Scrivener – a shout out for outlining

I’ve found a great piece of inexpensive software that has revolutionised the way I outline my writings. It’s called Scrivener and if you haven’t heard of it before read on…

Scrivener is designed for all kinds of writers who write all kinds of things. The one thing it’s great at enabling is the simple and efficient organisation of longer, more complex writing works.

You can download a demo here and there are plenty of online tutorials including YouTube ones which I found far more useful than books or even the introductory tutorial. That is, once I’d defined exactly what I wanted out of the software.

I use Fade In to actually write scripts. It’s amazing, dedicated and easy to use – and above all, I find, perfect for the actual act of putting scenes, action lines and dialogue down on a page.

Where I was struggling was in the process that generally comes before script writing – outlining. In fact, outlining for me has always been a nightmare. At best I’d be surrounded by a mess of paper and notes. At worst I’d just try and write a script straight out.

Both methods resulted in a pickle because, to be honest, my head is not particularly organised at the best of times.

Scrivener has a system of files and folders plus a corkboard feature that once mastered makes the outlining process a breeze. More importantly, having put several of my longer scripts through it, it shows up plot and character weaknesses and easily enables elements of a story to be moved, interchanged and added to or subtracted from.

It’s changed the way I write for the better and, if you give it a go, you may find the same thing too.

Oh, and a tip of sorts. I don’t bother with the templates Scrivener offers, I just use a blank document and build up the outline from there. And, I’ve found, there’s no need to learn everything about Scrivener. Just focus on the bits you need and the learning curve won’t feel like climbing Everest.

Scrivener for outlining, Fade In for writing. A perfect combination. Could it work for you?