The write tools

Scrivener screens

Screenshots of Scrivener in action. Copyright © 2005–2012 Literature & Latte Ltd. All rights reserved.

Some writers have a special place to write. Others have a special time of the day. For me, the key to writing is technology.

For the past 20+ years, I’ve used Microsoft Word for all my writing. But this November that changed. For National Novel Writing Month, I decided to test drive Scrivener — one of the sponsors of NaNoWriMo.

Scrivener is described as a “complete writing studio.” It’s more than a word processor. It’s a writer’s office in virtual form.

Part of me was wary of trying new software as I dived into NaNoWriMo, fearing that learning the software would be a diversion more than an asset. I like to procrastinate, and learning new software is a great way for me to do that. After watching the video tutorials, however, I became convinced that I needed this software.

Scrivener allows me to organize my story before I write a single word. I can plot my story on notecards and reorder them as necessary. I can create background sheets for each of my characters (great for details that I don’t want to change during the course of the novel – like hair color, eye color, etc.). Web pages can live along side my story, saved in the research folder. Places can be sketched out, and photos added. Best of all, the daily target template shows my daily word count out of 1,667 (the NaNoWriMo daily goal).

When I’m ready to put the whole thing together, the compile tool will allow me to format my manuscript in numerous ways, including Word, Open Office, ePub or Kindle. It also offers format for non-fiction manuscripts and screenplays.

Though I haven’t yet explored all the possibilities that Scrivener offers, I have found my new favorite tool for writing.

Kevin Wohler is a copywriter and novelist living in Lawrence, Kansas. During the day, he works at a digital marketing agency in the Kansas City area. When time remains, he likes to tell stories of the weird and bizarre. And sometimes, he writes them down for others to read.


  • Nancy Cayton Myers says:

    I used it for NaNo this year too on Jason’s recommendation. I really liked it and I know it improved my work over my last attempt. Glad to hear you found it useful, makes me feel like I did the right thing using it!

  • Jason Arnett says:

    Scrivener rules. That is all. Everyone should use it. We will build a religion around Scrivener and it will be GOOD. Join us. Come to the dark side. We have cookies.

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