One of the main issues with supporting a deep program such as Scrivener is providing enough help and tutorial materials. Although it’s relatively straightforward to pick up and start using Scrivener, it can be used in many different ways, and while our tutorial and Help manual are thorough, we’re aware it would be really useful to provide some more workflow-oriented tutorials and walkthroughs. To this end, we’ve already decided to put some time aside after releasing 2.1 (out soon) to write some more tutorials for the Knowledge Base wiki, and to put some more screencasts together.
Fortunately, however, some great new learning materials for Scrivener are now available from third parties. Two e-books have just been released covering different aspects of the program, one a fantastic introduction to all of Scrivener’s main features written by a senior contributor to Macworld magazine, and another written by a bestselling author explaining exactly how he uses Scrivener for his own novels. There is also an upcoming online course dedicated to using Scrivener run by Outreach International Romance Writers (a branch of Romance Writers of America – although you don’t need to be a romance writer to take part in the course).
Take Control of Scrivener 2 from TidBITS Publishing
We’ve worked with TidBITS Publishing, creators of the popular “Take Control” series of e-books covering many Mac applications, to sponsor Take Control of Scrivener 2. Using Melville’s Moby Dick as his exemplar, author and senior Macworld contributor Kirk McElhearn walks you through using Scrivener to create and manage a writing project. Kirk takes readers through using Scrivener’s binder, outliner and corkboard to develop characters and settings, collecting and organising research materials, and arranging scenes.
The book covers how to keep yourself on track by composing in Scrivener’s Full Screen mode and by setting daily progress targets, building up to producing a manuscript ready for submission or self-publishing. It also contains quotes from published authors on how they use Scrivener, including David Hewson, James Fallows, Jason Snell, Jeff Abbott, and Michael Marshall Smith.
Although it uses Moby Dick as an example, Take Control of Scrivener 2 is not aimed only at fiction writers but is a general guide to using Scrivener. If you’ve been through the tutorial but want a more hands-on guide written by someone with a bit more distance from Scrivener, and who has years of experience explaining software to a general readership, you may want to give Kirk’s e-book a whirl. A sample of the contents can be found here:
Take Control of Scrivener 2 comes in both PDF and ePub formats (you get both), so you can view it on your iPad, and costs $10. You can buy it from the tidbits.com site or directly from our store here:
Writing a Novel with Scrivener by David Hewson
David Hewson, the bestselling author of the Nic Costa series of crime novels, has long been providing readers of his blog with insights into how he uses Scrivener. Following popular demand, he has now written a full e-book on this very subject.
Writing a Novel with Scrivener assumes some knowledge of Scrivener (making it a great companion to the Take Control book or to our own Help materials). In it, David explains all the features of Scrivener he finds useful for writing his own novels, including how he uses keywords and collections to keep track of individual character storylines, keeps an “Unplaced Scenes” folder for writing ideas out of sequence, uses the “Append Selection to Document” feature for quickly assigning character descriptions to a character document, and much more.
As David explains from the outset, Writing a Novel with Scrivener isn’t intended as an explanation of every feature, but rather how one working, bestselling novelist makes use of the features he needs for his own workflow and hides the ones he doesn’t – and along the way he exhorts users to find what works best for them, too.
Writing a Novel with Scrivener is available from Amazon and requires a Kindle or Kindle software (so you can read it on a Kindle or on Kindle for the Mac, iPad or iPhone). The entire book was written using Scrivener 2.0 and created using Scrivener’s .mobi exporter. For further details, including links to the Amazon pages for the countries in which it is available, please see the announcement on David Hewson’s own site here:
Online Workshop from OIRW (Outreach International Romance Writers)
For those of you after a little more personal tutoring in the ways of Scrivener, Gwen Hernandez is currently running online workshops covering all the main aspects of using Scrivener through OIRW (a chapter of Romance Writers of America, although you do not need to be a romance writer or a member to participate). Gwen has written numerous incisive tutorials on various aspects of Scrivener over the past few years, which can be found on her site:
Her online course is entitled “More than Word: Getting the most from Scrivener for Mac”, and is aimed at beginning and intermediate users of Scrivener. Topics include using the binder, splitting and merging files, snapshots, split screen, collections, keywords, working with labels, templates, full screen mode and more.
The first course is running right now and is already fully subscribed, and we’re hearing a lot of fantastic feedback from the people taking it. The next one will be taking place in August and will be announced on the OIRW site soon, so if you’re interested I recommend keeping an eye on the OIRW site or on Gwen’s own site (click on “Scrivener” at http://www.gwenhernandez.com ) or Twitter feed.
We’re over the moon that Kirk and David have decided to make Scrivener the focus of their most recent books, and that Gwen has made it the focus of her online seminar, and I hope that their work proves useful to Scrivener users out there who are looking for practical guides beyond our own help materials.