Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review of Scrivener

For those of you who are writers, whether you are technologically savvy or not, I would like to recommend Scrivener, a program developed specifically with the novelist in mind. With all the hype surrounding different programs for NaNoWriMo, I decided to take a step away from my traditional Word and try something different, and Scrivener offered a NaNoWriMo trial version that lasted not 30 days, but until December 7. So I tried it. Now I will never go back.

Scrivener's design is user-friendly for the every-day operations. Each "page" is meant to be an individual scene. You can title it anything you want without it printing (though see below on my inability to make this work at first), which makes them easy to find. There's a list to the left of all of your scenes and chapters (in this list, folders are chapters, and when you Compile it, they are automatically numbered in chapters without your numbering them). You can see each "file" clearly, and drag them up and down to rearrange.

You can also rearrange your scenes easily on a "cork board".You simply drag the note card to where you'd rather it be. The entire "file" with all of your text automatically moves without the nastiness of cutting and pasting and hoping the clipboard's not too full already.

To the right, there are a number of helpful tools. The two I found most helpful were 1) the notes and 2) the links. You can leave yourself any amount of notes for the scene or chapter that will never be printed in your compile or counted in your word count. In Word, I would simply type these in for myself and highlight them or change the color of the text, but then I would get an inaccurate word count. This is ideal for those of you who are as forgetful as I am in terms of adding this action, or who want to give yourself ideals as you read through without heavily revising at any given moment. The links option is also great because it gives you direct access to your research from the same file.

Another great option in this program are the character and setting sketches. It's wonderful to have quick access to your characters without opening other files. You can even include a picture. None of the notes in these "files" are included in your word count (although you can have them included with a simple click of a check box), but are still right at your fingertips. You can even include pictures, which I LOVE.

For more detailed information on any of these features, Scrivener tutorial videos can be found here.

Bottom Line: If you write novels, this will spoil you to no end, and you won't be able to go back to Word ever again :)


Jules said...

Thanks! Now I will have to find time to check this out :) Do you have Microsoft OneNote? I'm finding it very interesting for arranging things.

Happy Holidays
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

RosieC said...

Jules, I've never used OneNote, so I can't compare them. I think Scrivener is great, though. Then again, if I've only ever used Word.... :)

Susi said...

I used OneNote for everything until a friend recommended Scrivener during NaNo. I always thought it was amazing, but the features of Scrivener made me realize all OneNote was missing. I highly recommend giving it a try!

Heidi said...

Yay! I've been hoping to try Scrivener for a while, but I need to get my computer cleaned up and backed up properly on the off chance that it will crash. I'm looking forward to it!

Carol Riggs said...

Looks like an intriguing program! For right now, I'm going to stick my fingers in my ears and chant, "La, la, LA," because I don't want to buy anything else other than Word. ;o)

Anonymous said...

I tried Scrivener during NaNo but found it really distracting...it's probably best to get used to a new program first :p

I'm going to try it again, mainly out of a fear I'm getting old and can't use new technology :p.

Jon Mac said...

I'm glad I found this review. I've been thinking about giving it a try. Thanks!

Jon Mac said...

Hey, thanks for the heads up about the .mobi & epub capabilities. I've been experimenting with those and it looks like it could be a very good "all-in-one" way to publish ebooks. The formatting looks very good so far.

Thanks again!

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