In writing, patience is a substitute for experience, if you're patient enough.
Eric C Bailey
Scrivener (PC macOS iOS) by Literature & Latte (L&L)
To start off the series about software that I use, Scrivener is a natural for first and most important.
Scrivener is an amazing, essential, timesaving software for authors. Before I go over the basics, a word about what it is NOT is in order.
It is NOT a WORD PROCESSOR.
A few more words:
1. If you are a computer newb, admit it and learn the computer basics BEFORE you try to use Scrivener.
2. Scrivener is a little more complex, a little deeper software program than most users are accustomed to. There is a solution. ...
Go through the FULL tutorial that L&L provides. I don't want to hear that you can't be bothered or don't have the time; do it anyway.
This is blunt, however sometimes people need blunt. If you can't take the time--two, three hours--to go through a tutorial for your main writing software, how the fuck are you ever going to write a novel? Or even a short story?
Scrivener is like an electronic binder that bundles all of your notes, research etc. together. Along with your manuscript/scenes that are (usually) what actually gets compiled. Yes, you control what it compiles, or exports into a document that will be the next step of your writing. As in a Word document, etc.
Having your writing broken up into scenes is important for other reasons. If you use ProWritingAid with Scrivener (recommended), it will open your un-compiled Scrivener file and allow you to step through it scene by scene.
Like similar programs, ProWritingAid has very high overhead and will choke on my computer, for example, as the word count for a scene approaches 2500 words. Being able to step through the Scrivener file scene-by-scene is a tremendous advantage.
Linguistic Focus: This is a writing tool from the Edit/Writing Tools drop menu or use Win+Ctrl+L. It fades anything that is NOT dialog. A little awkward to implement, but useful.
Highlight Current Line: does as stated, very useful.
Typewriter Scrolling: moves the line you are editing to the middle of the screen. So you don't have to always look at the bottom of the screen.
Search Results and Collections: Powerful search and collect functions. Again, go through the Full Tutorial.
Speaking Text: As most software do these days, it will speak your text, an amazingly powerful editing tool.
Many other features are available, but use what you want, what you need.
No software is perfect, and L&L are working on Scrivener's problem areas. However, there are solutions to the problems it has with saving to the cloud and compiling. (Remember, you have to compile to output your manuscript.)
Here is the secret to using software that doesn't always work the way you want or expect.
Don't do it that way.
1. Back up your files using ANYTHING but saving to a "cloud". Copy your file(s) to a second hard drive, to a thumb drive or to an external hard drive. Preferably all of the above. ...
2. Compile to a Word docx or rtf file, and format it in Word or ANOTHER word processor of your choice.
If you are on a Mac, I have heard excellent things about Vellum, although I have no first-hand experience with it.
Scrivener is amazing, powerful software, and despite what some people say, cheap. I paid $62.00 CAD for the Windows version, 1.9.XXX.
Even if I have to pay for the upgrade when the program is released as version 3.XX for Windows, an upgrade fee is only $25.00 CAD dollars. Like I said, cheap.
It shouldn't have to be said, but, Scrivener works for me. It may work for you. The only way to know is to try it. Scrivener has a demo version so check it out. ...
Below are links to a few short stories I wrote. The first three are the results from an exercise in 'voice' for the diyMFA 101 writing course I took in the spring of 2020. The fourth is the second short story I ever wrote, which I wrote as an entry for the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize.
Clicking a button will take you to my author website.