Yesterday I took the leap of faith and downloaded the free trial of Scrivener. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m doing serious edits on my MS and I figured it was time to check this program out and see if it could help! I was pleasantly surprised with all of the cool features and gadgets it has.
For those of you who don’t know, Scrivener is “a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents.” After fooling around with it a fair amount today, I decided I’d list some pros and cons (thus far) of Scrivener.
PRO: It is just as cool as the website makes it out to be — maybe even cooler.
CON: I can never remember how to spell / pronounce it. Scri – ven – er. Scree – vhon – noir. S-C-R-I-V… oh whatever.
PRO: I love how it is organized. Within your MS folder, you have separate folders for each chapter, and within each chapter folder, you have a text file thingy for each scene. What does that mean? It is really easy to move a scene from one chapter to another — just drag & drop, and BAM! Moved to another chapter.
CON: If you’re importing an already-written MS (like I was), it might take you a few minutes to figure out how get your scenes and chapters organized. Luckily, there is an “import and split” feature that will break up your scenes for you automatically. All I had to do then was add in the folders for the chapters.
PRO: Once you’ve done that, it allows you to edit all your scenes & chapters together. When editing the text, it will give you a single dotted line for a scene break (see pic at left) and a double dotted line for a chapter break.
CON: I got nothing for this one!
PRO: There is an amazing “corkboard” feature that allows you to play around with virtual index cards. Each “scene” file you create automatically has an index card that is linked to it. Say you are looking at a chapter’s corkboard. If you move around the index cards in that chapter, Scrivener will reorder your MS’s scenes to match what you did with your index cards. Not happy? Just drag the index cards back. Or re-order your scenes with the navigator (“binder”) on the left. Basically, re-ordering your scenes is just a drag-and-drop away.
And look! You can label your index cards “first draft”, “revised draft”, “done”, and the like. You can also take notes on the index cards that won’t appear in your MS.
CON: Scrivener does occasionally glitch on my mildly old computer when I try to view my enormously large document and ask it to do something complicated, such as zoom in.
PRO: There are a lot of awesome things you can do, like editing while in split-screen or full-screen mode.
CON: If you’re like me, you might spend a few hours playing with all the features, instead of doing something more important, like, say, homework or actually working on your MS.
PRO: You can download a free 30 day trial from the website! http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php — AND that’s 30 days of actual USE. If you use it twice a week, you can have it for fifteen weeks.
CON: After that, it does actually cost money. It’s not super expensive though — just $40.
PRO: In the course of an afternoon, I have this thing up and running, with my MS all organized and ready to be edited in a fun, easy-to-navigate environment.
Note: There are a TON more features that I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of — name generator, built-in dictionary, outlining program, formatting, research management, and so much more. Their website does a pretty good job of advertising for themselves, so check that out if you want the details of everything Scrivener can do.
So. Who all out there uses Scrivener? What are your favorite features? Drop me a comment and let me know!