3.26.2013

Software for Writers: Scrivener, How I Love Thee.

I have found the Best. Thing. Ever.  Scrivener, by Literature and Latte is a writer's best friend.  I am using it for fiction, but had I known about it, I would certainly have used it for all those long grad school papers. It organizes drafts, comments, and notes, and I can even stash reader's comments in it.
 
I easily uploaded my working draft into it from MS Office and I can export my draft into pdf, kindle versions, etc. without any fuss at all.  Some of my favorite features are listed below.

The corkboard.  I make for each chapter a little synopsis and then they show up on the corkboard.  This is really helpful for looking at the big picture.
Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)
This screenshot is not of my story, but is one provided by the makers.

The compiler.  In my old word-processor, the whole novel was in one document.  A change that required backward revision required a lot of scrolling.  Yuck.  In Scrivener, I can divide the novel into parts, chapters, sections, etc. and view each discrete chunk, or the whole thing.  You can see in the above screenshot the outline on the left.  A click on any heading shows all the content below it.

The character list.  Also in the left sidebar is a list of characters.  As they reveal their personalities and characteristics to me, I can record these details in their character entry.

The comments. Just like in other word-processors, I can insert comments.  This is really useful when I am writing new material and realize that something I am writing now necessitates a small revision in a previous portion.  Rather than stop and go tend to it, I can just toss in a comment to remind me to take care of it later.  When I sit down to write, I can click on the whole manuscript and all the comments appear.  I can pick through them and decide what I want to work on next.  A click on the comment takes me to that section.

And since I am writing and home-school (aka frequently interrupted) I can use the commenting feature to dash off a quick note of what I was going to do prior to being pulled away.

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)


The notes.  I can toggle that right sidebar to show either my own comments or the notes from other readers which I have cut-and-pasted in.  Sometimes reader's comments come in and I am not in the mood to deal with that section yet.  No problem! I just paste the comments into the Notes for that portion and they are there waiting for me when I am ready.

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)

The back-ups.  It saves automatically all the time.  I can also take snapshots of it before I venture off in an experimental direction.  If I dislike my experiment I can revert to the snapshot.  Also, when I shut it down, it backs up everything.

The customer support. I had one small not-my-fault technical glitch and the customer support was prompt and personable and reassuring.


Scrivener runs on Mac or Windows and costs between $35 and $45 depending on platform and whether or not you qualify for the Educator's discount.  This is not a sponsored post, but if you do click on the links here and purchase, I get a small commission.  I'd be talking it up even without the commission though. 



Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)

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