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edited November 2016 in Writing
Not a very newsworthy post, but many TBers will have read of my indecision about whether to purchase Scrivener.

I've downloaded the trial and will spend a few days fumbling through. Like many have said, it does appear a long learning curve; I just hope I'm up to the task. The company seems to have a good 'help forum' also. Perhaps I'll update in a few days.


  • Good luck with it. :)
  • What is it?
  • It's a super-duper system that can be used for the writing process.

    See this page, Lizy, it has visuals: https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php
  • Best of luck with it, Paige. In my humble opinion it's well worth persevering with. There's actually not a huge amount you have to learn in order to get up and running with it, but the more you know the more useful it becomes.
  • Not relevant to Paige, but anyone who uses it as part of a self-publishing route needs to take care. Formatting is often lost. I've yet to receive a manuscript that hasn't been affected in some way. Some authors use it for planning etc. but actually work in Word.
  • A few people at the writers' club tried it, and I only know one of them who bought in the end, but it suits their needs well.
  • pet, I used it to write the novel that I've just finished. It's been excellent. The scrolling facility alone is worth it.

    However, I've been exporting it (which is their phrase, and wrong - exports remove the whole thing and place them elsewhere, whereas this just makes a copy) in various formats: pdf, for my beta-reader - couldn't change the headers that were invisible on the original; Word, so that I could edit it because I couldn't sort out page numbering and losing first line indents on the original. I'm tempted to try the paperback novel format too, just to see what it does.

    The original Scrivener was written for Mac, not Windows, and there are still facets of it that are Mac-only. I bought Scrivener for Dummies, which purports to cover both, though the Windows side is always tacked on as an afterthought; but it's already out of date.

    The online manual is so full of tech-jargon that I haven't a clue what it means most of the time. What is needed is a simple novelists' version, that actually uses the words Chapter and Scene, rather than the cover-all one that exists.

    There is a Scrivener group on FB with some really helpful members who will sort out things for you if you want.
  • Thanks Mrs Bear and Mrs Baggy. I noted in the product's 'blurb' that it is primarily a 'drafting tool'. I have experienced in other 'specialist' programs, the problem of formatting disappearing. So I'll battle through and hopefully I might be able to justify the paid version at the end of trial.

  • A friend of mine has a blog about using Scrivener, which you might find helpful. http://www.scrivenervirgin.com
  • Thanks PM. I've always said there's beauty in rainbows; now they're useful as well! I've already joined!!
  • The scrolling facility alone is worth it.
    Wassat do?
  • It means that if you have lots of scenes within a chapter, you can read them separately, or go into scroll mode, where you can read the whole chapter as one long piece while keeping the scene separators in place.
    For me the advantage was that I could keep referring back at will, on one screen, without having to toggle between multiple documents. At the same time, I could have all notes and character lists and so forth on the same screen, either at one side as a full note, or as file headings on the other for instant reference. I could also have a scene or chapter synopsis visible. It's the ability to multi-task that's so good.
    When I was editing, I was able to keep the time-line of the story, and the POV of each scene, on screen.
    I found this all really useful. Obviously a more Word-savvy person may say that all of this is possible there, but I'm just a writer, not a computer whizz.
  • It's notebook and pen and good old post-it notes for me, until I type it up on Word.
  • Inclined to agree, Lou.
    I have always favoured handwritten first drafts, and then type into Word with a 'preliminary' edit. There comes a stage where technology is said to be a great aid to many professions, but all it seems to do is sap the purse (or wallet) and CREATE more work rather than simplify the task it professes to achieve.

    My first try at the program was, like many I suppose, with a rush of a bull at a gate, expecting to just click a menu here and an icon there and all would fall into place. Nooooooooooo. It certainly requires a stretch of advance reading, which I'll do tonight. In all sincerity, I wonder how many of us WANT to devote time to learning a task that we can do comfortably well in another environment or program? I sense Mr Robots will be up for a response on this one!!
  • Nuh uh, I'm happy using Word...even old versions. I keep it simple and concentrate on the writing :)
  • edited November 2016
    As I am the one who started this thread, I'd better give it a conclusion. I don't have the patience. I am confounded by Scrivener's vast array of menus. I'm going back to my Write it Now (some would say quite similar, but inferior) in combination with Word. Lou and Mr Robots are on the money: keep it simple and just write!
  • Keep it simple - stone tablet and chalk.
  • Mrs Bear,
    I'm a bit off-topic from where this thread started, but - referring to your comment about character lists - I have never made a list in my life. I always know where all of the characters in the story are, even the ones not in the present scene, or even the present chapter. I just keep writing, and I carry a general plan in my head as to who is going to reappear and when.
  • It's a case of hair colour and so forth, and who has which horse, and who lives in which street. It's not about where they are, but their individual characteristics, which can be forgotten when you get to my age!
  • I'm the other way round. To me the characters are as real to me as family members when I write. Whether it's a character or my mum, I know what she looks like, but have no idea what she might be getting up to unless she's where I can see her.
  • Yes, but you are young, PM, and your memory is fresh! I like to be sure of these things.
  • I think there is a case for recording character traits. Sure, we're on top of things as we progress through our draft. But most of us would face the inevitable hiatus from our computer for a short time and later need to 'refresh' our memories of certain character traits or descriptions.
    I think this is especially necessary to have beside us in the editing phase, because I would hate to be scratching a mole on my left cheek (face of course!) in chapter 4 and then scratching the right in chapter 27.

    No criticisms to the learned cuttle, simply my perspective.
  • I suspect that I am a tad too late to this discussion.

    However, I too investigated Scrivener and, initially, found it to be a useful and intriguing enough to purchase the software. It has many useful features which I only scratched at the surface of.
    To cut a long story short - as writers should be doing that? - I have plumped recently to use Ulysses instead. I find it a little easier to use and the main benefit for me is it synchs so very easily between my Mac, iPad and iPhone whereas Scrivener wasn't as "slick" at keeping my writing accurately up to date across my devices. And, also, I prefer the simpler look and feel of Ulysses.
    As with any software these days, take advantage of the free trials offered and see which, if any, you like.

  • Never too late for ANY information that helps fellow writers. I hadn't heard of Ulysses and only just looked on web. I'm not a 'Mac' user, so I'm out!
    I really have no problem with Word, and we know that we'll never have a problem with exporting from a proprietary package.

    I do have a trial version, but might not be inclined to purchase.
  • I had a look at Scrivener once and just couldn't get my head around it - I find the old fashioned typing straight into word much easier - on my recent book, as I have many characters with similar sounding names, I just kept a separate "crib sheet" to help keep track of details :)
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