Hannah Cao

English poet, novelist
Based in Dresden, Germany

Twitter ︎︎︎


︎IARA Press


Drafting      The Pham Girls

Drafting     I Hope I’m On My Way Somewhere

Soon           As Long As We’re Here     

2021            Cafe at 46 Old Street

2019            Seashore


Hannah Cao

English poet, novelist
Based in Dresden, Germany

Twitter ︎︎︎

IARA Press


2021        Cafe at 46 Old Street
2019        Seashore

Scrivener tour

If you’re not familiar with Scrivener, here’s the scoop: it’s a robust and powerful writing software for writers of all kinds and has become the writing program every other writing program is stacked against. It truly changed the game for me and I love to recommend it to fellow writers all the time.  

I like to keep everything for my project in one place: With Scrivener, you can keep your drafts, research, character profiles, notes, world-building, resources, and anything else you need for your writing project in one convenient place. All those articles I bookmarked are not directly linked and integrated in my Scrivener files, all the references are conveniently right there as I go along writing.

I’m sure I haven’t even explored half of the features that Scrivener has, but here are some of my favourites.

Some of my favourite Scrivener features:

  • I can organise my file however I want: long documents, short documents, folders and sub-folders, I can re-arrange the order things appear in the binder and make things easier to find for me
  • There are different ways to view my story: there is a virtual cork board view which I use as an outline overview, a binder view, or linear view for when I’m writing.
  • Composition mode blocks out everything which could be distracting as I go. I can change the background photo for composition mode and use a mood board to stay in the mood of the story as I go!
  • I can have two different windows open side by side as I revise.
  • I can have different drafts, notes, outlines, or profiles visible while I work.
  • The Compile function: No more copying and pasting long documents. When you compile your document, all of your notes, character profiles, research and everything else that isn’t your story is left out, and you have a clean, nicely formatted document that you can send to your editor or beta-reader or export to your design software of choice.
  • I can customise basically everything (colours, fonts, sizing) to make Scrivener exactly what I want it to be, from looks to functionality.

My Scrivener Tour: Novel edition

Task list

  • my tasks while preparing for writing
  • a list of things to research
  • things to keep in mind

Front matter

  • title page with working title and final word count
  • about the author page
  • copyright page
  • epigraph
  • dedication page


  • sections
  • chapters
  • scenes


  • written out outline
  • it’s often just as long as a Draft Zero if I’m honest


  • character sheets
  • side characters
  • character dynamics


  • location profiles


  • mostly web articles I dropped, with notes I take down from those articles


  • quick notes
  • scene ideas
  • quote ideas
  • dialogue ideas
  • random thoughts I get


  • cover art
  • actually just memes based on my characters

Scrivener can be really overwhelming when you start off, but they have an in-depth tutorial built into the program and loads of additional support on their forums page and blog. It is an up-front investment, but it isn’t subscription based, which I found puts it at a much lower cost overall than other writing programs I know.