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Who uses Scrivener and why do you like it?

Bondi Beach

I know we've had this discussion, but absent a search function I cannot find the previous posts. In trialing Scrivener I found it made things more complicated than clear, but would like to hear from those who make it work.

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graybyrd

Go to the Scrivener forum, and see what the users there have to say. It's an avid and extremely helpful group: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/

Basically, Scrivener is as simple or confusing as you make it; there's no lack of features for someone to hate. It ain't Word, and that's sufficient reason for many to hate it.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

I found it made things more complicated than clear


I had the same issue, because it only works well for people who think and plan in a particular way - one that I don't use.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I had the same issue, because it only works well for people who think and plan in a particular way - one that I don't use.

That was my response. It's not so much that I'm dedicated to WORD. I just find I do my story planning better (and more simply) using simple text. All the 'clever features' do nothing at all for me. However, I may just be locked in the 20th Century. I'm not a fan of social media either.

Bondi Beach

@graybyrd

Go to the Scrivener forum, and see what the users there have to say. It's an avid and extremely helpful group: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/

Basically, Scrivener is as simple or confusing as you make it; there's no lack of features for someone to hate. It ain't Word, and that's sufficient reason for many to hate it.


Thanks for this.

Funny, I always thought not being Word would be a point in favor of something. (I yield to no one in knocking Word, but even I admit it has its uses.)

OTOH, my wife is pushing index cards.

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Replies:   Ernest Bywater  graybyrd
Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Bondi Beach

I know we've had this discussion, but absent a search function I cannot find the previous posts. In trialing Scrivener I found it made things more complicated than clear, but would like to hear from those who make it work.


I use Scrivener. I like how it allows you to keep all your research material in the same place as your project. I also like that I can use it on my Mac and it syncs the documents into the cloud and I can use scrivener for ipad and iphone to write in those same documents. The cork board and the outliner are great in it. And I like the composition mode. It blacks out everything else and keeps the a cursor at eye level on the screen.

One thing that most people trying Scrivener overlook: you really should go through the included tutorial before you use the program because it's a different workflow and some things might not be immediately apparent.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach


OTOH, my wife is pushing index cards.


they have the advantage of still working by torch light during a power outage.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

OTOH, my wife is pushing index cards.

they have the advantage of still working by torch light during a power outage.

Or when your computer freezes up.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Or when your computer freezes up.


Where are you, Alaska? In any case, you will probably freeze up before your computer does. :)

graybyrd
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


OTOH, my wife is pushing index cards.


Scrivener can be thought of as note cards on steroids. Essentially, the program is a text fragment compiler. One of its four main organizational tools is a "corkboard" that displays text snippets on index cards. These same snippets can also be displayed as an outline, or as a hierarchical notebook index. The fourth tool is a research section with similar indexing.

A "text snippet" can be anything from a few words to an entire chapter, that can be shuffled around like index cards, or promoted & demoted like outline fragments, or split, combined, sorted, searched, or compiled in whatever order the document author decides.

It's the extreme flexibility and multitude of options that confuses most people. "That's not how I work" is the usual complaint of someone who has the linear word-processor format habit, where one starts at the beginning and proceeds to the end.

That works fine until it's time to revise, insert, shift things about, or try to keep track of versions and changes, while maintaining order among two or three rewrites of major sections. That's where Scrivener shines. And that's where many people cry "too much" and slink away. All Scrivener users point to the tutorial and manual as an essential process to understand that Scrivener ain't Word. It's a story processor, not a word processor. There's a big difference.

Bondi Beach

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Thanks very much. And thanks also to grabyrd for his comments as well.

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Replies:   graybyrd
Ernest Bywater

I've never had an issue with doing revisions or changes, and the setting options it had I didn't use could easily be ignored. However, my biggest gripe with Scrivener was I could never get it to format the text the way it would show in the final print book format settings. So once I wrote something in Scrivener I had to copy and paste it into Libre Office and then do a major revision, instead of controlling word usage to avoid excess spacing, widows, orphans etc while I was writing. Thus I gave up on it. I also found getting inserted images set properly for a page a major issue.

I also have a friend who uses Scrivener and swears by it, but he doesn't give a damn about the final presentation look at all. He also uses a different story construction thought process to me.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Bondi Beach

thanks also to grabyrd


Please don't forget that first "y" ... lest I be confused with our country's notorious Crotch Grabber!

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
graybyrd

@Ernest Bywater

my biggest gripe with Scrivener was I could never get it to format the text the way it would show in the final print book format settings


And of course, even the author of Scrivener is the first to admit that final formatting was never the intended use. There must be several dozen ways to compile for output using Scrivener, but everyone realizes that final layout and "pretty print" tweaking will be done, as you suggest, in a dedicated word processor or page layout program. So its not really fair to Scrivener to complain that it cannot readily do something it was never designed to do.

There are endless opinions on this subject. Mine is that the document or manuscript creation is 95 percent of the battle, and Scrivener is indispensable for that purpose. Page print appearance is a separate issue, best dealt with after and outside of authoring.

To each dog his own yard and bone.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@graybyrd


So its not really fair to Scrivener to complain that it cannot readily do something it was never designed to do.


Graybyrd, please re-read my two posts. I simply pointed out an issue with the software I have with it, which you say is designed into it - and is something that wasn't mentioned in the information about it when I looked at it a few years back. I'm sure there are others who have the same issue. I find by watching what I type while I type it into the preset final format it's a damn sight easier to get a good copy up front and saves a hell of a lot of time and effort trying to fix the format issues later.

At one time I wrote stories to suit an A5 format book. Later I converted the book to be a 6 x 9 inch book, which I now use. They are very close in size, and only a little different A5 ( 5.83 x 8.26 inches - - 14.81 x 20.99 mm) 6 x 9 (15.24 x 22.86 mm) - not much variation is there. It took as long to revise the story to look nice in the amended format as it did to write it in the first place, because the small size variation made changes to all the word wrap and line spacing. Much easier for me to handle these issues while writing than to try and fix it later.

If they told me up front it didn't allow me to work within a final presentation format, I wouldn't have wasted hours trying to work with it, but the website didn't say that then. I hope it does now, but I don't care, I don't use Scrivener.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Capt. Zapp

@graybyrd

our country's notorious Crotch Grabber!


Michael Jackson or Miley Cyrus?

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Capt. Zapp

Michael Jackson or Miley Cyrus?


Ouch! My apologies to graybyrd, too.

bb

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

I agree with Ernest about the formatting. Many authors, harkening back to the publishing days of the 19th century, prefer to ignore formatting and let someone else handle it (unusually someone they pay quite a bit for it). Instead, I tend to handle the formatting up front, and format as I write (mostly upfront, since there are so few instances you need specific formatting in the text itself).

My other issue, is Scrivner seems dedicated to those who need help organizing their thoughts. While my plots are complicated and consist of research I've been storing in my old noggin for decades, I like to get the germs of an idea and let the ideas gel in brain until I've figured out the major plot elements. Once I know how the story works, I write it sequentially.

Scrivner seems intended for people who write in bits and pieces, and then scramble to put the varies pieces into a coherent whole. Like I said earlier, I could just as easily work with pencil and paper (how I first started in school), a basic typewriter, or anything else where I simply start writing. I don't think I've ever used a corkboard in my life, so it's an empty analogy for me.

If you think that way, and need help in organizing your thoughts, then have at it. I'm glad the tool helps. But for those of us who basically already know what we're going to write, Scrivner's organizational tools seem like overkill.

Out of ALL the various writing tools I've examined, the best I've seen are:

1) autocrit (to identify problems with your writing)

2) dictionary &thesaurus.com

3) calibre (to format ebooks)

4) sigil (to modify ebooks)

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