A Scrivener adoptee

I’m new to Scrivener and using a Mac. I’ve even bought a brand new MacBook Air for portability to aid with my writing.

However, I’m also a newbie writer. I’m 33 years old and have been developing a story in m head, writing endless notes, carrying out research etc for several years. It has now snowballed to the point where I feel like I could make a good first draft and take I from there.

I was wondering what other software is recommended to digitise my hard copy notes, create story maps etc. also, any other advice in general before I write the first draft? I’ve already read several books on plotting, character development etc so have a fairly good sense of direction but advice never hurts!

Cheers all!

Well an obvious-in-hindsight first answer is Scrivener itself. :slight_smile: The project format is specifically designed to accommodate dumping your background and research material in, and having that resource located directly in your binder can be very handy. There are some practical constraints (rather than limits). For example whenever you close your project Scrivener creates a backup. 99% of the time this is fine because even a large novel doesn’t take up much space on your drive, and the backup will be done so fast you won’t even know it took place. Things change when you approach a gigabyte of material, but when you choose to bail on storing everything in a project is up to the speed of your computer and personal level of patience. Some people have no problem waiting 20 or 30 seconds for a project to close, others start to see red after ten seconds.

If that point approaches, you could consider relocating the data outside of the project and then bring it back in with File/Import/Research Files as Aliases, which just stores the link to the item, rather than all of its data. I’d encourage either of these approaches unless you have a strong objection to keeping supporting material and WIP material in two different “buckets”. Being able to cross-link a scene to the character sheets of the characters involved in it, having your scanned notes in one split and book text in the other split and having notes come up in searches along with book content are all things that I consider to be a valuable part of what makes Scrivener so efficient.

Otherwise there are some good programs out there for storing large amounts of information. DEVONthink is a favourite around here, and they have a good reputation for making a solid and well maintained product. EagleFiler is a personal favourite of mine, for general database storage. If you want to go minimal, Finder+Spotlight+Tags (when Mavericks comes out) is nothing to sneeze at.

Oh, and if you are looking for a timeline program, check out Aeon Timeline, as it can sync with Scrivener.

Cheers for that!

Personally, loading/saving times isn’t an issue (unless it’s into the minutes), and I’d rather sacrifice that to have everything I need in the one place. Therefore, I’ll probably opt for the saving everything into the binder option.

The Aeon timeline tool looks quite handy too. How does it sync with Scrivener exactly?

Basically you can tie an “event” from the timeline to a particular piece of the outline in the Scrivener binder. This will add information to Scrivener as well, using its custom meta-data system. You could for example, sort by event date in a list of scenes that are otherwise told out of order in the narrative.

Does that work from Scrivener to Aeon as well? i/e can you add to tied events in Scrivener and make that appear in Aeon? :slight_smile: