Ideas wanted for a talk I'm giving

Hi all,

This Saturday I’m giving a talk on Scrivener at BristolCon. Although I expect the majority of the audience will be new to Scrivener, there’s a good chance a number of them will also know the program from what I’m told by the organisers, so along with a general introduction to Scriv I’ll need to include some content that is interesting or useful to existing users.

So, my question is, if you were to attend a talk on Scrivener, what topics would you like to hear covered; what would be of interest for you?

BristolCon is a sci-fi convention, and the attendees to my little talk will therefore be predominantly sci-fi writers.


All the best,

How about discussing snapshots as time travelling, meta-data as parallel universes, collections as matter-rearrangement beams and compile via MMD as the ability to speak in Klingon!?!

{edit: these are actually all features that i think are züperscrivener things worth talking about}

I think you can’t go wrong by describing some of the different ways you can use Scrivener. So, you might suggest a scenario then describe how you’d set Scriv up and use its different tools to accomplish the task.

As well as the different ways you might write a story, I mean less obvious stuff like wrangling ideas, preparing for a talk, project management and so on. I know those aren’t the core purpose of Scrivener but I think it would show the flexibility it offers.

I’d also suggest you describe using it with NaNoWriMo and not forgetting a mention of the upcoming Windows version.

I think most people would find the story of how you came to create Scrivener interestingly too.

Good luck with the talk – I live near Bristol (and I’m a Sci-Fi fan) but can’t go unfortunately. Any chance of recording it as an audio or video podcast?

From my small experience trying to write Sci-fi, I think the most useful and interesting focus would be on collections, cork board, and quick reference panel. They are the features I find most useful in establishing and keeping track of imaginative fiction. (I’m reluctant to call most of my work – the non-sci-fi part – unimaginative, but when my head is in this world, I usually have a clear picture of where the story is going. Even when it winds up someplace else.) Writing… let’s call it speculative fiction, I need more help keeping track of things and people and places. Not simply what’s in the meta-data, but whole passages.

I see from the link that the focus is entirely sci-fi, of which I have no experience in writing terms, although I have read a fair bit. But if the focus is on writing rather than consuming then I feel that you might be doing Scrivener an injustice if you didn’t mention labels (with colour reflection in the binder), status, annotations, footnotes and snapshots. (I’m only excluding Bookends/cross-ref integration because I am not sure how relevant it might be to the field.)

If your audience is mainly new to Scrivener, those concepts may be hard to get across succinctly, but they do make a massive difference to my writing process in academic, fiction and non-fiction areas; family members (still at school but writing essays, projects and UCAS applications) tell me that those areas are important to them, too, although they appear to use them in different ways to me.

Good luck with the talk! :slight_smile:

If you are doing a ‘tips & tricks’ section, I urge you to share the scene-linking trick as elaborated on David Hewson’s recent blog: … cenes.html

As Hewson says: “Dead simple and immensely powerful for maintaining contact with the threads throughout your story.” And one of those little jewels that make Scrivener shine so brightly.

I’d acknowledge the extra work they need to put in as Sci Fi writers and talk about things like:

  • how Scriv can help you organise and keep at fingertips research
  • how you can use the corkboard and organisation tools not just for the Manuscript itself but for your creation of a world, characters, backstory, technology, etc etc.
  • linking scenes, collections, metadata to keep track of how certain technologies are used in your world - makes it much easier to keep it consistent or and to make changes if your ideas evolve as your draft matures.

For anyone thinking about producing a story told across several books, Scriv’s structuring and search of earlier books makes life so much easier. I wouldn’t want to plot a 12 book story arc with anything else!

Also mention robots. And Space Pirates.
And Robot Space Pirates.

Even to university audiences, I follow one rule: when discussing software, K.I.S.S.

My instinct would be to describe

functions (research, write, edit, publish),
layout (binder, editor, inspector, meta-data)
cool stuff for sic-fi writers (collections, layouts, fullscreen, corkboard)

Use one project for the basics; others to show varied usage scenarios.

And remind them of the video tutorials plus forum assistance.
The ultimate Space Invader being vic-k :slight_smile:

Definitely speak on keywords and (custom) metadata.

Scifi writers are, by necessity, researchers too. Emphasize the organizational aspects of Scrivener, how every electronic document or link you need to keep at hand will go into a Scrivener project. That was a revelation to me. Before that, I had links in my browser, documents that I tried to organized by project, but were eventually all over the place. Being able to import documents, even the kinds that Scrivener can’t open itself means that all of my backups are not just of my writing, but also my research material. You only have one thing to back up – one thing to copy – in order to safeguard your entire writing environment and make it portable.

I imagine a projector screen with a screenshot of just one Scrivener project in an otherwise empty finder window. “In this one project file, I have screen captures, photos, wikipedia page archives, research papers in pdf format, spreadsheets that open in Excel or Numbers, web URLs, snapshots of my rough draft, and of course everything that I have written for this book. All. In one. File.”

Better yet, Robot Space Pirates that have come to Earth with Rapid Fire Cupcake Guns.

Better than better yet… Robot Space Pirates that have come to Earth with Rapid Fire Cupcake Guns to Escape the Galaxy’s Draconian White Text on Blue Background Laws.

Don’t f’get t’ tell 'em that they’re pissing into the wind, when politely requesting a, 'Dummy’s/Idiot’s Guide to Scriv 1’s Tutorial, on the so called Tech Support Forum…or any other forum for that matter!!

szabi wrote:
Definitely speak on keywords and (custom) metadata.

'n what;s all this metadata stuff about? What is it? A randy rendezvous?

Part of me really, REALLY wants to write that!

You could call it “Red Velvet”.

Heh pigfender that’s not a bad idea!

Well, I WAS going to call it, ‘Nurse Purse and the Curse of the Inverse Universe’, but your choice… Opening paragraph:

‘The myriad stars of the Arial Galaxy stood out against the twilight sky like asterisks on a proper word processor, as Nurse Purse watched the massed starships of Space Legion XX ‘Typographica Pedanta’ loom into view overhead from her hide out on Comic Sans Prime…’

It’s not just that Scrivener is easy to start using - what instantly drew me was the promise it showed to help me organize piles of disparate types of notes. Got boxes full of notes on post-its, torn sheets of hotel stationery, notebooks, napkins? Bookmarks for hundreds of web sites? Scanned documents? Artifacts. interviews, iPhone videos?

And promise kept. Scrivener is even better at it than it looks. That’s to me the most important thing. Not ease of use, which is immediately apparent, but that in short order it becomes the best editing assistant you could possibly have and frees you up to do your work.

Slightly more on topic (me, I mean…)

If I were attending, I’d be interested in how Scrivener’s been used in anger by published writers - in essence a brief and suitably modest summary of Testimonials webpage highlighting some of the books / programmes written in Scrivener that they are likely to know, but with a little more detail on the methods used.