Creating A Scene with Scrivener

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 11.18.35 PMThanks to my dear writerly friend, Mina Witteman, I have recently fallen in love with Scrivener all over again.

I’m currently working on my YA thriller. It’s a novel with many twists and turns and it’s narrated from three points of view – two sisters and the anonymous killer who stalks their family.

I rarely use the same method twice when I’m writing a book – I’m always experimenting and looking for new ways to do things, although I’m sure that when I find the ‘perfect’ method, I’ll stick with it. I have to say that using Scrivener comes close. It really is a writer friendly program.

I have found that one of the best things about Scrivener is that it allows you to write in scenes.

This really suits my style of writing because it gets me thinking about the purpose of each scene and what’s actually happening in it.

It also lets me rearrange scenes if I think they might be in the wrong place – so I can look at  the overall plot of a draft and decide if the pacing is working. I can look at my turning points, whether there is increasing tension, whether there is adequate conflict.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 10.45.33 PMAs with my current WIP, I often write in multiple points of view so one of the Scrivener features that Mina showed me that works particularly well for me is the ability to give each scene a different colour label according to whose point of view it’s being told from.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 10.45.04 PMAnd when I’ve written the novel, I can look at the balance and see whether a character has been given too much emphasis or not enough.  I can see who is trying to take over my story, and who is fading into the background.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 11.09.07 PMOne of the other advantages of colour coding scenes is that you can actually include draft and final scenes in a single document so you can directly compare them and swap pieces of writing between drafts.

I hope this post and these screenshots help you make better use of your Scrivener.

Do you have any favourite Scrivener features? If so, feel free to share them in the comments section of this post.

Happy writing and Scrivenering:)




9 thoughts on “Creating A Scene with Scrivener

  1. Hi Dee, I’ve loved reading about your Nevada experience. Scrivener sounds wonderful, I like the fact that you can compare drafts, that would be very useful but I still find such a program a little scary. I’m still using Word and I do get a little lost at times. Maybe one day…
    Happy writing to you 🙂

  2. I share your love of Scrivener, Dee. It’s a lifesaver. I like how you can rearrange the scenes by clicking and dragging them into a different order. I also like the summary tab next to each scene so when I have an idea for a scene, I can make notes in the summary tab then use that as a reference when I eventually write it in full.

  3. Hi Bridget,

    I was a bit scared of Scrivener when I first used it. You have to experiment with it. There’s also a book that I’ve heard is good but I haven’t used it. I think it’s called Scrivener for dummies.

    Good luck:)


  4. Thanks Neridah,

    I like using a combination of Word and Scrivener – it depends on what I’m working on – but for novels, Scrivener is great.

    I hope your writing is going well:)


  5. I agree Marianne,

    It has so many wonderful features. It is great when you’re working on a new draft to have the notes to refer to. I used to write them on scraps of paper and lose them:)


  6. I love Scrivener too! And I really enjoy articles like this describing how others are using it. I know I’ve just begun to scratch the surface of its capability.


  7. Hi Dee,
    I agree that Scrivener is great for writing in scenes. I love being able to reorder them by just moving the titles around – so much easier than scrolling through Word. I also really like being able to write notes down the side of the scene, eg ‘make sure X appears in first chapter’, or ‘check when matches were invented’. And I like to set targets with the ‘Statistics’ tool – very gratifying when you reach your word count.

  8. I recently purchased the software for PC I lam so new to it it seems a tad frustrating but I promised myself I will give it a chance because I feel once I figure my way around it will be awesome structuring my scenes etc.

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