A couple of posts back I wrote about a recording and note-taking app called AudioNote. Now I will share my experience with a word-processing app called Scrivener that provides a format and tools beyond what MS Word and Apple Pages can do. It is compatible with both of these operating systems as well as with more industry-specific formats in publishing.
Even though I am proficient in probably forty percent of the tools this app offers, I love Scrivener. Beginning with the assumption that any long text is comprised of a collection of much shorter texts that need to be arranged in a cohesive manner, Scrivener allows you to create, organize, manipulate and revise these short sections and then compile them into longer texts.
To make it easy right off the bat, Scrivener offers basic templates for projects in book-length fiction, non-fiction, scriptwriting, poetry and lyrics, and other miscellaneous forms. Because I am working with memoir, I chose the novel template.
When you open this template, you will see a "binder format" that allows you to view the entire project at once and to create folders for each large chunk of text, as well as folders for each smaller section. In the case of a novel or memoir, this means I can create a folder for each chapter in the book and subfolders within that chapter folder for each scene. The beauty of this is that it allows the writer to seamlessly move between sections. If you get stalled on one scene, you can work on another.You can also choose to view the contents of each folder separately, clicking from one to another, or in "scrivenings" mode, view one continuous flow of text for each chapter, or for the book as a whole.
There is also a compose view that pulls up only the text you are working on and eliminates the tool bar at the top and binder on the side, as well as other views that I intend to explore more: one that shows individual texts dealing with different scenes or topics as index cards that can be switched around on a Corkboard, and one that provides an outline view to which can be attached labels or status markers (to do; first draft; second draft; done).
As I move into working on the second draft of my client's memoir, I look forward to learning more about the compile function, which provides front matter and compile settings for creating a manuscript using standard submission format, for creating a self-published paperback novel, or for exporting as an e-book.
Below the main binder, (the contents of which, when the project is completed, will be compiled into a final manuscript) Scrivener also provides character and location sketch sheets, a research folder into which web pages, videos, graphics or text can be imported, and a folder of sample output formats for different publishing options.
For writing assignments of any sort, Scrivener is an investment that will pay off with your first project.