Played With Scrivener Today In My Revised Crime Novel

I have been writing in my WIP for a few days and playing around in Scrivener so I thought I would pop in and do a quick progress report. I have 8593 words on the revised crime novel and things are going very well. I did not write today but reviewed and worked on typing up the synopses. I am not outlining in advance, but keeping notes on what I have already written. This is a fast paced story with a lot of twists and turns, so I need notes that I can refer to easily to recall who did what when. (You can click the images for a close up view w/o leaving the page. It opens in another window.)

A quick overview: This is in editor mode. You can also type in full screen mode where EVERYTHING on either side, above and below the editor panel is blacked out for zero distractions. The binder is on the left and you can move chapters and scenes around in there easily. I don’t have folders set up with several scenes. I have the entire chapter set up as the scene in the chapter folder. Less complicated for me that way. As you can see down at the bottom, your chapter word count is in the center, the little orange bar indicates that I am not quite half way to my target word count. I am not really worrying about word counts as I go. You’ll see that in the outline. This chapter is in Brandi’s POV as you can see from the purple dot on the Inspector panel on the right.


In this next shot, you see the POV (marked by the red X) is in Richard’s. All of the other main characters in this chapter show up as colored keywords below. Above, (circled in red) is the synopsis. Many people write this in advance to cue them along. I wait until the chapter is done and then make notes of highlights in the chapter to help me keep facts straight. It is easier to see it listed here than to try to pick through a whole chapter to find details. The target progress indicator at the bottom is green because this chapter is complete.


In the corkboard mode you can set up index cards with your synopses or, like I did here, character sketch images. It’s just a fun way to see them at a glance if you need that visual reminder. With your synopsis as index cards, you can move them around on the corkboard and that changes their order in the binder if you need to shift scenes around.



In the binder to your left the character profiles are listed for a quick click to review details and have reminders of specific traits you don’t want to violate in character development. Brandi’s profile is shown, and as you can see in the binder it highlights in blue (see the text page is blue at the red X) whenever anything in the binder is selected so you know exactly where you are. That’s true for the editor mode also.


Finally, the outliner mode. Again, you can set this up in advance and follow it or just let it happen as you go along like I am. You can see all your word counts here or click on your manuscript button in your binder for the complete word count. The synopses also show here and, again, you can move scenes or chapters around in here, which will also move them in the binder.


When I am all done with the first draft, I can edit with split screens if I need to. I can compile into a number of files; .epub, .mobi, .pdf, .txt, .doc, and a number of other text files I have no idea what to do with. Then, they can be sent off easily for beta readers, editors, or even publishing. There are all sorts of formatting features and compile features that I will show later. There are also some very cool features in tools and options.

That’s all folks! This is what I did today. What are you doing?

Back to writing!

19 thoughts on “Played With Scrivener Today In My Revised Crime Novel

  1. I was working with my Scrivener document today, too. I’m a big outliner, so I’m working through each scene and sequel that I already created in a bulleted list. By the time I’m done, it’s almost like a first draft, because I have some narrative and some dialogue in addition to my notes. I also highlight various things. For example, I highlight anything I need to research further in pink; I highlight anything related to character arc in green; I use purple to highlight any foreshadowing, etc. I am using Scrivener so much more effectively now. Love it!


    1. Isn’t Gwen to much!? I love that lady. I learned so much. I am still a panster, so I am old school, but I love having notes in the synopsis pain. I like your idea of highlighting things you need to research further…you can get on with the writing and come back to it and flesh it out once you’ve delved deeper. I’ll have to try that, cause my research slows me down and sometimes I loose my ideas when that happens. (Old age.)


  2. It all looks and sounds great although goes completely over my head! I am a very “basic tools” wordsmith. WIll this really help/make the writing experience easier? What made you give it a go?


    1. I was trying to find a way to clean off my desk and get better organized. This is very basic. I am a panster and I know people use Scrivener to do all sorts of outlining and plotting, but I didn’t want it for that. I can access the web through Scrivener, save maps and documents for reference, and definitely stay more organized and less cluttered. I still make mind maps. I still jot down notes, but I am thinking what Carrie said about highlighting places to come back and flesh out with reseach later makes sense. It slowed me down at first. I hated it. Then I took Gwen Hernandez’s classes. It was six weeks and really did help. I had my WIP in here…found it choppy and felt it was impeding the flow to be trying to individualize each scene within a chapter. I stopped doing that…setting a text folder for each scene within a chapter, and started just writing the whole chapter as if I would in Word and that helped me get back in my rhythm. Being able to easily edit and move things around in the binder is a godsend. It also has a “paste and match style” feature that is handy. I could go on for hours.


    1. I am not familiar with Storyist. Scrivener is new to me. I can’t make a comparison. I can say I did not like Scrivener when I first started with it, but it has grown on me so much I cannot imagine working without it now.


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