Quite often when I’m writing a scene I’ll think of something I need to add to a different scene, or an idea for something later on. I used to keep a pad of paper next to the computer for moments like that, but Scrivener has a built-in scratch pad just for this purpose. To bring up the scratch pad, press Ctrl Shift /. Once you’ve got notes on the scratch pad, they can be copied into other scrivener files. This video shows the scratchpad in action.
Quick note here – this video was created using Scrivener for Windows. If the shortcut is different on a Mac, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!
When I write in Scrivener, I typically break chapters out into smaller scenes. When I want to see how these scenes flow together, I can roll them up into a single view via a feature called Combined Text. This lets you select a series of scenes and view them as if they were one continuous document. This short video shows that feature in action.
When I’m creating my characters, I spend a lot of time trying to find a name that fits them. I want something that suits their nature, says something about them, conveys a bit of them to the world. However, there are other times when you just need to name the guy who’s selling sausage sandwiches on the sidewalk, and you don’t want to agonize over what to name him. For those moments, there are a bunch of name generators online. Here are a couple that I’ve found helpful.
The Seventh Sanctum has a whole collection of name generators. Just click on a link on their site to randomly generate the type of name you’re looking for. You can get regular names, elf-sounding names, Lovecraft-sounding names and more. For example, when I clicked on their Pirate Ship Name, I got The Dirty Raider.
FakeNameGenerator can generate regular-sounding names, but will also make up phone numbers, addresses & email addresses. If you ever need to quickly whip up an obituary or a want ad for your characters to read, this is the place to do it. It’s also a good place to just randomly generate stock characters. When you generate a fake name, here’s what you get:
Behind the Name gives you some flexibility in choosing the ethnicity of the name that’s generated. So if you want your sausage vendor to have a Greek name, you can check the Greek name box and get Alexandros Iosif.
Also, if you’re using Scrivener, you have a random name generator built in. Just go to Edit>Writing Tools>Name Generator… and you’ll be presented with this screen.
The nice thing about this is you can generate lists of names, and you can also view their meanings by clicking on the Name Meanings tab.
So now the next time you need to name a sausage vendor, you’ve got a bunch of resources to tap. Enjoy!
I’ve been working with Scrivener since Literature& Latte announced the Windows Beta late last year. It’s an awesome program and has made it very easy for me to organize my current WIP. However, like most tools, there’s a lot going on in its UI, and sometimes that can be distracting when you’re trying to bang out a scene. To help me focus, I customized Scrivener’s Full Screen view so it’s more like an old school word processor – black background and green text. This short video shows the steps I performed.
One thing to note – the video shows some lines at the top and edges of the screen after these changes have been made. Those lines aren’t actually visible in Scrivener while you’re using it.
If you’d like to try out Scrivener for Windows, head on over here.