use Scrivener too, for everything from initial composition up to the final 'let's just keep polishing this word doc until the very last minute' stage of writing. The iPad integration is the killer app for me (yuk yuk)—makes editing much easier.

  5. Scrivener is pretty great. :) I got it a year or two ago and back then they had a student discount. I'm not sure if they do, but for any students out there it'd help it be more affordable. :) Although that discount code should also help. :)

  6. As someone who likes to write out of order, I love that I can drag scenes around on Scrivener and arrange them properly. SO much easier than scrolling in Word and copying/pasting thousands of words.

  7. I might check it out before I get too deep in this WiP. I've heard a lot about Scrivener lately! Maybe it's a sign. :-)


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