Scrivener is the Pantser’s Tool
When I write, I’m all over the place. I might work on Scene 15, then hop back to Scene 4 to add something that ties into Scene 15. Then I change the gender of a character, so I have to hop through five scenes and correct the name and the gender.
In Microsoft Word, this was awful. Scroll back through 5 or even 10 pages to find the right section is not too bad—but 75 pages? Two hundred?
It starts to get pretty unwieldy.
When Scrivener came out with its beta for Windows, I signed right up as a tester. I’d checked out most of the writing programs around at the time. Some of them seemed not to really understand writers at all, and others tried to force the writer to fit in with a process of writing.
I don’t outline (the pantser thing), so a program that required me to outline to use it was, really, a complete waste of time. I suppose those programs were designed by people who couldn’t conceive that there might be multiple ways to approach writing process.
But Scrivener did. It’s one of those tools that’s designed so that you can use the parts you want, and ignore the parts that don’t work for you. An outliner can use the corkboard to keep track of their scenes, while I can happily ignore that.
And if I realize I need to hop back ten scenes, it’s a couple of clicks.
One of the best things though is that I can put one scene in one file. It’s still part of the whole, but now I can focus on just one scene. If I realize I need to add a scene or move the one I just wrote, it’s super easy. In Word, that was always a big frustration because the document was so unwieldy.
The best thing the tools should do is let you write.