Disclaimer: I do not work for Literature & Latte (the developers of Scrivener) nor are they compensating me in any fashion. This blog is strictly my own evaluation.
Like any writer, I wanted to find software that did more, meaning a program that would work with ease and involve less steps for things I needed to do while writing. I discovered Scrivener and after watching a few tutorial videos on YouTube, I downloaded their free demo and played around with it. I was hooked.
Now, ten years later, I won’t use any other software. Below are my ten reasons I prefer Scrivener over all other writing software out there.
1) Easy to Use: Admittedly there is a learning curve, but once learned, you’ll be surprised at how much more writing you actually get done by using all their shortcuts and features. Some reports state that using Scrivener increases your writing by thirty percent.
2) Index cards: Back in the day, using index cards was a must when mapping out your story. Scrivener provides endless index cards. The icon to switch from the writing screen to the cards is located at the top of your screen (easy access). Just as with traditional index cards, you can make notes, write out scenes, key words, etc., then rearrange them so your story flows. It also automatically renumbers them and you can color-code, label, and mark their status (first draft, revised draft, final draft, etc).
3) Moving Chapters: Ever been in the middle of writing a story and realize that chapter twelve should actually be where chapter four is? So you highlight chapter twelve, cut it, find the start of chapter four, paste it in chapter twelve, then go through your manuscript and relabel the chapters from that point forward. Not so with Scrivener. Simply go to your Binder, click on chapter twelve, move it so it’s above chapter four, and release. Scrivener moves all the text and automatically renumbers your chapters in the proper sequence. It takes two seconds and there are no additional steps.
4) Images: Ever come across a picture and know you had to write a story about it? Or let’s say you have a castle in your setting, Scrivener has a place where you can insert your picture and view it while working on your story. No clicking and changing windows in order to view your image. You can have it viewable in the entire document or just in the chapter you’re working on.
5) Document Notes: In every project, I always have notes about what’s going to happen next or a certain line I want a character to say. In Scrivener you can view these notes throughout your entire manuscript. No clicking to different documents or reviewing them in a notebook. You can also switch easily from document notes to chapter notes.
6) Chapter Notes: Same as document notes, but it’s for individual chapters.
7) Split Screen: This is a great feature. Let’s say you’re working on chapter fifteen and it refers to something that happened back in chapter three. You can open both chapter documents and either stack them or have them sit side-by-side. No clicking involved either, whichever chapter your mouse is hovering over is the one that will react to any scrolling or clicks.
8) Document Control: While there is not a function named “document control,” there is a feature in Scrivener that allows you to easily go from working in the whole document to a single chapter with a click of the mouse. How many times are you working in chapter sixteen when you need to refer to something in chapter five so it stays consistent? If you are using a word document you would have to scroll through the manuscript or use the “Find” function. In Scrivener, simply click on chapter five from the “Binder” and you’re there. Verify what you are looking for, then click on chapter sixteen and you’re right where you left off. It’s a tremendous time saver.
9) Character and Setting Sketches: Scrivener provides a character and setting sketches features found in the “Binder.” They are very brief outlines of your characters and settings, making it easier to refer to when you’re trying to recall a certain detail.
10) One Screen: You never have to leave the main screen. All the features are right there. No changing from window to window looking for something, and as you make changes, Scrivener saves them and makes automatic updates, like renumbering index cards or chapters.
Lastly, if you’re stuck on how to do something in Scrivener, there are a ton of tutorials on YouTube and if you want to get real serious, there is even a Scrivener course.
My suggestion is to download Scrivener today, ride the learning curve, and then write, write, and write some more!
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