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Are you ready to learn about Scrivener’s Inspector? I am so excited to share with you my favorite features of this tool. There is a lot we won’t go over, so be sure to check out Scrivener’s full tutorial if you want to know about any other features. But I’ll show you every feature that I use, and I think you’ll see that it’s sufficient to get you started and then some.
So, let’s dive right in. I’ll share with you the best features of Scrivener’s Inspector, why I love them, and how I use them.
Everything You Need to know about Scrivener’s Inspector
The Inspector has six tabs. Notes, References, Keywords, Meta-Data, Snapshot, and Footnotes & Comments. Many of them share common features, so I’ll stick to explaining the features I use rather than going through each tab.
We’ll talk a lot about the index cards in the Corkboard post, but they’re important to the Inspector too. The Inspector shows the index card for any folder or file unless you are in snapshot or comments. The index cards are great to provide a synopsis of a chapter or scene. They can also be used to write the objective of the scene. I use it to do both! Although you can write with the Inspector closed, I love having the index card open to serve as a constant reminder about a scene or chapter’s purpose. It helps me stay focused on what the scene adds to my novel. If something doesn’t help me achieve the objective on my index card, I know I’m veering off course. I either need to cut the tangent or reevaluate what my story is meant to be about.
Label and Status
The drop-down menu for labels and statuses has a decent amount of options already, but you can also add your own. Just click on the down arrow and then choose edit.
I’ve added the status of comment draft. Before I start the revision process of actually making changes, I go through and make comments. Then I go through those comments and create a comprehensive list of the major fixes I need to be aware of. It helps me visualize how I need to revise my novel. All of my chapters are first draft, except the first which I’ve just finished commenting on, hence the created status of comment draft.
I’m not sure how much I’ll use the keywords with the current stage of my WIP, but I do see it coming in handy as I get closer to publication. I know keywords can be crucial to selling on Amazon, and it might be part of traditional publishing as well.
Bear with me because I just made up some random keywords in order to show you the feature and avoid any spoilers!
Keywords are also great for blogging. I use this feature when drafting blog posts to create keywords that are good for SEO and relevant to the post.
Snapshot is an essential feature for saving your work. Scrivener automatically saves as you write, and you can set up automatic backups whenever you exit Scrivener. But if you are about to cut an entire scene or make a huge change to your WIP a snapshot can create a backup of an earlier draft in case you want to revert back to said previous draft. So, if you are about to go deep in revision or make any drastic change, take a snapshot before making any changes you might want back. You can always delete a snapshot, but you can’t always recover deleted work that wasn’t previously saved.
I plan to create a Snapshot each time I start a new round of revision, but it isn’t a bad idea to create a snapshot on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on how fast you revise.
Comments and Footnotes
Along with the index card, the comments section is my FAVORITE. I’ve already explained a bit of my revision process and how I use the comments section. For me, comments are essential to revision. With my last WIP, I went through in MS Word and made comments on my entire document. It wasn’t much different, but in Scrivener you can change the color of individual comments. If that is a feature in Word, I’m unaware of it. And I LOVE having different colored comments because I can color-code what they mean. If it’s a bigger issue that involves the entire story, it’s green. If it’s a simple fix, it’s blue. Telling when I know I could be showing is orange. I LOVE that I can organize my comments this way. It is going to make revision so much easier. If I’m in the mood to tackle a particular type of problem, I can focus on certain colored comments. Or if I don’t want to worry about fixing grammar or punctuation if I might delete the paragraph, color-coding my comments will help me focus on bigger issue fixes before I worry about the smaller stuff.
Scrivener’s Inspector is full of useful tools and features. I know they can help you maximize your writing potential. They can keep you more organized and effective. They can make writing more fun and productive.
Which tool are you most excited to try? If you already have Scrivener, did you learn about any new features or new ways to use them?
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