One of the many reasons that I love Scrivener is the plethora of cool tools that it offers the writer.
A writer can often get distracted by these “extra” tools, but the ones in Scrivener are well worth the time spent.
Did you know that the program has Text Stats for you to peruse your most used words?
How about a Name Generator?
What about… Emoji & Symbols?
How often do you use the word “just”? Sure, you could do a search and find in Word and it’ll tell you exactly how many words it finds with “just” in it. Maybe it’s a lot, and you can go through the document page by page and figure it out.
But what if you had something that showed you all the words in your document–and how often you used each one? It just takes one click… (There I go with “just” again.)
Go ahead and click it–you know you want to.
That little button that shows a box with what looks like a bar graph… yep. Click it. There it is. Your text statistics.
So. What’s your favorite word?
Now in writing, a lot of words are invisible and those are actually going to be your most used word. For example, below my “favorite” word is “the.” Sure I could go through and try to get rid of some of those, but it probably wouldn’t be worth your time. Instead, you should focus on those overused words that top your list.
Quick tip: to sort your words via Frequency, just click on the word Frequency above the title. Likewise, if you wish to keep the list alphabetical because you’re looking for a certain word in a large document, then click on Word above the first column.
Why is this such a great tool for a writer? Word repetition can make the difference between an easy to read document or story and one that has the reader distracted by one word. Sometimes it really is that much of a difference. There are novels I have read that have removed me from the story simply by the overuse of a certain word.
Although you want to use words that are natural for your story and your own vocabulary (don’t try to write “above” your normal vocabulary as a general rule), a thesaurus can be a great additional tool to mix it up. For example, what’s another word for “glance?” You could use gaze, peek, glimpse, etc. Now while each of these words has its own nuances and should be used in proper situations, checking out every usage of “glance” in your story allows you to reevaluate whether “glance” is needed at all, or if the sentence could be rephrased entirely or deleted. Always question your overused phrases, because a lot of time, you can find a better way to express yourself.
A great use of this tool is to use it for every one of your Scrivener scenes individually, and then use it for your entire manuscript overall before submitting to a publisher or finalizing your draft. Always check your word usage–it can make the difference between a good story and a mediocre one.
If you’re a pantser, this is a great tool to use, or for plotters, you can use this while you’re outlining your novel in Scrivener. 🙂
Just go up to the “Edit” toolbar, go down to “Writing Tools” and select “Name Generator.” I love this tool–especially for last names. I suck at last names, unless I am purposefully trying to be symbolic and searching for a name that means something specific.
But most times, I’m absolutely blank when it comes to last names for my characters. Scrivener’s Name Generator, however, randomly generates names for you–up to 500 at one time.
Let’s discuss the options in Name Generator.
The options: 1-500 names.
Settings: Male, Female, or Either.
Attempt alliteration, double-barrelled surnames
Forenames use initials only (like J. or J. T.)
Set forename: starts with… ends with… or contains…
Catalan Names (Female)
Catalan Names (Male)
German Names (Male)
Hindi and Indian Names (Female)
Hindi and Indian Names (Male)
Italian Names (Female)
Japanese Names (Female)
Japanese Names (Male)
Polish Names (Female)
Polish Names (Male)
Popular British Names (Female)
Popular British Names (Male)
Popular British Surnames
Popular London Surnames
Popular US Names (Female)
Popular US Names (Male)
Potential Dictionary Surnames
Spanish Names (Female)
Spanish Names (Male)
You may also add custom names lists. (Must be in .csv format. Here’s a link of extra name files to get to you started. Right click on the link and select “download linked file.” Then click the + in the Name Generator Settings and open the .csv file you downloaded.)
But chances are, you’ll find the perfect name (or at least one that will do) in the name files already provided with Scrivener. I mean, maybe if you’re writing fantasy or sci-fi you’d have issues…but there are plenty of web name generators for that… And if you have your own list, you can upload it!
Emojis & Symbols
Okay, so maybe you won’t use this one as often, unless you’re writing a recipe collection where you use ˚ or your novel is geared toward a Young Adult audience and has a strong text messaging plot line so you use lots of 😂😍💔💞… But emojis & symbols can come in helpful at times.
For example, if you want to use symbols to denote a footnote, you can easily pull up your emoji & symbol using the shortcut (on Mac) “control-command-spacebar.”
When it’s up, you can grab it with your mouse and move it aside to have a floating window.
So if you use symbols at all, even for notes for yourself, it’s pretty easy to do.
Okay. There are three tools in Scrivener that are both cool and can make your writing process easier.