For years, I’ve been hearing good things about Scrivener, the software for writers. And, for the same length of time, I’ve resisted even considering taking advantage of the trial period of the software because I’m not a plotter. I felt that Scrivener would make my brain hurt in the same way that all the other plotting books and methods and writing software programs do.
Then, one day earlier in the year, a newsletter I subscribe to announced they were offering Scrivener at a special rate for members. It was such a great deal I decided to download the program.
From my reading and the titbits I’d picked up over the years, I knew Scrivener came with a steep learning curve. It wasn’t the right software to write a deadline book. With that in mind, I ordered a copy of Scrivener for Dummies by Gwen Hernandez. The perfect decision.
I stumbled my way through starting my first book, using Gwen’s book as a bible. Everyone was right. I didn’t find the program easy to master, and I still haven’t worked everything out. I’m learning new things all the time and read as many online posts with tips and tricks as I can fit into my busy days.
Where I thought my brain would freeze, it hasn’t. I used to write in Word from the start of my book until I finished. Now, I think more in scenes, and this is forcing me to analyze my scenes in greater detail. A good thing, I think.
So, pros and cons.
1. Everything is in one place. The writing, the setting, the character sketches. I don’t have to stop because I can’t remember a character trait or name. Now it’s all there and easily assessable. If I have a senior moment, the info is one click away.
2. I like the tools that come with Scrivener. I can set a manuscript target, a daily writing target and see my progress. There is a dictionary and a thesaurus. There is also a character name generator. Very handy!
3. As I’ve mentioned already, I now write in scenes rather than chapters and this forces me to analyze my scenes more than I ever have before. It’s easy to shift scenes around or write out of order if I get stuck.
4. Once I’ve finished writing and polishing, I can compile my scenes in a format ready to publish as an ebook. Scrivener has a variety of templates and outputs, which I haven’t experimented with yet, but I can see that they might be useful.
5. Backups are quick and easy, and the auto backup setting—brilliant.
1. The steep learning curve. There is no doubt that this is very true. Some people will find Scrivener frustrating and give up on it because it isn’t an intuitive program to learn.
I’m so glad I purchased this program, despite my misgivings. I’m a huge fan now, and the more I use the program and learn about it, the more I like Scrivener. Scrivener is available for both Mac and Windows users.
If you’re a writer, not necessarily a fiction writer, but any type of writer, I’d recommend giving Scrivener a try. They have a free trial for their program, so definitely experiment. You have nothing to lose.