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Scrivener Software: to use or not?

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by Masronyx, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Masronyx

    Masronyx Minstrel

    I recently heard about the Scrivener program from a fellow fiction writer on Facebook. Has anyone else used this program for their manuscripts? I'm thinking about purchasing it, but I only have a laptop and am not sure how much space on my Dell it's going to use.

    I've done some research into it, and it looks like something I could use to (finally!) organize my notes and stories in something other than notebooks and Microsoft Word. I just want others' opinions on the software.

  2. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    I've been using Scrivener on the Mac and PC for about three years. The program is great. It's a great organizational tool. You can use a corkboard view so it looks like you're using note cards. You can put all your research, pics, video and links, all in the same place. You can export your manuscript into various formats, pdf, word, epub, etc. One of my favorite functions is the snapshot. You can take a snapshot of the text you're working on, so you can keep multiple versions of a scene and revert back if you want. It's pretty small on the install. I can't remember the exact size, but it wasn't large at all.

    For me, Scrivener replaced three programs I used to use, Supernote Card, Wikipad, and Word.

    If you want any more info, just ask. I'll be glad to answer.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
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  3. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    I've heard a lot of good things about Scrivener, but I've never used it. Instead I use Word and OneNote, which does all the organizational things that Penpilot described - pics, video, full articles with automatic links, all in a very customizable format. I love this program and am using it to organize our notes for our massive (and by that I mean 12 - 15 book) series. The reason I mention it is it sounds like you're concerned about having space on your computer, but if you're working with Microsoft Office and writing in Word, chances are you already own OneNote and don't realize it. That's what happened to me - I stumbled across the program one day. Now I have no paper notes what-so-ever.
  4. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

    I haven't tried Scrivener, but I have from time to time used the free yWriter, which seems to have similar features.

    You might try yWriter first and see if that style of work works for you. :)
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  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    Scrivener is good.
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  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I've tried Scrivener - there's a 1-month free trial - but I had trouble getting into it. There's a couple of cool features, like the corkboard. But I find that I would rather just use hard-paper index cards. And for notes I prefer OneNote - having notes in the same program I write in would just be another distraction.

    Still, the program is on my computer, and my free trial is still valid (the 30 days only count if you use the program at least once in the day). Sometimes I feel compelled to give it another try, and each time it warms on me a little. So maybe I'll end up using it someday.
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  7. Masronyx

    Masronyx Minstrel

    I have always used Microsoft word and have tried One Note. Since I have my laptop and a tablet with a detachable keyboard, I've got stuff scattered everywhere. Getting my writing organized is my biggest challenge right now. I am still undecided on what to use, but I'm keeping my options open.
  8. Masronyx

    Masronyx Minstrel

    I went back and played with One Note a little. Did you know you can link both one note and word? I learn something new every day.

    I've been thinking about it off and on today, and I may just stick with one note/word for the moment. I'd still like to try Scrivener out.
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    The multiple aspects of Scrivener are nice, but honestly I don't even use a lot of the features, I just like it as a nice, light-weight word processor (takes up less room than MSOffice) that allows me to easily organize and move around scenes if I feel like it, and export to certain formats.
  10. servenvolley212

    servenvolley212 Scribe

    I'm using it for NaNoWriMo (they have a special trial version for NaNoWriMo), and I love it.

    It's got lots of depth - tagging, note cards, etc.

    It's also just a brilliant little writing program those that just want to write without the organization.

    FWIW, I use it between a MacBook Pro and a homemade Hackint0sh, and I use DropBox and Google Drive to backup the files and open them wherever.
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I use it in Linux and Windows. I tried to make a Hackin0sh, but it kept getting hung up during boot. Not sure why - some hardware incompatibility I guess.
  12. Sam Evren

    Sam Evren Troubadour

    I adore OneNote! If you're using Windows, you can hit Windows-Key+N to pop up a note window any time you have an idea - if you're in a program that doesn't like to play nice, you can just alt-tab to the desktop then do win+N. The insta-note will appear as a small box and then go straight to your unfiled notes where you can sort it later.

    It's great for that brilliant spark that pops off in the middle of your day/game/what-have-you.

    It does link handily to Word, and it also can handle written notes, audio notes, images, pretty much you name it. You could simply drag a web link in if you need it for a source/reference.
  13. kawaiitalamoon

    kawaiitalamoon Dreamer

    I went to a writing work shop a few month ago, and they given out free trial disk of Scrivener, WriteitNow, and Newnovelist all of which are great programs, Scrivener which is about $40 to $45, works on both Mac and PC, Pros: it allows you to create Parts, Chapters and Scenes as well as keep track of characters and locations, it also has a nice name generator and does W.C. and page count. Cons: The character and location pages are like a blank page, so it was just like having my notes in a word doc. WriteItNow is about $70, works on both Mac and PC, Pros: it allows you to create Chapters and Scenes as well as create detail characters(with a build in character creator as well), keep track of events and locations in your writing it even creates graphs of Character relationships, events and conflicts. It also has tabs for your notes, ideas, references, and places you have submitted you M.S. It does W.C. Page Count, readability(general age of reader), and word frequency. Cons: It the most expensive, does not let you add Parts and the location pages are pretty much a blank page. Newnovelist is about $50 and works only on PC, it is a prompt based program and seems to be geared more to someone looking for an ideas for a book, I played around with it but got tired of answering questions instead of writing, so I can't say anything good or bad about it. I use ywriter right now but I'm thinking of getting WriteItNow.
  14. AnneL

    AnneL Closed Account

    I just tried it for the first time a couple days ago on the free trial version and I can see a lot of potential for me in it, but my current WIP is way too far along for it to be more useful than the old-fashioned way. Program says it's really intended for first drafts, and I think that may be accurate. I'll try again next time I start something new. Word is a real pain for moving stuff around, and with Scrivener you can just select a scene and drag it to a different chapter, or split a scene into two different docs.
  15. Foah

    Foah Troubadour

    I, like a few others here, prefer OneNote over anything else. I recently bought a Surface Pro 2, so having this laptop/pad hybrid, with a stylus, is amazing for my organizing needs. I mean, for my mindmapping and planning I can pretty much use hundreds of pages within OneNote as digital whiteboards. The ages are limitless both vertically and horizontally, so imagine having great ideas over and over again that you want to draw up someplace, and imagine having a 100 by 100 feet whiteboard to go crazy with. It's simply all I need :)
  16. Quillstine

    Quillstine Troubadour

    Scrivner rules.....nuff said
  17. snabjorn

    snabjorn Dreamer

    I use OneNote and Word as well. I had no idea that there were cool programs like these aactually, that would make the writing easier. I think that the "WriteItNow" sounds pretty great. Especially since I'm not that far along :) maybe I'll try that.
  18. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    I don't use the program, just Word 2000. It works well enough for me. But I would just say that on most of the various publishing fora I frequent - Createspace, Kindle etc, there's a recurrant theme that comes through. "Help I have spaces, gaps, funny text etc etc, in my document when I upload and I'm using programme x, y, z."

    It's not a sexy programme by any means, people do hate Microsoft and for good reason in my view, and it can't do a lot of the things other programmes can, but in the end the industry has standardised on Word 2003 (1997 to 2003). If you want to publish it is by far the best platform to upload from. So create your doc in whatever you want, but make sure the upload version is Word 2003. You'll have less (not none sadly) problems.

    Cheers, Greg.
  19. I downloaded Scrivener to check it out. It appears to be a good thing, but I would want to start using it at the beginning of a project. To input all the support material and work I already have would take longer than to finish writing the darn thing.
  20. Bansidhe

    Bansidhe Minstrel

    J'adore Scrivener for Windows! I have a very organized writing process, and Scrivener helps me keep track of ALL THE THINGS. I'm something of a Story Engineer, so I use story construction templates that help me keep my pacing tight. The color coding and status categories let me "mark off" items on my to-do list (always satisfying), but I also keep all my character profiles and plotting, inspiration images, research notes, etc on in one place. I even have project file strictly for my series "bible". I'm especially fond of the corkboard.

    In addition to this I use Evernote, so I can sync between devices and add to Scrivener as needed.

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