What can I say about Scrivener? I had heard of the app before, but it was drawn back to my attention as a result of participating in NaNoWriMo. One of the special offers for winners this year was 50% off the purchase price. I downloaded the 30-day trial near the beginning of the month, but I admit I didn’t play with it much at all until the last few days of the contest.
Now I wish I had used it all along.
I had long searched for a good piece of writing software, and had finally settled on using Apple’s Pages. It wasn’t perfect, but at least it was stable, and kept me away from Microsoft products. My biggest complaint about Pages is that it’s such a RAM hog. I have to turn off so many features just to get it to run without sluggishness, and even then it can really allocate way more processing power than a text editor should. My MacBook’s fan was very often running at full speed while typing up my manuscript.
Scrivener has none of those problems, and has more built-in tools than I’ve found a use for yet. I’ve completely switched all my works over to Scrivener. The only thing I’ve found lacking in the program so far is mind-mapping. That’s no great loss since I don’t do mind maps often enough to make firing up another app a real chore.
I’ve not done it yet, but once I’m done with my first draft of the novel started during NaNoWriMo I will be taking some time to convert a whole expandable file of 3×5 note cards into Research documents within Scrivener. You can see in the screen shots below some of the ways you can operate. For my high fantasy trilogy’s manuscript, I’ve been able to import not only notes, but also the PDFs of the maps I created. You can import several different types of image and text files for use in your Research folder.
Though I didn’t think I would like it at first, I’ve come to appreciate the idea of splitting each chapter into separate files within the Manuscript folder. Though it will mean a little bit of extra work when it comes time to create a final manuscript, it’s really easy to do so. It’s a snap to click through the individual chapters in the left-hand pane, while the right-hand gives you a view of the synopsis note card and some other bits of information. The word and character counts are conveniently located at the bottom of the screen.
Scrivener also makes highlighting text a cinch. In the example below, you can see me experimenting with highlights. I’m trying to write a short story from two different points of view—usually a big no-no. One of the reasons I think I might be able to pull off two points of view is because of Scrivener’s highlighting ability. It helps me keep the two points of view straight and completely separate from one another. The theory is that if the author is never confused by the alternating points of view, then the reader has a better chance of not getting confused.
I can’t recommend Scrivener more highly. If you are a writer of any kind, and use a Mac, you should give Scrivener a serious look. You can download a 30-day trial from Literature and Latte.