- Paperback: 408 pages
- Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (August 13, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1118312473
- ISBN-13: 978-1118312476
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Scrivener For Dummies 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
Make complicated writing projects simple and take your writing skills to the next level with Scrivener
Scrivener is the first and only word processing program designed specifically for the messy, non-linear way writers really work. Scrivener For Dummies is the easiest way to master this powerful writing software. Written by veteran Scrivener trainer and novelist Gwen Hernandez, you'll learn to set up a new project, organize your research, track scene elements, create custom layouts, and more with this friendly Scrivener guide.
- Say "hello" to Scrivener quickly learn your way around the Scrivener workspace and all its basic functions, features, buttons, parts, and pieces
- The perfect form create custom project templates tailored to your needs and style, and store them to use for future projects
- Bid adieu to pushpins, index cards, and lost ideas keep your writing, research, character sketches, synopses, outlines, drafts and images all in one dedicated project file
- Unlimited formatting freedom instantly export your work into many formats and document combinations, without affecting the original manuscript
- Bring your story to life view multiple scenes at once, storyboard with index cards, or view your work in outline form
- Goodbye to paper clutter and paper cuts track multiple versions of a manuscript with Revision mode and keep notes ready-to-hand with Quick Reference panels
Open the book and find:
- Tips for finding your way around Scrivener
- Help navigating the interface
- Ways to track scene elements with metadata
- Methods for working with split screens
- How to export content to EPUB
- Tools for compiling a manuscript for a publisher
- Methods for setting manuscript and document goals
- Tricks for structuring and organizing research
- Structure your work with index cards and preserve earlier drafts along the way
- Break your text into sections and edit them separately or as a whole
- Keep track of all your ideas with the Collections feature
- Compile your work to send to a publisher or share as an e-book
About the Author
Gwen Hernandez teaches popular online Scrivener courses for Mac and Windows. In her spare time she writes romantic suspense, travels, runs, and practices yoga and Kung Fu. She lives in northern California with her retired Air Force husband and a lazy golden retriever.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this review, I suggest an order for reading these materials, pros and cons of each document, and how you might save money if you are a casual or serious Scrivener user.
Read the documents in the order listed above. How far you go depends on how deep you want to go. Of course, the costs of study are your time and the money for the "Scriveners for Dummies" book. (I am assuming that you are buying the Scrivener software in this review.)
So before you plunk down money, decide where you are on the Scrivener spectrum: casual, serious, or hard-core. Decide on this basis: If you write shorter documents on an intermittent bases (an undergraduate, let's say, or a business-memo writer), you are casual. Yes, your documents are important, but you probably don't need to use every Scrivener tool for handling long documents. If you often write longer or multi-scene, multi-chapter documents or documents with many references (technical manuals or novels), then you may be (now or potentially) a serious user. Finally, if you work on long, multi-chapter documents almost every day, especially documents with many references (e.g., manuals, long research papers or novels), then you would be a hard-core user.
On the other hand, if you will spend most of your time doing layout and page design, then you should concentrate more time and study on design-oriented or word-processing tools -- Apple Pages, Adobe InDesign or HTML for the Web.
Before I get into how to use the Scrivener guides, I will list the pros and cons for each.
1. The Scrivener tutorial
Pros: a) free -- comes with the trial or full version of the software. b) a great place to start. You will get the best overview the fastest. c) highly interactive. The tutorial is in Scrivener, and you edit and compile output while reading, for in-context, deep learning. d) It is well designed and written. The authors have a sense of fun and humor.
Cons: a) You may want a hard copy of the tutorial, but you can compile and print it through Scrivener (since it is in Scrivener). b) It is not as in-depth as the "Dummies" book or the 500+ page Scrivener pdf manual. Regarding complexity and the need for long explanation: Scrivener is not rocket science (or Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop or InDesign). It is a very intuitive program, and you will learn the most whilst (the Scrivener British authors have inspired this scruffy American) trying out features once you know the basics.
Bottom line: Regardless of your level, start with the tutorial. This tutorial is much better than most tutorials supplied with other software.
2. "Scrivener for Dummies"
Pros: a) Like most "Dummies" books, this book is an extended how-to focusing on mechanics rather than an extended example. It can serve as a pretty complete reference manual (if you are scared by the 500+ pages Scrivener "free" user manual). b) It is well written and the design makes it easy to navigate visually. c) The print version is a hard-copy for your (probably overcrowded) bookshelf. d) It covers the same ground as the tutorial (above), but with significantly more information in some areas, e.g. compile options, compiling for e-books, document templates, setting word count goals, tracking revisions, and more.
Cons: a) It costs money -- not crazy like some manuals -- but significant. b) For a small-sized Kindle version, the screen shots are almost too small to read. (They would probably look fine on larger-sized Kindles). Highly formatted books like "Dummies" do not render too well on relative-formatting, small devices. c) It does not follow a single example throughout. (The tutorial, on the other hand, asks you to revise it as a document, so it serves as its own hands-on example throughout.)
Bottom line: Only take this extra step if you have already done the tutorial, are a serious user, and are willing to spend the time and money. If you buy it, use it as an adjunct to the tutorial. If you want to really increase your skill, keep the tutorial open while reading it. Add cross-references to the "Dummies" chapters and pages in the document synopses in your tutorial Scrivener project. You can then go back and forth between the two references later. You will learn a lot going through this exercise. Of course, you better be serious because now we are into serious learning time.
Again, Scrivener is not rocket science. I have found the "Dummies" designation and approach more relevant for tricky software like Final Cut Pro. For more intuitive software like Scrivener, you won't feel like a "Dummy" after going through the tutorial that comes with the software.
3. The 500+ pdf user manual that comes with the Scrivener software
Pros: It is an exhaustive 500+ page reference.
Cons: It is an exhaustive 500+ page reference.
Finally, here is a summary of how to approach your Scrivener learning.
1. Decide where you are on the Scrivener spectrum (casual, serious, or hard-core).
2. No matter what, do the tutorial first.
3. Play around with the Scrivener software. Try lots of things that were unclear after doing the tutorial. Really, this is the best way to learn intuitive software like Scrivener.
4a. If you are serious and are willing to spend the money, buy the "Dummies" book and reference it alongside the tutorial while you work.
4b. If you are serious and not willing to spend the money, cross-reference the 500+ page user manual with the tutorial (through the tutorial project). This will take a lot more time than 4a.
5. If you are hardcore, do at least 2, 3, 4 (a or b) above. Most importantly, take a project that you can play with (meaning fill with junk in the learning process), and try all the things you will want to do in your intensive work. Use the references that help the most.
I am a serious user and really like the combination of the tutorial with the "Dummies" book. I do like having a physical book on my desk that references the software that I use. Call me old-fashioned.
So I read some books on laying out a book. Then I found some references to Scrivener saying they had solved those problems. So I ordered downloaded the free trial offer, and went through the tutorial covering the basic points. I moved my book to Scrivener (not a trivial task with a whole book with several chapters, and several sections in each chapter). So I decided I needed a book to give me an overall view of the package, but which one?
I reached the point where I had a question on how to do something. I joined the Google Scrivener Group and asked a question. Almost immediately I got a response from Gwen Hernandez, the author of this book. If she was willing to take her time to answer my question, that's enough to justify my ordering her book. So I did.
As I read the book I found that there were point after point that showed me how to do something that I had needed to do. Some of them I had done using brute force methods. But now I could fix them with a few mouse clicks and maybe a few words of typing. Other points I had been putting off, now they were easy to do. Yes, the book is more Apple oriented than PC. But I had no trouble with her approach of "Here's how you do this in an Apple. If you have a PC, do this instead to accomplish the same thing.
I'd say I'm a medium level user, beyond the complete beginner, not up to expert. I found this book to be exactly the level I needed. The tutorial is enough to get you started. The Scrivener Manual (click on the HELP button) has everything you could possibly want, but is a little obtuse for someone at my level (Sometimes I read the manual and wonder just what the hell I had read). I find this book to be well laid out with a good table of contents and index so when I need a refresh on something I can usually find it quickly.
If I have to complain about anything, I would say that another ten pages of general information;"This is the concept behind Scrivener and what it will do for you" at the beginning would be nice.
Enter Scrivener for Dummies. This is a complete and well thought out introduction to the many great features of Scrivener and it also offers numerous tips that make my workflow more efficient. Instructions are very clear and complete. In short, this is an excellent book and well worth the money I paid for it.
I have a couple of other Scrivener manuals. Writing a Novel with Scrivener is pretty good, though it shows some of the rough editing edges that many self-published books have. It's still a worthwhile book, however, I prefer a paper reference book that I can add sticky notes to and scribble in the margins. The ebook, Take Control of Scrivener 2 by Take Control Books is also a good reference, but like Writing a Novel withe Scrivener, it isn't available in paper format and a bit more difficult for me to reference. And, Scrivener for Dummies simply has more content and detail.
Ms. Hernandez obviously knows Scrivener deeply and appreciates the program. That shows in this book. Highly recommended.