Bestselling author Natasha Lester loved Scrivener so much she created a course about it!

Perth author and AWC presenter Natasha Lester’s love affair with Scrivener has been going on for many years. In fact she loved it so much she created AWC’s self-paced course 2 Hours to Scrivener Power.

Natasha is the award-winning author of five novels The Paris Seamstress, Her Mother’s Secret, A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, If I Should Lose You and What is Left Over, After.  

Scrivener is a powerful and easy-to-use program that has become a must-have for authors and long-form writers all over the world. Whether you are writing an epic fantasy or non-fiction book, Scrivener is ideal because it has been custom-built for authors. Many authors will only write their manuscripts in Scrivener – instead of Word – because it’s so much easier to arrange information, move around chapters, develop characters and plot your work.

“I’ve long thought it the most perfect piece of writing software. So when I heard they were updating the program, I wondered how they could possibly make it any better. But they did!”

Here are Natasha’s three favourite things about the new Scrivener 3.

The Threaded Corkboard

Image: Tracking Threads on Corkboard

Scrivener’s corkboard was already a fabulous tool for overviewing your manuscript and allowing you to easily experiment with moving scenes around to see what effect it might have on your story. The Threaded Corkboard takes this to a new level.

“The books I write have dual timelines. Plus each timeline has a main plot and a secondary love story subplot that I like to keep track of. I use Scrivener’s label feature to do this so I can easily see at a glance how often I’m alternating between timelines, and also between subplot and main plot within each timeline. This means I can quickly tell if one timeline has gone on for too long, or if I’ve forgotten the subplot entirely, or any of the other pacing problems that might occur when juggling multiple story strands.

“With a threaded corkboard, so long as I’ve applied a label to each scene, I can isolate just one timeline or just the main plot or just the subplot and see its progression on the corkboard. There was no way to do this previously; corkboard view would simply show me every scene in the order  in which they appeared in the manuscript. Now, the corkboard will still show me each scene but divided into separate threads: one thread for each timeline and one thread for each plot and subplot. This makes it so much easier to keep track of the pace within each story strand, as well as the pace overall.


Image: Linking a pdf to a scene using Bookmarks

“I have a lot of research material loaded into my Scrivener project. Photos, pdfs, websites; you name it, it’s there. Previously, to view a photograph whilst working on my manuscript, I could call up a separate window to view it alongside a scene, or create a hyperlink in a scene which would call up the linked photo. This worked okay, but bookmarks make this much more seamless.”

Using bookmarks allows you to link a photo or pdf or website to a scene and then have it permanently viewable via the Inspector.

“This saves so much time; each time I open a scene, my linked photo is immediately available in the Inspector. You can have multiple bookmarks in a scene, and you can even bookmark a document to make it available in every scene. If you have research documents, you will definitely want to try out this feature.”

Linguistic Focus 

Image: Highlighting adjectives using Linguistic Focus

“This is another very cool feature. Simply highlight a block of text, select Linguistic Focus and then choose what you would like to focus on, anything from direct speech to adverbs to adjectives. Scrivener will fade out any text that isn’t direct speech say, and show you only the speech elements of that scene.

“If you have a tendency to avoid direct speech and would like to keep an eye on how much you are using, this is a brilliant way to do it. Or, if you, like me, love a good adjective, then you can quickly and easily see just how often in a scene you’ve let your love of adjectives loose. It’s a great tool for the nitty gritty of line editing.

“Of course, there are a whole lot more wonderful tools in the program so I encourage you to test them out and see what you love.”

So that’s it! Natasha’s three fabulous new features for you to try in the new Scrivener 3. She is also Presenter for AWC’s How to Write a Bestseller, Pitch Your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers and of course,  2 Hours to Scrivener Power.

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