Scrivener and Other Writing Tutorials, Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Scrivener Basics | Freewriting in Scrivener

Just add ideas in the Binder as you think of them

First of all there is nothing stopping you from simply placing your cursor in the editing area and freewriting everything you can think of in one long draft, but then it will be hard to find sections of your draft that cover specific ideas if you want to add to them.


It is advisable to start out with a small amount of structure.Create a folder in your Binder for each idea that you have and give it a descriptive title. 

We are going to imagine we are writing Alice ’s adventures in Wonderland as an example as just about everyone has heard of it.


In this story there is going to be a trip down a rabbit hole and then so much crying that it will cause a whole pool of tears, and some other really crazy ideas that you might have thought up. You might use some, or all of them, and not necessarily in the order the ideas came to you.

You don’t need to call your folders Chapter One, Chapter Two etc, because numbered chapter headings can be automatically added when you compile your manuscript for export.


Once you have folders for most of your big ideas, add scene files to them for anything you can think of that might help your story. Why would alice go down a rabbit hole? 

Why else? 

Give them descriptive names as well — although for fiction this is only for your own information, scene titles fall away when you compile for export.


Now if you had a sudden spark of inspiration triggered by any of your ideas you could open it’s file and start to write.


If you are writing away and you have a sudden idea for another scene you can create a new file for it and start to write up that idea or come back and continue to write in your present document. Whenever you are ready you can rearrange your scenes in the Binder in a way that would best fit your story.

If you find you have opened two scenes that have a similar concept you can group them.


Straight off I can see ‘Her Tears Flood the Hallway’ and ‘She Cries’ are part of the same thought so I’ll group them together for now. 


Once you have completed your freewriting session you can come back and decide whether to split this idea into two or keep it as one scene.

For non-fiction freewriting is almost exactly the same

Let’s suppose I am writing a book about How to train your dog. First I’ll add some chapter folders. So far I have an idea to cover basic training and then I want to teach my readers some cool dog tricks. 


I’ll drag my folders into my top level folder and add some sub titles to them. Basic training will involve socializing, what to do about barking, how to stop your dog from digging etc.


Then click inside any file and start freewriting as new ideas occur to you.

To start with these scene files can be called anything you want, but very often you use the scene level titles as sub-headings for non fiction when you compile for export, so it is important what you call them. 


Come back when your manuscript is well developed and rename them exactly what you want them called in your book.

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