Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Many writers now are using the “powerful content-generation tool” called Scrivener to generate their powerful content. I don’t, but hearing about it has made me feel like I’m missing out in some unknown way, even though I’m generating plenty of content just typing away on my Mac. I guess I don’t quite appreciate the innovative features the program offers, like the “binder” and “corkboard,” which must be something like a binder and a corkboard, only purer, with more binderness and corkboardness than the genuine articles. With Scrivener you can use “index cards” that look like old-fashioned index cards, with virtual “pushpins” in some modes, if you like. You can “shuffle” these cards “around” and put them in different “order,” just like in real life. And you can write snippets of powerful content and “insert” them into your document and rearrange “them” at will.
Here’s some powerful content that the Scrivener web site uses as an example of the kinds of things you can do with this software:
Emma saw the giant tentacle quivering outside the window. Her knowledge of marine biology being light, at first she mistook its tentative exploratory movements for the gentle concessions of a willow to the wind; it was only when the glass shattered and she found herself in the cephalopod’s clammy embrace that she thought to pull the Uzi from her garter.*
I’m being facetious, of course. I can actually see the benefits of this kind of tool, and I might even give it a shot in a free 30-day trial. Truth is, I’m old enough to remember being a little skeptical of this thing called the “word processor” back in the eighties, though I broke down and bought an Apple II in ‘86, along with clunky software called PFS Write. It really helped.
Before that I typed on a typewriter. Or, in practice, I’d write in longhand and then type a draft, mark it up, then retype it. There was a time, in college, when I didn’t have access to a copy machine and had to resort to carbon paper, for chrissakes, which is something you kids want no part of. Be glad you were born when you were! I also went through a period of cutting and pasting — literal cutting and pasting, not “cutting” and “pasting” like nowadays on Word. I’d scissor out passages from one page and tape them onto another, then retype the whole thing again. Talk about tedious. And don’t get me started on the stuff called Wite-Out…
So things are getting better and more efficient, and I might have to become a late adapter in this case and pop for a copy of Scrivener one day. The only problem is, I’ve been doing things the way I’ve been doing them for so long that I’m afraid I’ll spend too much time futzing with my “corkboard” and “index cards” and not enough actually writing.
*Real quote. No kidding.