Getting familiar with Scrivener.

Scrivener. I got this writing tool a while back but did not start using it for real until I got myself a MacBook Air. This was mostly because on my Windows machine the text was blurry, not sure why. On my Mac it’s not. Anyways, since I started using it as my main writing software I have gotten somewhat familiar with it and unlike most users (I think?) I use it for writing stage plays. The feeling I have is that Scrivener is primarily designed for writing novels but works really well for plays too and all the tools you have at your disposal for outlining and writing is pretty good.

I come from the desktop version of Celtx (also used Final Draft) but since they have stopped woking on/developing it and now focusing only on their web-version I have lost interest as I do want my software to be local on my computer and I do not like monthly fees. I can’t really say I miss Celtx now that I have gotten used to Scrivener. All the tools I used previously is also available in Scrivener. The Binder, once understood together with the compile-function is really handy and it’s really simple to organize a script and keep track of the story, regardless what type of script you are writing.

This is how I use the Corkboard-feature. And as you probably noticed, this is the latest version of Scrivener.

I am a fairly simple user: Corkboard; a few text documents such as Title Page, Settings and Characters; a folder for each act with it’s scenes in a separate document inside the respective folder. And that’s pretty much it. The labels I use is Other, Act, Scene and the Statuses I use is To do, First Draft, Revised Draft, Final Draft and Done. Pretty straight forward and simple. For each scene I add a small synopsis and if needed a short note, which by the way is awesome that they are always visible even if you enter the actual document and not having to go back and forth between the corkboard and the document. When it comes to the Compile-function I either compile to a PDF or for print, and since I use very little extra documents and folders it’s a simple process as I only include Title Page, Settings, Characters and the actual scenes, all with page-break. In that order.

I do not use the pre-made folder called Characters when writing a play. I have no need for it. Instead I create a new text document called the same and just add the names of the characters along with a short description. For me when it comes to descriptions of characters in a play I am not that interested in writing a detailed description of him/her. For a novel I understand the importance and usefulness of a specialized document with all the history, background and goals and all that. When it comes to a play I want the dialogue to present the character and open up for interpretation, for the actor, the director and the costume and make-up department. A description of a character can look something like this: “insane and lack orientation of what’s real and not. Becomes schizophrenic and violent. Is an actor.” Sure, that says quite a lot about the character but nothing about appearance, age, habits etcetera. And I tend to keep it just like that.

When it comes to fullscreen writing mode I tend to forget it’s there. I am okay with that, writing in the regular window works fine and as I mentioned above, having notes and synopsis’s readily available and always visible is awesome. I kind of loose track of what direction I want the scene to head when I get into a writing session. I would have liked to have the “always keep the active line in center” in the regular window too, a very nifty feature.

Overall I am very happy with Scrivener and more so now with the latest version. It’s cheap compared to other softwares but does not crap down on features, it adds rather. It might have a steeper learning curve than others but once you have getting used to it all it is truly a fully fledge word processing software for all kinds of writers out there.

Oh and by the way, if you wish to self publish, there is a feature in the compile-settings with allows you to create a file suitable for print and e-books.



Author: Alaska Frank

Who is Alaska Frank? Some would describe him as a strange fellow with really messed up ideas. Maybe that’s true as his scripts are pretty damn odd. And brutal. For me, Alaska Frank is my personal way to handle reality. He’s my alter ego I created long ago to match the way I feel. The name Alaska points to my cold heart and no feeling of regret or shame or any other feelings for that matter. Frank stands for my honesty to everyone in any given situation. Some might take this as something offensive and become mad or sad or both while others appreciate it. My alter ego Alaska Frank has grown over the years and has now, in recent times he has become a real person for me. Even if you can’t meet Alaska Frank in real person he exist within me and follows me everywhere and I can bring him out whenever I need him. This might sound odd, like I escape the reality, afraid to meet the harsh. This is not the case. Alaska Frank is me and has always been me. It’s just not until my later years I realized it. Call it an identity crisis. Or any other thing if you like. But the fact is – I am Alaska Frank. And will always be. And I identify myself with my own creation. The main occupation for Alaska is writing, mostly drama for the stage but at some occasions he also writes fiction novels and poetry. He is fond charmed by the things presented with an open mind, things created to think and philosophize about. A bit of odd dark humor thrown in to it does not hurt either. Alaska Frank is pretty open with his projects he’s working on and if you are interested you can read small and early synopsis-like presentations of a bunch of stories he has in the Upcoming project and Current Project-pages. Feel free to comment on everything you read on this blog, either it’s posts or pages. I will answer if there’s a question in hand. Something else you might want to know: Alaska Frank is from Sweden, hence his main language are not English. He writes in English for the simple reason to learn, so if you read any of the content on this blog feel free to comment on this matter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s