I managed to get through Camp Nanowrimo last month, for which I pledged thirty hours of editing on Odd Duck.

While I didn’t get an entire edited manuscript out of it, I did get nine solid chapters, a couple of new friends, and some Winner Goodies, including a nice discount price on a piece of writing software I’ve been eyeing.


Scrivener puts everything I use to write—a word processing program, a file manager, multi-document views, sidebar comments, word searches, images etc.—conveniently on one screen, and throws in my magnetic wall-board and beloved 3×5 cards as well.

It offers manuscript stats, too—including word usages, for those of us with small repetition problems—as well as writing targets, if you want them.

I spent the weekend importing my chapter files, inputting information on my characters and settings, and organizing my corkboards. Changing arrangements is often as easy as dragging-and-dropping and there are several ways to arrange and tag items in the “binder” (aka, the file manager on the left side), either by icon or color or both.

Scrivener Characters

I’m not sure if the Compile or Formatting features will work for me, yet—I’ll report on those when the time comes—but by the time I’m finished, I’ll have a wonderful Book Bible for Odd Duck.  That’s worth the full licensing fee, right there.

One of the best features so far is the split screen.  While I was getting screenshots for this post, I ended up doing a bit of spontaneous editing between two documents—couldn’t help myself.

Scrivener Editing

The lock screen is also pretty handy, I won’t lie—the split screens got a little . . . flippy . . . before I learned to lock the main one down.  That’s all on me, though, and clearly, Scrivener was prepared for my bad eyesight and subsequent bouts of spasmodic clicking.

On sound advice from a friend (hi, Christina!),  I installed Dropbox on my desk computer and my laptop this morning, so I can easily write at my usual haunts without worrying about synching versions or, heaven forfend, copying over the wrong $#!&% one, as I have been known to do.

Or forgetting/washing/misplacing my flash drive.

The only trouble I’m having at the moment is that Scrivener, logically enough, doesn’t understand the common Microsoft commands (undo, redo, spelling, thesaurus, replace, em-dashes, etc.) I’ve hardwired into my brain.  But as soon as I figure out how to customize the toolbar for those, I’m golden.

I’m sure there will be a few glitches along the way, but so far, so good.  Basically, I’ve gone from this:


To this:

Scrivener CorkboardAnd that’s a definite improvement.