In the last couple of months, Scrivener writing software has become an essential tool for me both for writing and business tasks. Literature and Latte, the makers of Scrivener, describe the software as “a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents.” I have found it to be very helpful so far.
Some Reasons that I Love Scrivener
- It has the most awesome free trial period ever. Scrivener’s 30-day trial period is unique in that the program code only counts a day used when you actually open the software. I knew within a few days of use that I wanted to buy the program. However, because I didn’t open it every day, it was probably two months before I actually bought it. I couldn’t resist taking advantage of this weekend’s Black Friday sale (if you read this right away, you might still have time to catch it!)
- I can store all of my writing “stuff” in one place for each project. For my novel, this includes my outline, the actual manuscript, character sheets, photos of my characters (pulled from lookalikes on the Internet), setting sheets (again, including pictures), and other research, whether in the form of notes or full pages from the Web.
- It has various ways to organize and look at your project. You can write in full screen. You can write in split screen so that you can look at your notes or character sheets on one side while you type a chapter on the other. Use the cork board view to see summaries of various scenes and even move chapters or scenes around right from this view. You can look at your whole manuscript at once or look at just one scene at a time.
- It is set up to help you self-publish. I haven’t decided yet whether I am going to self-publish my novel or go the traditional route, but the tools are here. Scrivener can automatically compile your book into ePub format (and other formats). I already have plans to help clients by using Scrivener to format their books for electronic publication.
- I can set targets for my writing. If I want to write a thousand words a day or if I want my novel to be 100,000 words long, I can set project and session targets, and Scrivener will let me know when I have reached my goals.
It is a surprise that although I have used it for my novel and my blog (yes, I am writing in it right now) for a couple of months, I have only scratched the surface of what Scrivener can do. My only real complaint is that sometimes it is a little difficult to find out how to do something without searching the help file or the Web. So, while the interface could be more user friendly, there is a lot packed into this little program.
I’m sure I will be discovering more about it as I go. If you decide to try Scrivener, you can go on Literature and Latte’s website or YouTube and find lots of free tutorial videos to get you started. I hope that you like it as much as I do!
Update: November 2017
I’m still using Scrivener two years later and still love it. It even sometimes helps me organize developmental edits as well as my own drafts.
I still adore it for drafting and organizing my thoughts and chapters, but if you want to do any revision, especially with track changes (such as while working with your editor), it becomes more difficult. So, I tend to use it in combination with Word and not exlusively.
I also prefer Word hands down for ebook and print formatting, but I haven’t taken a great deal of time to learn how to best do it in Scrivener.
Dictation also works in the program with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and that helps, although dictation is still smoother in Word. As a caveat, like many things, this may still work better in Scrivener for Mac.
And we’re still waiting for Scrivener for Android, although Mattias Alvin at Tall Tech Tales did write a tutorial on ways to work around that and using Scrivener on the go.
So, overall, I still recommend it highly, but with some caveats.
Do you use Scrivener? What things do you love? What things do you hate?
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