July 24th, 2008


Warbling about Software: Scrivener

When I first started with computers, it was on a Mac, with a grand total of 64K, and I stuck with Macintosh for a long time, until I came to work for Microsoft and ended up switching over to Windows, since I needed a machine I could run Visual Studio on. And now, I'm back on a Mac, and enjoying poking around the new OS and finding all the nifty little niceties that Apple builds in.

One of the benefits of the switchover has been a chance to try out the writing software Scrivener, which I'd heard people rave about in the past. It has a 30 day free trial, so I downloaded it yesterday, ran through the tutorial, and then imported the latest copy of the novel. The import was painless. It arrived as one big doc, so I split that up into chapters, which was simple to do by high-lighting each chapter title and selecting the "Split with selected as heading" option.

Things that I really like about the software:
  • It can show me all the chapters as index cards pinned to a corkboard that I can move around easily. Since a problem that people have been pointing to in the current version is the chronology, I used that to rearrange a lot of scenes and move the sections of "The Narrative of a Beast's Life" eariler into the book.
  • I can label sections with a color. I assigned each POV a different color and then used that to make sure that the POVs alternate, rather than getting clumped together, using the corkboard view, which shows each index card tagged with the label color, to do so.
  • I can tag chapters with keywords, and then view all the chapters tagged with a specific keyword as one long section. I tagged the Teo, Bella, and Skilto chapters so I can read through each POV as a whole.
  • Easy to add notes, including pictures, URLs, audio/video clips to chapters.
  • It lets me take snapshots of the work so I could take one and then go to town re-arranging index cards, knowing that I could always revert to the old version as needed.
Seriously swell. If you're a Mac user, check out the 30 day free trial.