The other day I was complaining about the many little frustrations I had with the basic word processing program I was using to write.  Once my draft got long enough, jumping back and forth between different chapters to reference previous scenes became quite the headache.

I was with a writer friend at the time who suggested I check out Scrivener.  She showed me a couple of the basics and it seemed promising, so when I got home I downloaded the trial version.

I played around with it and for the first fifteen minutes I absolutely hated it.  Everything was laid out so differently than I was used to I couldn’t figure out how to actually do anything.  Eventually, I looked up a “how to” on youtube that showed how to use the program.  That made a huge difference.

Once I got the basics from the video the whole program opened up to me and I have to say I was really impressed.

There’s still a steep learning curve, but the program itself is really designed to make writing easier.  It lets a writer break down the whole piece into smaller pieces, move and edit them, and display different sections at the same time.

One of the frustrations I had is that the book I’m writing involved parallel story lines for different characters that intersect.  That’s why I was jumping back and forth between chapters so often.  “What did Character A say last time?”  I would have to scroll back two chapters to find out, then scroll back down to keep writing.  After the first two dozen times I did that I was pretty sick of it, and now I’m up to 67 chapters, so that is a lot of scrolling.

With Scrivener, I can jump between chapters really easily, or (and this is really cool) I can select the chapters for that just that one story line and they show up in the reader as one long piece.  I can work on that story line as a continuous, uninterrupted story, then deselect the chapters and the everything is back to the regular order.

And I’ve only scratched the surface with the capabilities of the program.

For me, it’s working out really well, so when my trial version runs out I will definitely be shelling out the $40 to buy it.  If you’re tired of your word processing program you might want to check it out.

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