May 2014 - Using Scrivener: Workflow


Published Articles 2014

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Scrivener Workflow - May 2014 - First Draft

     In the March’s newsletter I gave an overview of Scrivener. This time I wanted to actually discuss workflow and especially the mysterious “compile” feature.
     Since last time many people, including myself, have participated in the webinar on Scrivener. Technical problems aside, that brief introduction may have whetted your appetite for the program.Hopefully it didn’t scare you off. Scrivener is an amazing tool for writers.That isn’t just a sound bite for me— my day job is testing software. This program excites me more than any of the “cutting” edge stuff I’ve personally tested in the last decade.
     Let me catch everyone up who didn’t read the last newsletter - if you haven’t already been exposed to Scrivener it is a program for writers. If you type words onto a screen this program is for you. It blows Microsoft Word off the planet.Switching from Word to Scrivener will change the way you write.
     After hearing all the buzz you downloaded Scrivener ( and installed the program. You’ve opened it and have been poking around thinking, “Yeah now what?”

First things first. Let’s import your WIP from Word.There are two ways to do this. I’ll show you Import first:
1. Open Scrivener
2. Choose which type of project it will be


3. Select and highlight a “chapter” in which you want the Word doc to reside. (Chapters/sections or subsections are all the terms for how one chooses to break up the WIP.)


4. Click on FILE
5. Click on IMPORT
6. Find the Word file you want to import from your computer
7. Highlight it 
8. Click IMPORT
9. You should now see a chapter with the name of the WIP from Word listed in the folder structure of Scrivener


Open the imported file you will see that it is all there. :)  

There is another way to import with Scrivener and that is to Drag and Drop. Mac users are probably more familiar with this than PC users.
1. Open Scrivener
2. Choose which type of project it will be


4. Locate file
5. Click and DRAG file to Scrivener

NOTE: For documents that contain more than just text, it might be better tosave it as an .rtf format before importing;
1. Open doc in Word
2. Click on FILE
3. Click on SAVE AS
4. Click on RTF (Rich Text Format)

Now your WIP has been imported into Scrivener, but its all one long document, just like it was in Word.Scrivener is visual environment, seeing all of your chapters will help you ‘see’ your story. 

1. Open your now imported WIP document in Scrivener
2. Scroll down to where you want your first break/chapter
3. Place the cursor on that spot
4. Click on DOCUMENTS
5. Click on SPLIT
6. Click on AT SELECTION

Voilà! You are on your way to organizing your story. Scrivener excels at offering the most options for customizing and organizing your work. One of my favorites isusing a Label, which is part of the extensive Meta-data (a set of data that describes and gives information about other data) system.


The Meta-data system is completely customizable.


     You’ve imported your story, broken it into chapters, and organized it with labels and colors. 
Now it’s time to compile it and let someone read it.
Compile is what Scrivener calls “saving to a particular format.” Let’s say that you want to send a copy to your mom and she has Word. Your agent needs a copy that is .docx, but your editor needs a copy that is .rtf. Wait! Before you pull out your hair, Scrivener has come to your rescue.
1. Open the project in Scrivener that you want to compile
2. Click on FILE
3. Click on COMPILE


4. Click all of the chapters that you want to include in the compile (that you need to send out to all of the people that want/need a copy)


5. Click on the UP/DOWN arrows for “Compile for”



6. Click on the format you need.
7. Click on the COMPILE button
8. Choose a name for the file
9. Tell it where you want to save the copy of your document onyour computer.
10. Click on EXPORT

     Whew, take a breath. How do you feel? Empowered? You have just completed your first “compile,” smile. Now you see how versatile Scrivener is when it comes to formatting your documents. 
     For all of you bloggers out there, compiling your documents with the Multimarkdown-.html format makes them WordPress ready (or what ever blogging program you use). Now you can write your blogs, and compile them in one program. How cool is that?
     Compile is a very robust area of this program.There is a lot more to cover when it comes to compile. More than I think I can do in this newsletter. I encourage you all to watch the video:
      Hopefully I have taken some of the mystery out of getting started with Scrivener. There is a lot more to discover, I hope you continue to poke around the program. If you are feeling lost of frustrated, open up the online manual.If you can’t find what you are looking for there, try typing it into your browser. Or go out to ( and check out their forum - lots of great information there.

Cyberdyke - not a paid spokesperson for Scrivener - nor do I play one on TV

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