February 17, 2009

If you do your writing on a Mac, and haven't already heard of Scrivener, you may want to check it out.

I'd been doing my writing on MS Word, with index cards in Mindola SuperNotecard, and logs and research in Circus Ponies Notebook, until someone pointed me at Scrivener. After an extended trial period (one of my favourite features), I finally bought Scrivener today.

It breaks out chapters really easily. It allows you to move them around. I can keep all my research in Scrivener. It remembers, in each chapter file I visit, my location in the file the last time I visited. Which makes flipping between scenes incredibly easy, without having to pepper the document with bookmarks. I can do outlining in a similar way to how I do it in SuperNotecard, but all within Scrivener. Synopses of scenes go on the "cards" associate with each scene.

The littlest thing that really impressed me? Scrivener has one of the sanest "try before you buy" policies for those who don't write every day. You get a 30 day free trial. But that's not "30 days from when you download". It's 30 days of actual use. So if I was at 27 days left on Monday, but didn't get to write again until Friday, I still had 26 days left of trial on Friday. Now THAT's considerate.

I think there's still room for Notebook in my writing life, but Scrivener packs a powerful, simple feature set into an affordable package - $39.95 USD. Windows users, unfortunately you're out of luck.

2 comments on “Scrivener”

  1. Interestingly enough, I heard about Scrivener a couple weeks ago and downloaded the trial. It was way too much for me, and I consider myself quite savvy. I guess I'm a "pen and page ONLY" kind of writer - all other "systems" mess up my poor little pea brain.

    Scrivener DID give me the impetus to figure out how to use the Navigation feature of Word, which allows me to outline and then navigate my novel a LOT easier!

    I might try Scrivener again though. I've heard plenty of authors who swear by it, now including you!

  2. Well, I'd been using Word's bookmarks feature to navigate. But what I like about Scrivener is the way it's really easy to break up each scene into a separate doc, which allows me to re-order them really easy. A nifty feature due to the structure of my current title, which weaves two timelines and 3 points of view. Whether or not the structure is advisable or works well is a topic for another blog post :-) But Scrivener lets me play with it more easily.

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