Software for Writers: Scrivener

I’ll post a complete review later but I just have to tell you folks about this. When I think of all the work that Scrivener could have saved me in my last novel–or what it could have done for A when he was working on his PhD dissertation, it boggles the mind.

This is software that works the way writers think, unlike most software (generally designed like a car with the ignition hidden in the trunk). You can move blocks of text around by working with automatically generated index cards. Search by pov. Keep your notes, images, and references in a sidebar. When you just want to focus on the writing, use full screen mode. This is just the beginning!

The Mac version has been out for a few years. But now thanks to Lee Powell, an Australian writer, Scrivener-user and programmer (and his team), the Scrivener for Windows version will soon be available for about $40. I’m working my way through the tutorial in the beta trial version. Thanks guys!

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6 thoughts on “Software for Writers: Scrivener

  1. Thanks – I will be trying it! Sounds like an electronic version of Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat Board system?? Keep your fingers crossed!

    1. I haven’t seen it in action but from what I’ve read about it, that sounds more guided and focused on screenwriting. Scrivener is a tool that provides different structures appropriate to screenwriting vs fiction, say, as well as a blank structure. But the structure is completely open-ended. It’s an electronic version of research files, index cards, and text that are all linked. What’s always been cumbersome about writing in Word is that I have to repeatedly open and close windows as I look at notes, vs text, vs research materials. This makes your computer ressemble a desk, with the added advantage of being able to easily move things around, create links, and so on. Btw, I found your blog post about twitter interesting. Have you written anything about the use of hashtags?

  2. Don’t know much about hashtags – just googled a few articles when I started tweeting a short while back. Use my own name as a hashtag, but I understand there are sources of all hashtags one can refer to – a kind of dictionary of hashtags.

    But it’s on the list …

    Have you eBooked yet? Kindled the old manuscripts? If not, think about it. One of my blog posts is about John Locke – the Million eBook Man – I bought his book on how he sold 1,000,000 eBooks in 5 months. It’s fascinating!

  3. I’ve heard a lot of good things about scrivener, but I admit I am sort of resistant to technology in the writing arena. I’d happily go back to pen and paper as my first choice for making a change if anyone told me I had to! But, the word out about this IS that it’s super helpful.

    1. I just ordered a 24″ monitor so that I can use the editing functions more effectively. I love my laptop but it’s uncomfortable for any editing that uses a split screen, just not big enough. I’m hoping it can double for watching movies on the internet.

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