Scrivener – Ideas, Research, Writing and Editing

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Scrivener site logoScrivener takes time to learn. Time you could spend writing, no doubt about that. But you’ve probably heard writers talk about the software and wondered “how can software help me write?”

Scrivener has attempted to take the mechanics of writing – generating idea lists, gathering research notes, URLS, images, storyboarding and reorganizing, and more – and put these tasks into a robust management system.

If you compose anything with more than two parts, and ever had to search your browser history to find out where you read that fact you want to double-check, then Scrivener will help. The more complex your project is the more it can help.

On Top of That

Then they added on bells and whistles because technology allows it. You can color code documents, mark them anything from draft to final, assign keywords, track footnotes, sort out scenes and chapters by labels, and other what-you-put-in you will be able to pull back out. There’s also an interruption free-mode that will turn off the Internet distractions, and a typewriter mode that keeps your current line of typing mid-page. If screenplay’s your thing, it has a mode to indent and format as you type.

Or, if none of that is useful to you, you don’t have to use any of it.

Scrivener has the most thorough and painstaking tutorials and documentation I’ve ever seen. To the point of it feeling really overwhelming at times as it explains every possible use of the software.

Pet Peeves

I have two pet peeves. First, a lack of an effective find-and-replace – “find next instance” doesn’t work as expected and could be more helpful especially when many results (as when scanning for favorite overused words) are highlighted but there’s no way to hop to the next instance.

Second, it’s also a basic word processor with styles, but those also don’t work as consistently as a long-time Word user will quickly realize. That means if a style is revised the new style isn’t retro-applied to paragraphs that already use it. Consistent use of very basic styles was essential so that when I output to Word I didn’t have a lot of work to do to convert the output to the practices my publishers require. I learned that an entire manuscript really doesn’t need much more than HEAD, BODY, INDENT and SCENE BREAK for styles.

Hidden Bonuses

I store my entire projects in cloud storage , which means I will likely never ever lose work again. I have the cloud storage set to keep as many previous revisions as space allows. So I can revert to earlier versions – and Scrivener built-in backups help with that security blanket too as they are separately kept in cloud storage from the main folder of documents.

It supports an on-the-fly creative process. There is a main manuscript area for a project. Any time I cut something I think significant, it’s a snap to copy it to a note outside the manuscript area. All such notes and scribbles get backed up too, and its contents will show up in a search, so good-bye to that feeilng that if I cut it I might lose it forever.

Decide for Yourself

Have a visit at their site, see what it offers. The price is incredibly reasonable, even if you use it just for research organization and outlines.

I couldn’t have finished my last novel without it.

Thoughtful and Congenial are welcome visitors. Disrespect and Spite will be shown the door.