Learning the Tools of the Trade

By: Victoria Adams, Content Editor – Please note that the graphic is a screen shot from Scrivener’s website.

It’s time, again, that we talk about things that are at least supposed to help us write. Granted, people have been writing “stuff” since the scribes had to carve things out on clay tables and artist drew pictures on cave walls. Surely, modern and educated folks can manage at least as well with a keyboard and a word processing program. Well, maybe. But if you can find a way to make the mechanics easier so you have more time for imagination – well, wouldn’t that make sense?

Many moons ago I started using Scrivener. This is a program developed by an author for authors. I ran across it in a writers group and looked over the free trial for less than thirty minutes before I purchased the program. My writer’s soul, always looking for some path to organization, was in heaven.

Scrivener has a number of features that are useful. They were outlined in another article on this site, here. However, as with any tool, the more it does for you the more time you must invest to get the greatest return. Enter, Scrivener school.

One of the “lumpy” things about the program is converting the text to Word or some other program that your editor or beta readers can use to help you polish the work. All the tools are in the program, but it takes a bit to learn how to get what you want as an end result.

Joseph Michael has started a series of video tutorials.  The on I viewed was about 20 minutes and it teaches you how to export your work to Word, bring editorial comments back into Scriver, save changes and keep a workflow record. Snap shots of each stage can provide a wealth of information about what you may need to work on overall, what a particular manuscript may need, or why a change was made (which sometimes creates the need for others).

Scrivener is not just a tool to get black, letter-shaped pixel groups on a page. It is a program that used well can build your strength as a writer and bring a number of resources to your fingertips. Check it out!

Learning Scrivener Fast is a paid program produced by Michal Hyatt. The rates are quite reasonable and can actually help you learn some valuable writing techniques in the process of learning the program. I watched a free sample detailed above.

PS – it wouldn’t be a bad idea to help build the community on line.  You never know what quick hints you might pick up!



VICTORIA ADAMS is an accountant and financial analyst by profession, but numbers can get numbing. Not in a mood to allow her mind to glaze over, she has always found ways to be creative in her business career by helping in the growth, development or startup of many different kinds of enterprises. That creative spirit extended to many of her leisure activities where she pursued such things as pottery, needlepoint, gardening, and well just about anything that is creative. Her professional background has also made her a perpetual researcher. In this way she developed a deep love of philosophy, religion, history, archeology and anthropology. What she learns she loves to share so she has been a teacher and occasional speaker. For many years her husband tried to get her to share through writing. Now that she has tested the waters with her first book, which ironically was about the first year of learning to live with his dementia, she is ready to reach further and write the things he always wanted to see.


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