I’ll tell you, when I started the revision for Miasma in Microsoft Word, it was a complete disaster. As a result of being a pantser, I shuffle chapters. A lot. I have so much movement of scenes in my story I ought to have a sign that says, “Story is geologically unstable. May shift at any time.”
Enter Scrivener for Windows. It’s a great tool to help pantsers write. These are a few of the hacks I’ve discovered:
Each text file contains a section for document notes, and there’s one for project notes. You can jot down ideas, make a memory dump of a part you will be working on, or add a character name you’re having trouble with.
Move Text Files
It’s easy to drag files around in Scrivener. Hold the shift key down and use the arrow key to move the file to a new location. Drag and drop works, too.
Scrivener has color coding for everyone. I personally like color coding the text labels. Go to View>Use Label Color In … >Binder. The color coding picks up from what you’ve used in the labels for the “index cards.”
Not every program allows you to back up your novel. For example, with Word, I have to resave the file and give it a new name. But Scrivener has a simple tool to make backups seamless. Go to File>Backup. Click Backup Now.
I sometimes will use my netbook to work on one document in WordPad, then paste it into Scrivener. There’s a nice feature duplicating Word’s Paste Special. It pastes your text back in the format of the Scrivener document. Select Edit and then click Paste and Match Style.
Use it the Way You Want
I think this is one of the most powerful aspects of Scrivener. If you’re a pantser or an outliner, it doesn’t matter. You can use what you need and ignore what will get in the way.
For you: What kind of hacks have you been using with Scrivener? Post in the comments below.