I’m a visual learner and one of those people who recalls things much easier if I’ve written it down or seen it written down. So recently I was playing around with a program called Scrivener because it has a nifty cork board with note cards for scene notes or whatever. There’s even the ability to add a character’s picture along with a character study/worksheet. Participants in Camp NaNoWriMo get it free for the month of July, so I figured why not try it. There are a bazillion testimonies from authors who use it and some people seem to feel they’d be lost without it.
It’s really cool, but to be sure I’d use it, I’d have to play with it a lot more. That probably means buying it. It’s not at all expensive, but at this point I’m not sure it’s right for me. The why connected with that statement lies in my experience with Word.
I guess I’d be considered a ‘power’ user of Microsoft Word, because I utilize a lot more of the features than most people. With my manuscripts, I work in Document Map mode with chapter headings and first lines of each scene as my outline. That way I can move easily from chapter to chapter without ever having to open another file. I’ve made style sheets to make that task easy.
While playing with Scrivener, I discovered that I really like having the character’s picture available during their point of view scenes, but I felt like moving about in the manuscript was more clunky than with Word. There were a few other things that were hampering my writing progress, so I switched back to Word, brought up a new file, added my hero and heroine’s pics, then told Word I wanted to view the two files side by side without synchronous scrolling. Bingo!
The picture file utilized is about the size of a blog sidebar while the manuscript file fills the rest of my screen. It works beautifully and I love, love, love seeing the face of my character as I write. It’s so much easier for me to look at that picture and know how the character would react or how they will say something.
What say you readers out there? Should I give the Scrivener program more time before ruling it out, or stick with what’s working for me now?