The Gadgets of Writing: Scrivener Part III

January 21, 2015

Welcome to the part where we finally get down to business: using Scrivener to write!

And this will be the smallest blog post and the easiest part to grasp.  So here we go.

Folders for writing:


Using To Save a Viscount again here.  This is the breakdown how I manage the actual writing.

In the right sidebar, you have your manuscript.  That’s actually stated at the very top inside the purple box.  And below that, you have the option to add folders and text.


I use folders to divide my work into chapters.  That’s how my brain works, but you can organize the sections however you wish.  The point is to break up a 90,000 word novel into something that is manageable.

Perhaps your story has parts.  You may want to create folders labeled by part, and then create sub-folders labeled by chapters within those parts.  It’s using the folders to your advantage to make the portion of the manuscript you’re working on smaller and easier to tackle.


This is the part that lets you actually write.  It functions largely like a word processing program allowing you to change fonts, spacing, and using special functions like italics and underline.  I use several texts within a folder to divide up my scenes.  Again, this is how it works for me.  It may be different for you if you conceptualize your manuscript in a different way.

The last thing I want to get into is exporting, because after you write the manuscript, you need to get it out of Scrivener somehow, right?


Scrivener lets you compile (or export) your manuscript in several different formats including Word, PDF, Open Office, Rich Text, etc.

As a digital publisher, there are two formats I’m concerned about: epub and mobi.  Why?  Epub is the format used by all digital publishers except Amazon, which uses a .mobi file.

So let’s compile a .mobi file:


Okay, let’s pick this apart.

At the very top of the screenshot, you see a red square.  This highlights the compile button that let’s this menu drop down.

Next let’s talk about the purple arrows.  Here you can select the portions of your manuscript to include in the compile, if you want a page break before them, and if you want to text to be compile as it is in the document or if you want Scrivener to change it somehow when it extracts it.

Finally in the green squares, you have options for changing various parts of the final document.  In separators, I choose to use a ~ to separate my scenes.  KindleGen in the plug-in that lets you extract the file in the .mobi extension.  And the meta-data.  Now, I would hate to shock all of you, dear readers, but Jessie Clever is not my given name.  So Scrivener is actually registered under my given name.  I need to go in and change the meta-data (data about data or in this case, data about your manuscript like who wrote it and when) or people are going to think To Save a Viscount was written by someone else!  (Full disclosure: Jessie Clever was my given name until October 8, 2011 at which point I went to Disney World.  At least, that’s how my husband remembers it.)  So always be sure to check your meta-data before you compile!

So there you go:

Week 1: Scrivener overview

Week 2: Characters, places and research, oh my!

Week 3: Writing and compiling

Again, I hope you use this as an overview to understand the basics of how Scrivener works and how I use it to write more efficiently.

For more information, check out the website of the guys who make the program.

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