Writer’s Resources – Scrivener

Paul A. Cagle, Author of the Shadow-Borne Chronicles

October 18, 2016

I’m asked a lot of times, what sort of resources I use for my writing. Do I use Word? Where do I get my book covers? And the big one, how did I self publish? Okay, so sometimes I don’t even have to be asked, I just volunteer the information if I hear someone talking about self publishing. But I digress. I thought that I would do a series of posts about some of the methods and tools I use to write and publish. I know there are a lot of ‘how-tos’, seminars and pages dedicated to this topic, but this is my take. This is not a paid endorsement, nor am I saying these are the only tools out there. There are a lot of options, services and platforms to choose from and I wanted to share what works for me. This will be a list of the ones that I’ve used, heard of, or think are interesting enough to mention to fellow writers. Use your own judgement, and utilize the ones that work best for you.


To be a writer, one must write, and to write, one must have the proper tools.  I thought with this being my first blog post about all this that the first resource I would share would be the writing program that I use.  Scrivener, by Literature and Latte, is my word processing program of choice.  At $45 for Mac and $40 for Windows, it’s an affordable option.  You may have heard other writers extolling the virtues of Scrivener and be thinking, ‘not this again’.  If you’ve heard this one before, I apologize.  In the spirit of honesty, I will tell you that Scrivener can be intimidating to use at first and there is a learning curve.  But, that aside, Scrivener has an amazing set of features and options that accommodates writers of all styles.  There’s no way I can cover all of the options in one post, and honestly I’m still discovering ways in which this program can help me become a better, more productive writer.  Below are some of the options that I have found useful and utilize on a regular basis.

Scrivener for Mac and Windows – $45/$40



Using folders, you can break your writing up into manageable pieces.  I’ve used other writing programs that allow you to create an unending scroll of chapters and words with no real breaks or sections.  It can be intimidating looking at the first 5,000 words you’ve written and trying to figure out what to add, change or take out.  As writers, we have challenges-a-plenty, so why add another one?  With Folders you can set up acts, chapters or scenes as you see fit.  Within each Folder you can write your story, add notes, pictures or include any other number of useful information.  You are only limited by your imagination.   Did I mention that you can drag and drop these folders to rearrange the sequence of your story if you want?  Neat, huh?  With Folders, Scrivener gives you, the writer, the power to break up the story as you see fit and gives you the ability to manage those pieces more effectively and productively.  Believe me, it makes writing easier.

Corkboard and Outliner Views

As a writer, have you ever looked at the bulk of your unfinished manuscript and wished that you could get a break down of each chapter to make sure you were on track?  Using either one of these options will allow you to do just that.  With Corkboard or Outliner (synopsis) view you can get a feel for where your story is going and continue writing or make changes and you see fit. I use the Corkboard option often to get a feel for the mood and pace of my story.  You can also use these two options to outline your story before you even start writing!

Project Target

Project Targets is an option I use every time I work on a novel.  Once you have Project Targets open, OPTIONS allows you to set your deadline date to complete the novel (you can even choose on which days you want to write) and EDIT allows you to input your novel’s total word count goal.  Once you do that, voila, Project Targets tells you how many words you have to write, based on the days you specified, to reach your goal.  During a writing session it not only shows you the current total word count, but also keeps track of how many words you’ve written during that session, how many words you need to reach your daily target and alerts you when you’ve reached your goal!  It’s an awesome tool to show you what you need to do to reach your goal, and it works.  Project Totals can be found under PROJECT-SHOW PROJECT TARGET.

Compile for export or print

To create an ebook, there are companies and services out there that will convert your manuscript into a Kindle or EPub file for a fee (some of which are expensive).  With Scrivener, you can do it yourself!  Compile for export or print is an option on Scrivener that allows you to turn your amazing work of literary genius into an ebook of literary genius, and it’s not that difficult.  Admittedly, it looks daunting and there are a lot of options, but don’t let it intimidate you. There are a lot of good websites, courses and simple resources available to walk you through any issues you might come up against.  Believe me, if I can figure it out, anyone can.  For additional information check it out on Literature and Latte’s webpage by clicking here.

Scrivener for iPad and iPhone

Literature and Latte now offers an iPad/iPhone app for writing or editing on the go.  It syncs your current work via Dropbox, and allows you to create, correct or edit from your iPhone or iPad.  Now, there is literally no reason you can’t finish your novel, even while you’re traveling.  It has the same features as the Mac and Windows versions and costs $19.99.  I bet Alexander Graham Bell never imagined that anyone would be writing novels on their phones.  Welcome to the future!


These are just a few of the reasons why I use Scrivener and there are plenty more, believe me.  Literature and Latte offers a 30 day free trial so you can try it for yourself with no obligation.  If you currently use Scrivener, what is your favorite feature?  If you decide to try it out, let me know what you think.

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