December 2 2011


I used Scrivener as my editor for the recent NaNoWriMo. I’ve got to say that I found it very useful. I didn’t use all of the features that it has, but the ones that I did use fit my style very well.
The ability to place text into separate pieces and keep track (or move) them easily within the tool was very nice. For example, you can create a chapter and some scenes in that chapter all as different pieces. You can move the order of the scenes around as you wish.
You can mark the state of each of the separate pieces (first draft, note, …) and whether you want to include it into the actual text right now or not. The “compilation” phase lets you include exactly what you want in the format you want. If two editors demand different formatting, for submission it is easy to create a final version that fits their desires.
For each of the pieces, you can associate notes right with the piece and also keep whatever research you have done in the same project all nicely useable and consolidated.
For creating a new story where you are doing background material and research this makes things amazingly easy to use and keep track of. If you were doing a research document (like say a thesis or tech book) this would be fantastic. (The fantastic is opposed to something like Word where it isn’t easy to organize separate pieces of work into a single document.)
I used the Microsoft version of Scrivener and it did crash twice during the month. I didn’t lose any text as a result of either crash so it does a very good job of making sure things are saved.
For NaNoWriMo I used the free version they provided for the event, but I now plan on purchasing the real version. Since I finished NaNoWriMo, it will be half price but I see on their site that it is only $40 normally. It seems like quite a good deal.
For writing projects, Scrivener is now going to be my tool of choice.

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Posted December 2, 2011 by user in category "Interesting stuff


  1. By Ian on

    I bought Scrivener when I got a new computer because I was so impressed with the Scrivener tutorial. (And many of my friends swear by it.) I got as far as importing my current novel project into it, but haven’t gone back to using it yet. I find I don’t do well when I switch approaches midstream– even though this book is a mystery plotted out on a physical corkboard behind my head as I type this πŸ™‚

    1. By Steven Halter (Post author) on

      Changing in midstream is always problematic. I like that Scrivener is the first editor I’ve used that comes close to the utility of that corkboard (or post-its.)

  2. By EEGiorgi on

    Thanks for this review, Steve. I was just coming back to ask you about Scrivener and found your post! πŸ™‚

    I suppose it also allows to “label” your chapters and then the numbering and table of content falls into place after you compile, right?

    I use Word for writing projects, but Latex for all my work drafts and when I go back to Word I find myself wishing there were a way to move chapters around and get them automatically renumbered like Latex does. That’s my main issue. The rest–the research, the “don’t know where I’ll end up putting this” and similar notes floating around–doesn’t bother me as much.

    Anyways, good to know about Scrivener. I’ll give it a try eventually, but after I finish my current project. Like you guys noted, it’s hard to switch mid-projects.


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