- File Size: 2307 KB
- Print Length: 127 pages
- Publisher: David Hewson; 3 edition (July 28, 2011)
- Publication Date: July 28, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004ZG7BMU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,114 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Writing a Novel with Scrivener Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
First of all, don't expect this to be "the missing manual." The author is clear in his introduction that there is a lot more to Scrivener than what he manages to cover-for instance, tools for researchers and screenwriters-but he's just covering what the novelist needs to know, after all. Another caveat to mention is that the book is aimed primarily at Mac, Scrivener 2.0 users, so us Windows kiddies will need to translate some of the commands*, improvise, and resign ourselves to the fact that it is still in Beta, and though it's come a long way, it still has a ways to go before it's ready for prime time. (*But we're PC people, so we don't need to be spoon-fed everything anyway.)
He quickly goes over the basic parts of the program, the Binder, the Editor, and Inspector, covering just as much ground in four or so "pages" (a loose term, given the fluidity of Kindle displays) than what takes the tutorial over a thousand words. I don't need the Header and Footer described at length. I've used word processors before, after all. And there's the manual for everything I want elaboration on.
Next Hewson talks about the Corkboard and Outliner views in terms of their usefulness to novelists, again touching on them just enough to make the writer familiar without having to list every single capability available. As a Windows user, I noticed that the Unplaced Scenes folder he talks about doesn't yet appear in the Beta, but I've gone ahead and added my own folder by the name. It doesn't have the cute little thought cloud icon next to it, but it'll still serve the purpose of a general reservoir of ideas, and a springboard for those times when I'm hitting against a blockage of some sort.
In the next section he shows you how to minimize distractions and maximize ease of access to other parts at the same time. Want to reference another document? Would you like split-screen or a pop-up window? How about a hyperlink inserted right into the text? Hop back to the last document you viewed? Hewson covers it all, and quickly.
Most useful, perhaps, out of the entire book, was the section on Keywords. It would have taken me a while to figure out the applications otherwise, but he suggests using these customizable tags to track POV or Time to ensure continuity-a huge issue for complex novels with multiple narrators and time streams, like the one I'm writing. Meanwhile, the official tutorial makes only a passing reference to the Search/Keywords capability, while elaborating on things obvious to any intermediate computer user.
Essential to any discussion of writing are backups: that is to say, those pesky little things that allow you to not lose your project-and your mind. Did you know that Scrivener can automatically schedule backups of your work? Did you ever think to incorporate Dropbox, so that you'd have an automatic web backup without the hassle of syncs? Yeah, pretty useful, that. If it means saving your work from a hard-drive failure or virus attack, then that $6 just saved you hours and hours of work. Which can be fair valuable, when you're writing for publication.
Once you've written a first draft, it's time to get down to the real work-revision. Writing a Novel with Scrivener compares the advantages of re-reading on your iPad, eReader, or good ol' paper, and discusses the options you have for commenting on each. Moreover, it talks about ways your initial readers and critters can comment, whether it be through Word or another program, and warns against some common pitfalls of formatting and syncing them together. After you know what you need to rewrite, this book shows you how to save multiple versions of your draft quickly, and how to compare each revision (using colors, or not), so you can track what's changed and even go back to a prior "snapshot" if need be.
Finally, Hewson provides a step-by-step guide not only to compiling your manuscript for agents and editors, but to publishing as a Kindle .mobi or .epub file! Though I'm not there yet, I may use it for future projects if I go the self-publishing route.
I'll admit, if it were the standard price of a book about writing, I wouldn't have gotten it. But it's considerably cheaper than the Writer's Digest books you'll find at your Barnes & Noble. A $6 asking price is quite reasonable given the breadth, deapth, and practicality of the tips he provides. If you're a novelist and you've ever thought about jumping on the Scrivener bandwagon, but didn't know where to start, this book will take you through the same steps as the tutorial, only faster, and give you a lot more to use besides.
If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of exporting and compiling ad nausuem, don't let me stop you. If you're looking for a book that explains what most writers want to know re Scrivener, keep looking.
The 2nd edition didn't have any of the shortcuts for Windows, and some of the tools mentioned weren't included in the Windows beta, but now with the 3rd edition, on the release of the official Windows version, all that is fixed, with not only the Windows shortcuts, but which tools are found in which versions.
The book focuses on just what it says - writing novels with Scrivener (Hewson has written seven with the program), and so shows how you might order chapters and scenes and then covers useful folders, research, formatting, and how to set up the screen to look exactly as you'd like. Hewson advises us not to not get bogged down in learning the whole program, but to use the best tools to get on with the writing, and in that the book works very well.
Hewson also tosses in sections of advice outside the program, such as scene length and revision. Much of it is good advice, such as not limiting your descriptions to sight, and yet a few tips might not be the best way of working for everyone, such as not knowing more about your characters than your readers do. But he's sincerely sharing what works for him, what he calls "practical strategies."
On the technical side, the book explains setting up automatic Back-ups and using DropBox (including for collaborating on projects), as well as editing with SimpleNote (for Mac users only), how to Compile to Word, and why it's best to work with Word files when submitting to publishers. There's also about ten pages on editing manuscripts on iPads and Kindles, and he's updated his suggestions on tablets to edit with, including a link to his blog post about using the Android HTC Flyer.
Next there's a short overview of e-book publishing and why he works with Kindle, and then onto Formatting and the Layout of the e-book and how to preview it on various devices. It's far from a complete manual on the process of converting to an e-book (you'd need a whole book for that), but it does make it very clear what you can do with Scrivener in that regard.
Finally, there's a chapter on his favorite shortcuts, including Split with Selection as Title, which is very handy when importing Word documents.
There's also a link to download Hewson's Scrivener template, but I didn't find it worth the time since it doesn't tell you anything the book doesn't and simply has his Unplaced Scenes folder included in a blank project, which you can create yourself in seconds.
The only error I found is when he mentions finding the usual menus at the top of the Full Screen layout. You can do this with Macs, yes, but it isn't yet available in the current Windows 1.0 version.
To sum up, very useful, covering all the basics, and very much worth the e-book price.