Scrivener (software)
Image via Wikipedia

I may end up sounding like a product pusher, but that’s not the intention.  I mentioned over on SFFWorld that I would try this software out and report on it, so here I am.

Scrivener, if you don’t happen to know, is another one of those writing software packages that do a lot more than a word processor, but not-quite-everything-that-a-word-processor-does-so-don’t-give-up-whatever-you’re-using-just-yet sort of software. 😉

In all honesty folks, a word processor is all that a writer ever needs, but at some point one needs to procrastinate on a grander level than normal and why not install a new software, port one’s entire novel over to it and try it out?

Why not, indeed!

So that’s what I did.

I downloaded the Window’s version of Scrivener, now available in Beta form, and installed it on my now ancient PC running Windows XP.  Scrivener installed quickly and when you start the software, it gives you the option to select from several templates.  I chose the Novel with Parts so that I could keep all seven of my books in one place.

Here’s how it looks with all my books in there (you can click on the image to get a larger resolution version):

scriv screen shot

The screen is basically cut into four main parts: the navigation pane to the left (which can be hidden or not), the center (which can be split in two, horizontally or vertically) and the notes/synopsis pane on the right side.   Lastly, the top pane has the menus and a few buttons that will get you to each of Scrivener’s most-used tasks.

In the case of my books above, I am showing the “manuscript” in the top, center pane containing a tab (or note) for each book.  In the bottom, center pane, I’m showing the chapters of Devil’s Blood (the first of my books).  I can then click on a chapter and drill down more.  Like this:

Another scriv screen shot

In the above screen shot, the upper pane now shows all the scenes in Chapter 1 and the bottom pane has the actual text for the first scene in that chapter.  Pretty nifty, huh?

Notice the center of the pane on the right.  Here’s a zoom in:

last screen shot!

This could be a powerful tool.  You can set the status of each scene and write notes to help you find all those to-do re-writes and edits.

Overall, I like the way the program is organized and I really like that I can have everything regarding my entire series in one spot.  Other than porting over my word document, I haven’t actually written anything in this program.  I suspect that it will be similar to Microsoft Word and that Scrivener may win me over.

The PC version of the program is supposed to be available for purchase by next month.  I’ll let you know if I take the plunge or not.

A few months ago, I also tried yWriter, but I didn’t like the layout of the program so I didn’t even try writing anything in it.  With Scrivener, I got past the initial stage of opening the program to actually moving over my novel(s), so that says something – either I’m really bored or Scrivener is onto something. 😉

But don’t take my word for it, try ’em out yourself.  At the moment, they are both free.

Happy Writing!


4 thoughts on “Scrivener

  1. I’ve heard good things about Scrivener for writing scripts, but for manuscripts I’d stick with a WP.

    Frankly, since I got my iPad (and especially since I got my Macbook), Pages has been my program of choice.

    1. I can see where it would be a good tool for scriptwriting, but I think it has value for novels, too. It’s really all the metadata tools that got me excited. At the moment, all that metadata (historic timeline, character sketches, location notes, pictures, etc) are in separate documents. Making it cumbersome for me to search through and find stuff when I want to check something. But with Scriv – it’s all in one file.

      But, we’ll see. I might find some hidden problem that I can easily do in Word that I can’t do in Scriv and I’ll go running back to my basic word processor.

      Is Pages only available on a Mac or iThingy?

  2. I have tried this, and y writer, but the time I spent fiddling with it, trying to understand it and get it to work was in my mind wasted writing time. Think I will stick to my file of printed out notes and scribbles. I have the excuse of being old 🙂

    1. You’re not too old! Just lazy. 😉

      Joking aside…yup, that’s what I’ll probably end up doing, too. I hand write my drafts and I’m finding that I want to hand write the re-writes, too. How annoying, no?

      Like I said, we’ll see if I stick with it or not. I only wasted about two hours, give or take a day, so I’m not too put out. 🙂

      (I have to remember to post a copy of this over on…)

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