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Scrivener Software: to use or not?

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

  1. Tamwen

    Tamwen Troubadour

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    Scrivener was never a favorite for me. It looked so complicated. I use Google Drive with lots of files and such, but also I've got the demo for Write It Now. I prefer that one's layout: a place for chapters, a place for characters, a place for notes, a place for locations, and easily accessible tabs to get to all of those and more.
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I think all of the features and how it is organized can make Scrivener appear to be more complicated than it is upon first glance. Not that you shouldn't keep doing what you're doing if it works for you, but once you start using Scrivener it turns out that it isn't a very complex program, despite initial appearances.
     
  3. Tamwen

    Tamwen Troubadour

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    I like it when programs have like... places for character creation, and writing out ideas for races and locations and such. A program that's as much about world building as it is about story building, or CAN BE as much about world building. Dunno if Scrivener is like that, but it could just be personal preference.
     
  4. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I've used Write It Now, but I like Scrivener more. It's a more refined program, with an interface that's way more simple to use. All those character templates with traits or events with links to characters and all that jazz in Write It Now looked great, but then when I started writing, I found that I really didn't need them. For me, managing all those things became a chore. All I needed was a folder and virtual note cards to scribble on for characters, locations, etc., which is what Scrivener gives me. But if Write It Now works for you, then more power to you.
     
  5. kimsmithauthor

    kimsmithauthor Acolyte

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    Glad for the input on Scrivner. Have heard a lot about it on different forums and such but as yet have not tried it. Doesn't it cost something? I mean, it isn't free (except the sample version) right?
     
  6. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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  7. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    Not quite on topic, I know, but thank you for pointing out One Note on this thread. I had this program lying around on my laptop for ages and now I've realised how useful it is to organise world-buildung notes and the like. ;)
     
  8. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    Always happy to make another OneNote addict! :D
     
  9. eartshala

    eartshala Acolyte

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    I love this software, it blew my mind. Especially ideal for scatterbrained persons (like me). It's a perfectionist when you can't be. It doesn't break pages until you compile your files, however. If you like page count as you go then ...yeah...
     
  10. AnneL

    AnneL Closed Account

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    I've been working seriously with Scrivener for the first time today, and the good news is that it makes it really easy to see the weaknesses in my structure. The bad news is (all together, now) it makes it really easy to see the weaknesses in my structure. I suddenly have a lot more work in front of me than I thought I did. Because my WIP is really long already, I'm still making my edits in Word, which is not nearly as efficient at moving from scene to scene as Scrivener, but I don't want to have multiple changed documents. So I'm keeping the Scrivener draft up on one screen and writing on the other. It's almost like revising from a hard copy.

    It did do one pretty weird thing when I imported my doc from Word -- I was using Track Changes, and Scrivener imported all the changes that had not been either accepted or rejected yet, so I had to accept all the changes to have a clean doc to work with in Scriv.
     
  11. Jason K. Lewis

    Jason K. Lewis New Member

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    I've been using Scrivener for year now and could not work without it. It does take a bit of getting used to and you have to persevere and sit through the introductory video but once you get he basics you will fly along. Scrivener is capable of so much that I am still discovering things on a daily basis. A truly beautiful piece of software....
     
  12. Bansidhe

    Bansidhe Minstrel

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    One of the many things I like about Scrivener is the side-by-side display option. I'll out my scene or chapter notes/outline in a text file in my research folder, and dock the file to the write while I'm drafting, so I stay on target. This especially helps when I'm writing out of order. Also, I can't get enough of the virtual corkboard, and the auto-formatting for exporting into word or any other file format need for self publishing.

    It's also nice to be able to save formatting templates, so you don't have to set up a new binder every time to start a new Scrivener file, or manually reformat another book within a series, so the look remains consistent. I can even add cover art, and character and location files.

    For traditional publishing submissions, I auto-export submission packets by keeping everything within the same Scrivener file and compiling only the needed elements (Certain pages/chapters, synopsis, query letter).

    Being a hybrid author, Scrivener makes things ridiculously easy to manage so I can focus on the writing.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  13. JadedSidhe

    JadedSidhe Minstrel

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    A year or so ago, I heard they were planning to add grammar/spell check for PC. Have they done that yet?
     
  14. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    They have spell check, but as far as I can tell, no grammar check.
     
  15. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    That's OK, I hate grammar check on word processors :)
     
  16. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    So here's a Scrivener question for the Assembled: how do you handle multiple drafts?

    One way would be just to overwrite as you go, so the manuscript represents the latest draft, whatever it is. I have a hard time with that. Though I rarely pull anything out of an old draft, it's a comfort to know I could.

    I'm currently creating another folder, Draft 2, and then cloning files into it. This gets tedious. Plus, since it's still under Manuscript, it's included by default in the Compile. I have to remember to include/exclude appropriately at Compile time.

    Another approach would be to make each draft a separate project. I could then import Draft 2 into Draft 3, but that feels like overkill.

    A fellow writer I asked says he only does Draft 1 in Scrivener. He sends his manuscript to his editor in Word, and they go back and forth in Word from there on.

    Anyone have a preference? Suggestions?
     
  17. Kristene Collins

    Kristene Collins Dreamer

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    Scrivener has you covered. There's a feature in the righthand sidebar called "snapshots" that'll save a version of your draft exactly as it is, and then you can just write over your current file, knowing you can revert back at any time, without ever leaving the project file, or moving things in and out of the draft folder.

    EDIT: Here is a Youtube video describing the feature. It's using the Mac version, but I believe the Windows version works the same way.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
  18. stephenspower

    stephenspower Inkling

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    I use Google Docs for nearly everything, including tracking story submissions and saving copies of the stories sent out. This way it doesn't matter whether I'm on my desktop, laptop or phone: I can still work. The only thing I'm doing in Word is making editorial revisions so I can track changes, which unfortunately isn't a feature on the Word app, but I can get by. I also have to remember, after working on a Word doc on my computer, to sync my computer's Google drive folder with the one in the cloud. Not much of a bother. As for notes, I either add a comment to the doc I'm working on or to the Notes doc I keep separately.

    My poetry I still write in longhand, transfer each day's edits to the computer, print it out and start again with that draft.
     
  19. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Thanks, Kristine Collins. I have used Snapshots, but it's not really practical when I have thirty chapters with multiple scenes in each. Every one of those would require a separate Snapshot, and I'd never be able to keep things straight. For example, if I rolled back to two Snapshots ago in Scene 3 of Chapter 14, that might impact Scene 5 in Chapter 8. It'd be a mess.

    For now, I'm still going with a top-level folder for each Draft, with the all the chapters duplicated. For compile purposes, I then move whatever is the latest Draft into the Manuscript folder. It's clumsy, and I'd love to hear of a more elegant solution.

    Somewhat related is when I want to explore down a path. What if I were to switch POV? What if an important character were to die in that scene? It's not really a draft, but it has the potential of forcing the story into a new direction. I think of it as a fork, as the word is used in the programming sense. Versioning.

    Oh well. Still better than Word, by a furlong and a nose!
     
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