However, as user friendly as it is in the beginning, finding the answers to specific questions can be a headache. The help tool is very useful if you want a broad overview of the software, but I'm not the sort of person who can learn how to do something by reading about it. I have to get in there and do it before I even get a basic idea of how it all works. Usually a bunch of times.
There is an interactive tutorial and I'd recommend running through it before you start writing. I'm a bit thick though, so I had to spend a few hours with it before it really started to gel with me. Even then, I find myself going back and referring to it a lot. Like the help tool, it's useful for a broad overview but you have to wade through a lot of information before you can find the stuff that you want. Most of the time that can be fun, learning new things is great. But if you just want to find out how to indent a paragraph or change the font or switch the language settings so you can get back to work -- it can turn into a massive rage-fest. If you're anything like me, you just want to dive back in there and start writing again!
You can use Google, but as I recently tweeted, that can be like trying to transcribe things from a higher plane of existence. Most of the Scrivener advice pages I've seen were written for the mac version, which is just different enough from the windows version to be incredibly confusing. Unless they tell you straight up "I'm using the mac version," then you can spend hours reading through advice and hints that make no sense, because the tool that you want is actually slightly to the left of where it is in the mac version.
The advice that isn't written for the mac version of Scrivener can also be tough to follow. Like anything else technical on the internet, it tends to be written by experts, who lapse into technical jargon without realising it. If you cross reference what they're saying with the help tool or the interactive tutorial, you can occasionally figure out what they mean. But who has time for that? Like I said earlier, I just want to answer my question quickly and then get back to writing!
I could put up with all of this if it wasn't for the overbearing smugness of a lot of these writers. A lot of them start their blog entries with a lot of personal bumf about what they're working on right now, or other bloggers that they're collaborating with, or their home life, or their pedestrian attempts at folksy good humour. Again, you often have to wade through page after page of stuff you don't want to know before you even get an answer. Even then, if this person uses the mac version of Scrivener or they start talking in technobabble, you can feel like you're wasting your time.
A lot of these bloggers and experts mean well, they're not intentionally trying to mislead or frustrate you. But they're not helping as much as they might think they are.
Well, they're not helping me anyway. It usually goes something like this.
"Hi. I just wanted to know how to run a spell check on my manuscript..."
"Scrivener is an amazing tool that will completely revolutionise the way you write. When I started my first novel 'How To Fit My Entire Fist In My Face' I quickly learned that..."
"... that's great, but this is due tomorrow and I really want to make sure that the spelling is correct."
"Why it's so simple anybody can do it! You simply ascend to your gaseous form, float on through the nine quarks, into the left squintopple, DO NOT GO INTO THE RIGHT SQUINTOPPLE, then you cite the forty eight binding words of power and consort the Evermind! Which reminds me of my web series 'How To Stop Matt Holland From Reaching Through The Screen And Strangling Me' it all started in 1972..."
"YOUR WEB SERIES LIED, SCRIVENERPERSON!"
"*gags* This is just like the scene in my fourth novel!"
That's why I've decided to do the occasional piece of Scrivener advice for people like me who may not be the most technically gifted, but still wants to make the most out of the fantastic tools that Scrivener has to offer.
This isn't going to be a regular thing, I'll only post stuff on here as I find it out myself. So I'll do all the reading and research and occasionally trying to reach through the screen to choke a Scrivener blogger, after that I'll boil down what I've learned into a simple, digestible format.
I'll probably be doing my own personal anecdotes and stuff too, usually justifying my own stupidity. But this will always be firmly placed at the very bottom of the page. You can read it if you're interested, but the advice and the actual process for doing what you need will always be the first thing you see.
I'll title these as if I'm searching for them on Google, so hopefully the people desperately hammering at their keyboards hunting for search terms (like I usually do) will be the people who find it. I'll also label them in the tags bit as 'Scrivener Advice' so they'll be easy to find if you're in a hurry.
Hopefully this will be useful for both of us and I won't come across like too much of a pretentious bumhole!