Contemplating Scrivener

Yesterday, I read about this fascinating software designed for writers working on long projects. It is called Scrivener and it is designed to keep track of all of your writing, research, notes, etc.

In Scrivener, you can enter a synopsis for each document on a virtual index card and then stack and shuffle the cards in the corkboard until you find the most effective sequence. Plan out your work in Scrivener’s outliner and use the synopses you create as prompts while you write. Or just get everything down into a first draft and break it apart later for rearrangement on the outliner or corkboard.

As an aspiring novelist, I have multiple files saved on two computers, many scribbled in notebooks, files that I email to myself, and stacks of books for research. Everything has been growing day-by-day; I find myself amending character profiles on random scraps of paper.

I’m always a little behind when it comes to technology and the internet, and had no idea about this software. I was about to go out and buy a corkboard/white board combo to hang on my bedroom wall, but if Scrivener lives up to its hype, I might have to nix the bedroom wall idea. Some of the features include: corkboard, outliner, tools for non-fiction writing, etc. (it even boasts a name generator).

I’ve never used this software or anything like it (just your standard Microsoft Word). I don’t know anyone who has it but I am very interested in hearing people’s reactions or personal experiences. Scrivener is an affordable $40 (with a $5 discount for students and educators). Should I take the plunge? They have a 30 day free trial. Perhaps, I will take a test run this weekend.

Their website also offers an extensive listing of Links for Writers. In the very least, that seems like well worth a glance.

Also, some information and reviews of the software courtesy of my tech writer, mamma.


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10 comments

  1. Generating names is one of my favorite bits. So I’ll be skipping that feature, but I am going to play with the free trial this weekend.

      1. The tutorial is worth it, the free trial is worth it. It never occured to me to be so organized – if I was a PC user I would be head-over-heels for this program, there is a lot I can already do on a Mac. But, I have a history with free trials and falling in love with programs. Makes me appreciate the books written before computers.

  2. Don’t wait! Grab your free trial and start playing. it’s 30 days OF USE, not consecutively on their trial run, so you can really get a feel for the program before having to pony up. I have been using Scrivener for a couple of years now, and it is definitely worth the time it takes to use it right. From easy word count targets and a name generator to easily organizing research and websnippets on multiple ongoing projects, it can help with just about every aspect of the writing process. And if I ever finish anything, it’ll be great for compiling a manuscript as well… can’t recommend it enough. This year for Nano I used Scrivener synced with Simplenote and had everything backed up all the time on all devices (I write a lot on my phone with a bluetooth keyboard). All the editing and moving around I do in Scrivener, to jot ideas down, I open up Simplenote and start a fresh note every time (they become notecards in Scrivener to be moved around like everything else)… anyway, I love the new workflow. Give it a try, I remember I paid up early because I liked it so much!

  3. I can also definitely recommend Scrivener. It’s money well spent and it did take me long time to get through the 30 days trial version, so you have plenty of time to play around with it and decide if it’s a good fit.

    1. Thank you so much. It’s glad to hear such overwhelming positive feedback. I downloaded the free trial today and am working my way through the interactive tutorial. I really hope Scrivener and I have a productive working relationship. Cheers!

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