I like to think of the inspector as a post it note on top of each index card (or text file). There are a ton of things you can write on that post-it note, but it’s basically a way to store extra data about the scene you are working on.
For example, I use the inspector fields to mark the status of scenes (first versus second draft, whether beta feedback remains to incorporate or not), as well as noting the lead character and timeframe of each scene (helpful when you have a dual timeline or multiple points of view).
But, you don’t need to learn the inspector to start writing. I just wanted to explain because it confuses folks.
One of the best reasons to use Scrivener is it auto saves your work one word at a time. But, I also recommend to learn one additional feature before you start which is snapshots.
What are Scrivener snapshots?
Snapshots are a little like Word’s auto save feature, but better. At any point you can hit the snapshot button and make a full copy of the current version you are working on. Later, you can return to any of the prior versions you created snapshots for at any point (all without leaving the scene you are working on). Unlike Word you don’t have to find and open a different file to go back in time – simply select the prior version from the inspector panel at the right of your screen and you can see the current and the prior version at the same time.