Scrivener Thoughts: Switching Computers and Updating Characters

As promised, here are more thoughts on my adventures with Scrivener so far. I recently switched to a different system for working on my writing, and in so doing, I found significantly more reason to love Scrivener.

To start, installing Scrivener on a new machine is a breeze. All you have to do is install the trial version, then copy and paste your serial number and account name into the given boxes. That’s it. You’re good to go. Coincidentally, this is the same process as your first installation after purchasing the software. While it might seem obvious to some that the process would be just as simple the second time around, I feel it’s worth mentioning because many web-service-authenticated pieces of software require uninstalling from your previous computer before installing on a new one, and this can often encounter hiccups of various sorts that make the process a little bit of a headache.

Not so with Scrivener. Their license grants your entire household permission to use the software, and they admit to being generous in how they apply the term “household.” I can’t tell you how impressed I am with that policy. It gives me the freedom to install it on every computer I work from, and extends me the kind of respect and trust that I appreciate enough to ensure I’m not abusing their generosity. Kudos to you guys!

Additionally, switching to a new system was as simple as copying and pasting the folder from lappy A to lappy B. Then I just opened the project and resumed my work. That was all it took. Even my settings for the project were all saved. While this might be the sort of treatment you expect from software these days, I still encounter plenty of programs that require a bit more work to get up and running, so I’m very thankful for Scrivener’s ease of use. Now if they could just connect it to a Google Drive or Dropbox API so that working files automatically backup to a cloud storage space, I’d be thrilled. I suppose I could just store my files in my Dropbox folder and work from there to have mobility, but an automatic cloud backup solution would still be nice.

My second bit of gratitude has to do with a recent writing task that I dreaded taking on. I started my new story with some character outlines thoroughly fleshed out and others only partially developed. I completed four chapters, arriving at a point that I felt was a good first leg of the book. Before going further, though, I wanted to make sure that I really understood my characters. So I went back into my character sheets and asked myself a lot of questions about each individual, from physical appearance to motivations. With that completed, I did some minor editing to ensure that the characters in the first four chapters really felt like their character sheets.

Of course, like most writers, I hate editing. Sure, it can be fun at times, but it’s nothing like the bliss of laying fresh words on a page to tell something entirely new. Thus, I was dreading this process. And while it wasn’t a breeze, it did end up being a bit easier than I had anticipated thanks to Scrivener’s search tools and the power it provides for splitting chapters into easily reviewed sections or scenes. To get exactly what I mean, you’ll have to try out the software or wait for a thorough tutorial if I ever decide to write one. Or just look one up. I’m sure they’re out there.

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In summary, I’m very happy with how easy it was to move my work to a new computer and how simple my small editing project turned out to be. I continue to be impressed with this software. Congrats, developers at Scrivener.

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