Tools For Easily Distracted Writers – Scrivener

I tried an experiment over the last couple of weeks.  I’ve finished rewrites and revisions of the black market organ transplant novel, and no, that’s not the kind of experiment I’m talking about.  Young Frankenstein.jpg

I used Scrivener writing software to manage my edits and revisions.

If you write, you’ve probably come across the writing platform distributed by Literature and Latte.  There are a dozen word processing programs, each capable of transferring your doodles to the screen.  Word, Pages, Libre, Open Office, Word Perfect, Final Draft the list goes on and on.  Much of the choice is personal preference, and the operating system on your magic word box.

Scrivener allows you to storyboard, research, draft and compose your fiction, or non-fiction work and compile it in several readable formats.  The thing that really drew me to the program was the ability to capture and file research materials, photos, maps, PDF’s, and store them all a mouse click away.

Everybody’s different in they way they approach a writing project.  I fill notebooks with interview notes, stuff loose press clippings inside, draw diagrams and storyboard ideas as I draft a novel.  Trying to find anything in that mess, when I need it, can be a frustrating adventure.  Scrivener’s research files are readily accessible in the project “binder,” so no more lost notes and no wasted time.  For me, each second away from the keyboard is a chance to succumb to the siren’s call of distraction.  And, I’m easy.

Something I didn’t plan on using was the program’s feature that allows you to build a detailed background sketch for each character making an appearance in your work.  I’ve kept a character’s physical descriptions in notebooks, or worse, tossed into that cobweb lined box between my ears, only to have the main character’s eyes magically change color from chapter to chapter.  If you take a break on a project to work on something else, all the information is there, waiting for you.

There is a handy little feature to leave notes to yourself about what little nuggets you want to weave into your story down the road.  Or, Hey!  You Got A Plot Hole Here the Size of a Greyhound Bus!  Fix Me!

The program can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but there are great tutorials built in to the installation package.  Through Twitter, I found a outstanding guide on Scrivener by Nicole Dionisio.  It’s well written and explains the major function of the program to someone (me) who may be a bit thick-headed at times.  It’s worth checking out.

I gradually gained confidence and liked using the program.  Scrivener seems very intuitive and helped me complete the novel rewrite.  Scrivener operates on PC, Mac,  and Literature and Latte announced an iPad compatible version is coming soon.


  1. Thanks for the info James.I had not heard of it, so this was very helpful. Happy writing now that you are no longer distracted (ya…right 🙂 )

    1. I’m sorry for the delay in responding…I was distracted. What can I say, I’m easy.

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