New Five Week Course Starts March 2nd!

If you missed the last session, a new five week private class is scheduled and it starts March 2nd. What to expect? Well, here’s a breakdown:

  • A daily tutorial Monday-Friday.
  • The lesson should take no more than 60 minutes to read through and do the homework.
  • A Scrivener group on Facebook for students who have signed up for the class. Here you can ask more questions, post screenshots, trouble shoot and share organizational writing tips.

Here’s what 25 days of lessons consist:

  • An email with what to expect from the lesson.
  • New for this session: A List of Command Shortcuts for each lesson
  • New for this Session: Weekly Quiz
  • New for this Session: Weekly preview and recap

Week One
Lesson 1: Starting a new project in Scrivener
Lesson 2: The Editor
Lesson 3: The Inspector: Synopsis, General Meta-Data, and Document Panes
Lesson 4: Scrivenings Mode
Lesson 5: The Corkboard

Week Two
Lesson 6: Outliner and Custom Meta-Data
Lesson 7: Split Screen Mode

Lesson 8: Document and Project Notes
Lesson 9: The Scratch Pad
Lesson 10: Customizing Layouts

Week Three

Lesson 11: Composition Mode
Lesson 12: Project Find and Replace
Lesson 13: Document Find and Replace
Lesson 14: Project Targets
Project 15: Project and Text Statistics

Week Four

Lesson 16: Sanpshots
Lesson 17: In Annotations
Lesson 18: Comments
Lesson 19: Collections
Lesson 20: Splitting and Merging Documents

Week Five
Lessons 21-25: Compile

Bonus Week Six
Question and Answer Week

Tuition is $200.00 made payable via PayPal. To sign-up for the class contact me at

New Month-Long Tutorial Starts January 12th

To kick off the year, I am offering a one month beginner’s Scrivener tutorial for Mac and Window’s versions starting January 12, 2015 through February 13, 2015. The cost of the class is $200.

Students will receive an email Monday through Friday with step-by-step instructions, screen-shots illustrating examples of how your workspace should look, and homework assignments. Reading through the material and completing the homework assignments should take no longer than 60 minutes.

I am available via email to answer questions and to trouble-shoot problems. For this session, I am currently accepting 20 students for this session. Registration for the class closes on January 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm EST. To register, please email me at

Custom Layouts

Wow! It’s been a long time since I posted. My excuse…lots of writing projects, and the Outlining in Scrivener course. I should add that in January I’ll be teaching a Scrivener for Windows course. More details to come in the next couple of weeks.

So…let’s go over Custom Layouts. I showed how you can customize the tool bar and workspace, but you can also customize the layout as well.

Here’s my standard layout: The Binder is open where I can see my folders in the draft section and the various folders in the research area. The Inspector is open as well. This is the way I normally like to work.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.11.43 AM

One of the neat features that Scrivener has is the ability to recall exactly where you stopped typing. It also remembers your layout. So give this a try. Type a sentence or two, and place the cursor between the two sentence. Hide the Binder and the Inspector. Close the project, and reopen it. See? It’s exactly how you left it.

So let’s fiddle a bit with the layout. Scrivener provides you the option to change and save your layouts. You can create several layouts for different phases of the writing process.

To create a new layout for both Mac and the Windows version, first create the layout you want to save, followed by going to Window->Layouts->Manage Layouts (or in click the Layout Manager icon in the tool bar).  A window will open, and as you can see I’ve created a handful of layouts.

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 2.59.20 PM

To save a layout, create one that you use often for all your projects, and follow these steps:

1. Create layout

2. Go to Window->Layouts->Manage Layouts

3. Click on the plus (+) sign at the foot of the Layouts window. A field box will open. Name the layout. To use that layout, hit Use.

To delete the layout, select it and click on the minus sign (-). To modify the layout, make your changes, and in the Layouts manager, click on the gear wheel (actions menu) and select Update Selected Layout. Close the window and you’re done.

Text Comments

There’s no question that inline annotations are a neat feature. I love that I can drag an image into the bubble so I know what or who I want to describe, but the minimalist in me screams that the page gets too busy and the notes interrupt the flow of reading. Scrivener provides a Comments feature where you can still write notes to yourself that refers to the text and: Comments.

Let’s say that you’ve marked up the manuscript with inline annotations. You’re crossed-eyed from all the different colored notes with their codes and now you wish you wrote comments instead. Guess what? You can change those annotations into comments. Firs select the items in the Binder you want to make the change to comments. If you happen to be in the Corkboard or Outliner view, switch over to Scrivenings to display the editor. Now click anywhere within the Editor to activate it. Simply follow these steps to create comments:

1. Go to Format->Convert->Inline Annotations to Inspector Comments. You’ll see in the two  illustrations below that the inline annotations disappear and are replaced by a colored link around the nearest word. The link color matches the annotation color, as does the comment in the sidebar to the right.

Text with Inline Annotations

Text with Inline Annotations

Inline Annotations turned into Comments.

Inline Annotations turned into Comments.

If you want to skip inline annotations altogether and just work with comments instead, just click the spot in the text where you want to link a comment, or select with your mouse the section you want to comment on. Then go to Format->Comment. Or click on the comment icon in the toolbar. When the comment comment appears in the sidebar, type your comment, and click outside the Comment text box to save it.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 9.09.11 AM

If you want to edit or delete a comment, double-click in the Text box and type the edit. To delete, click on the X in the text box. Don’t like the light yellow of the comments? You can change the color the same way you changed it with inline annotations by following these steps:

1. Select the comment you want to change in the Comments and Footnotes pane (the sidebar to the right).

2. Format->Font->Show Colors. The Colors window will open

3. Select the desired color. The selected comments will change to the new color.

When you’ve reached the point of wanting to address your comments and make changes in the text within the document,  you can click on the comment in the comment box in the Comments and Footnotes pane. When you click on the comment, you’ll see the highlighted text in the editor “jump out” showing that it’s activated.

If you want all your comments and annotations in a list in a separate document that’s print ready. You can export them by following these steps:

1. For specific comments in specific documents, select those documents in the Binder.

2. To export all the comments and annotations, go to File->Export->Comments & Annotations.

3. In the Save As field, type in the name of the file and select where you want  to save the file

4. If you want to export comments and annotations for certain files selected in the Binder, check the box that says Selected Documents Only, and to organize comments and annotations by document titles, select Include Titles.

6. Click Export

Et voilá!  The comments are exported in an RTF file to your chosen location. You’ll see the title of the document and inline annotations appear below it in the same typeface as the document. Comments are in the same typeface and size that appears in the sidebar.


Exported Inline Annotations and Comments.

Exported Inline Annotations and Comments.

And there you have it! With all your inline annotations and comments exported, revising your opus becomes a cinch!



Inline Annotations and a Special Treat

Do you print out your WIP and start writing notes to yourself about researching or moving a section of the document to another area? Or commenting on a section that needs more tension?

Scrivener has a two features that allow you to mark up your manuscript with Annotations and Comments.

Inline annotations are notes that you can insert anywhere in the text. Think of them as a circled note you jotted down paper above the sentence and you use that carat mark as insertion so it’s visible when you make your revisions. It’s the same concept in Scrivener. You can use inline annotations when you want the notes to be very visible, right on the page. You can even insert images and hyperlinks directly into the annotation and later remove it when you compile your work.

To create inline annotations, position the cursor to where you want the inline annotation to start. Choose Format->Inline Annotation and type in your note.

Inline Annotation

Inline Annotation

The text appears in a red bubble. A few things you should look at: there’s a lack of spacing around the annotation. Extra spaces before or after the annotations appear in your compiled manuscript after you strip out those annotations. In other words, don’t fiddle with the spacing or it will screw it up when you compile. To add buffer space, make sure they’re in the annotation.

To turn it off, click outside the bubble to exit or return to Format-Inline Annotation. From there you can resume typing in the normal fashion.

Let’s say that you color-code your annotations. Red is for characters, blue is for changes in dialogue, green is strictly for plot changes. You can change the color of the inline annotation to follow your color code simply click inside the annotation there’s no need to select it. Choose Format->Font->Colors and pick the color you want for that note. You’ll see that both the bubble and the text change to the new color.

Changing the annotation's color

Changing the annotation’s color

If you want to convert one annotation into two or more and have them right next to each other and have one in one color and the other in another color, select the section of text, within the annotation, you want to split. Go to Format->Font->Show Colors. Select a color. Once you’re finished, close out the color window

What if you need to search for an annotation in your WIP? Easy peasy. Go to Edit->Find->Find by Formatting. In the drop-down menu of the Formatting Finder window, select Inline Annotations. Enter the string of text in the Containing text box. If you can’t remember the exact wording or the code you made up for your changes, don’t despair because you can search by color! In the Search drop-down list, select All Documents to search the entire WIP.  Make a selection from the Color drop-down menu, which provides you with three choices:

  • Any Color
  • Limit Search to Color
  • Exclude Color

Once you have all the settings the way you want, click Next and continue to do so until you reach the annotation you’ve been trying to find.

Searching for Inline Annotation

Searching for Inline Annotation

Now this is my favorite part: Need to make some changes to the annotation like adding a photo? Just drag a photo from your photo gallery in the research section or from your desktop into the bubble. I inserted a photo and this is how it looks:

Image in Inline Annotation

Image in Inline Annotation

The image can be sized by double-clicking on it a Resize window will open and you can make it as small or large as you wish. Want to delete it? Select the entire text and hit delete.

And now for a special treat…

Thanks to the generosity of Literature and Latte, I am offering a 20 percent discount on Scrivener. Just click on the affiliate link to the left of the post, and when you reach the shopping cart page, type in where it says Coupon Code: SIMPLYSCRIVENER.  It’s the perfect gift for aspiring writers, bloggers, and students who are returning to school. Hurry, it’s available for a limited time!


Scrivener Outline Course Registration is Open

Via the Colorado Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, I am teaching an outlining course in Scrivener. It’s a two-in-one course, meaning I’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to create an outline, but also will be discussing structure and the elements of plotting.

The reason behind the class? It’s so you can be prepared for NANOWRIMO and not write yourself into a corner, have a sagging middle, or feel, after the 30 days of writing your daily 1,667 words, that you’ve managed vomit projectile verbiage.

To sign up for the course go to 2014 Online Workshops, scroll down and the last October class, you’ll see is the one I’m teaching. Class starts October 6th and runs through October 31st. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or you can tweet me @SimplyScrivener!