A Guest Post by Deborah Raney
Deborah Raney’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Since then, her books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband Ken recently traded small-town life in Kansas––the setting of many of her novels––for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, and traveling to visit four children and five grandchildren who all live much too far away. I, Steve, have had the privilege of working with Deborah as her agent for the last ten years. Time flies when you are having fun! The picture to the left was taken of us after an awards banquet where she was honored multiple times. Visit her on the Web at www.deborahraney.com.
I’m probably not the best spokesperson for Scrivener, the popular novel writing software program from Literature and Latte, because I certainly don’t use Scrivener to its maximum capabilities. I don’t even actually write my novel in Scrivener. I still use Pages––Mac’s version of Word––to write the manuscript, although I do copy the manuscript into the program once I have a final version, just to keep my project all in one place.
I also don’t know how to use Scrivener for formatting e-books, etc., so I’m truly not an expert on it. Yet. I do love the software enough that I have a tutorial I paid good money for on my desktop, and I hope to work through it as soon as I get my work in progress off to my editor.
Despite my lack of expertise with Scrivener, I am an enthusiastic fan of the software, and I can testify that it is a great program, even for those who haven’t yet figured out all the bells and whistles Scrivener has to offer.
I found the program very user-friendly and intuitive right out of the “box” (it’s actually downloaded from the Internet, so no box necessary). Here are some of the ways I’ve used Scrivener’s basic features:
• To organize my material.
I find Scrivener to be a great way to collect all the various elements for my novel under one “roof.”
• To collect research links.
It is incredibly handy to have all my research URLs/links and other research documents, interviews, and photos in one location. I especially like the way Scrivener serves as a browser window so links can be opened right within the program, without opening any other browser.
• To create a virtual bulletin board.
Scrivener is great for “tacking” photos of characters and settings on a virtual cork board. I can also post virtual 3×5 cards with lists of characters’ physical description, personality traits, or any other list I choose.
• To keep a timeline.
It’s great to be able to use scene cards, a calendar, or other timeline of my choice to plot the events of my story in chronological order. This also makes it easy to switch events around on the timeline if necessary.
All of the above are, I’m sure, only a fraction of what Scrivener has to offer writers, but those features alone are enough to make the program totally worthwhile for me. And totally worth the very reasonable price.
Below is a screen shot of one of my bulletin boards (click the board to see it full size):