I got Scrivener on October 7, 2012. I’ve talked a little bit about it, here and there, but I haven’t really made a post about my thoughts on it. I’ve read a lot of blogposts about it, though. Half of it were raves, and the other half were… well, not raves. (See how eloquent of a writer I am?)

The problem that most people seem to have with Scrivener is that it is very different from a lot of the usual programs that writers use. I know what you’re thinking. It’s all the same. I wish that was true. We all have different reactions to programs that supposedly make our jobs easier. In fact, one of the blurbs of Scrivener is that ‘it all but writes it for you!’

I could tell you all about Scrivener’s features, and I most likely will, but I’ll just tell you what I think about it. First, I’ll start with why I started using Scrivener in the first place. I’d reached a hundred thousand words in the Line of Corruption. It was a momentous occasion, but it also brought a problem. Word count. For some reason, my Word malfunctioned, and I couldn’t find out the word count anymore. I know I reached 100k because I was at 99,997 words when I was suddenly unable to find out the word count.

So, after a quick shout out on a forum, some alternatives were recommended. Then someone recommended Scrivener to me. I was… skeptical about it. I was inclined to believe that it was great, but at the same time, all those praises didn’t sound very real to me. So, I got the trial version, and I transferred LoC into it.

At first, I was a bit amazed by it. And then I was even more amazed. See, I was using a 2008 version of Word (mostly because I always neglected to update it), so I was using a rather antiquated version. At least in comparison to the versions we have now.

So, when I opened Scrivener, and found out I could essentially compile my entire book into whatever format I wanted – Mobi, Pdf, ePub… I blacked out.

I kind of randomly started emailing the ePub to most of the people in my family. My sister has four ePubs of LoC on her iPad. Two of them are exactly the same. (She hasn’t read it, though…)

So, that’s one of the best features. The next feature is simply the organization of it all. When I found out I could put chapters into folders within the same document ( a feature most likely available in plenty of other programs, but it was the first I’d seen of it ), I blacked out. Again. With joy, obviously. So, I made three folders. Part I, Part II, and Part III. Each part has over twenty chapters or so.

Image

Well. That doesn’t seem very organized, but you should’ve seen my Word document. Not pretty. Not pretty, at all.

I also had the option of downloading pdfs for research and putting it within the same document. This feature is severely underused by me since I normally just bookmark it on Safari, but I normally compensate by using it as a textbook for all the magic systems, and mythical creatures I’ve made up over the course of writing the book.

So, my Uncle bought Scrivener for me as a birthday present. (I had ten days left of the Trial version.)

It actually unlocked a few more features of Scrivener that I was disappointed to see had not been available in the trial version. I can see why they would leave it out, but I probably would have bought it within two days of getting the trial version if I had access to some of the premium stuff. But yeah, that’s business.

So, after awhile, I got used to Scrivener. I was still amazed by some of the simply awesome things it could do, but for the most part, I knew it like the back of my hand. Then… I found out I could write a script, a BBC Radio broadcast, and a play… Guess I never really knew the back of my hand after all.

I went nuts with those options, too. I explored the script writing features, and I like to think that I have that down to a T, as well. I’ve yet to actually start writing a play, mostly because I haven’t a slightest clue how to write one. I haven’t made a radio broadcast yet, either, but I plan on exploring that avenue in the future.

There’s also an option of writing a research paper, but hey. That’s what Word is for. I like to associate Scrivener with fiction writing, and research papers for school… That’s not my definition of fiction writing. I keep telling my sister to install Scrivener on her computer, but she won’t listen to me. To be honest, I’m kind of glad that she doesn’t listen to me. After all, it means I’d have to teach her how to use it when I barely know how to utilize it to a quarter of its full potential.

So, there you have it. My thoughts on Scrivener. It’s all praise, I know, but that’s how I think of Scrivener. I could tell you its faults, but you could easily find that out with a quick google search. I, on the other hand, prefer to talk about all the good stuff. If you want to try out Scrivener, here’s the link to the websiteΒ where you can download a free trial version of it.

Oh, I forgot. You could also write the script for a comic book. I’ve explored that feature, too. And I like it quite a bit.

I hope you’ve liked this post… or ramble. I like Scrivener a lot, and I just wanted to talk about my experience with it and what I actually think of it. Two posts in one day. Legendary, I know. If only I could keep this up at a regular basis… Hah, I wish…

~Jian

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Comments
  1. dotdotquote says:

    I don’t treat my drafts very well, I segment them by acts into separate word documents and currently I have hacked them all into chapters. I have the main file in which I wrote the entire story, but for the life of me I can’t imagine trying to edit it all like that. I much prefer to have it all apart, frame by frame as it were.

    Also, I can’t help myself here, I have…like a compulsion or something, but I had a quick scan of the screenshot and the line: “Delivering misery to everywhere I walked,” sounds really odd with the “to” in place. I’d take it out.

    Also: “This duty has passed unto me, and I’m afraid, I am the single most hated man of my people.” That comma after afraid is confusing me. If he is afraid he is the most hated man it shouldn’t be there. I suppose it could be a superfluous sentence connected by bracketed commas, but it reads (at least to me) that he’s afraid because of being hated. I’m not sure.

    Finally, “he stood, surrounded by dozens of corpses,” A dozen corpses would flow better at least IMO.

    Anyway, I’ll stop now.

    Sorry.

    • dotdotquote says:

      Actually, that comma might be a full stop too. I can’t see πŸ˜›

      • J.A. Romano says:

        Definitely. That was one of the main reasons of why I got it. πŸ™‚ Oh, how’s King of Sparrows going, by the way? Curious to hear how you go about editing your drafts. πŸ˜€

      • dotdotquote says:

        Well I’m having trouble finding motivation at the moment, so it’s going poorly. But generally I’m going scene by scene through each chapter.

        I’m only on chapter 4 at the moment, so the past three have been to introduce the characters and the world and establish some sort of minor plot, which leads to bigger things.

        Chapter 4 is proving difficult because I had to split it in two and add in a lot more. I skimped on description and world-building the first time around, so I have to add it in now. I shy away from long paragraphs of exposition, but sometimes it means I end up summarizing rather than describing, which can be worse.

        Anyway, for this draft I’m really looking at each scene. The first chapter, for example, I made notes that it should:

        Introduce the main character and the antagonist

        Introduce the time period (i.e late Victorian)

        Raise awareness of a growing crisis within the Slums (home of the main character)

        Raise awareness of the antagonist’s sudden rise in power

        And begin an initial conflict

        It sounds kind of silly, but it really helps me lay out each scene and relay the necessary information/tone/etc. I think of it like a picture, each one needs to illustrate a certain something, without loosing focus.

      • J.A. Romano says:

        I actually did that for the third part of LoC. At that time, I pretty much had everything planned out. So, for example, on Chapter 36 or so, I made it a goal for the characters to have a revelation about something. Very simple goals, but it helped me write the chapters quite a lot. In editing LoC, I mostly just rephrase certain things. I tend to slip into colloquial terminology very often. πŸ™‚

        Good luck on the drafting, though. Hopefully, you’ll find a way to get motivated soon.

    • J.A. Romano says:

      No problem! I appreciate all the tips. That’s actually the original, unedited version. It’s not a very old screenshot, but not a new one, either. I’ll definitely see if I still have those slight mistakes, and correct them, though. Thanks for pointing them out. πŸ™‚

      I honestly used to loathe editing because it was such a hassle doing it in Microsoft Word. (200 pages… seems so daunting when it’s all THERE.)

      So, yeah, Scrivener made editing easier for me, too. Made me believe that, “Oh, I just need to edit this one chapter. Probably the only chapter with such big mistakes.”

      The next day, I read the next chapter, and repeat the same thing. πŸ˜›

      • dotdotquote says:

        It certainly looks like a useful tool, I might check it out at some point. Having separate folders within the document itself sounds like the way to go. πŸ˜€

  2. tktrian says:

    Good review, thanks! So far Word has worked ok, we have a new version of it anyhow, but it’d be interesting to try this out, see if it’d be better. It’s just easy to have all the crap worked on in Word, stories AND school papers instead of juggling between several programs. PDF’ng isn’t a problem either cos CutePDF “prints” the text instead of reformatting it into pdf, so it’s useful and doesn’t mess up the formation, yet the pdf file can still be edited and commented on.

    • J.A. Romano says:

      Yeah, I’d definitely recommend it. Although, part of the reason why I got attached to Scrivener so quickly and easily is because I didn’t consider going back to Microsoft Word an option. (It had crossed me one too many times! πŸ˜€ )

      I think you’d like it, though. I have one document on Scrivener dedicated to the projects I have that I don’t really know what to do with. (About 8 or so.) It feels a lot better to just see it all in one document, instead of split up into so many documents with only a few pages in them.

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