Question for Writers: Should I Consider Using Scrivener?

I have heard about Scrivener for a while, but I never really felt the need or want to try it out. All my academic work is purely done in Word (save for all the hand written notes that happen at the most random times). I still plan to do this in the future, as it is practical enough for me, even when I wrote my upcoming book Women in Science Fiction Television.

I might return to original fiction writing in the near future, and have been dabbing back into world building for the past couple of days. Juggling with all the note files I keep in my folder is a bit of a mess. Because of this, I was wondering whether Scrivener might be a good and practical fit.

Since I know a lot of you who follow the blog are writers, I would be happy to hear about what you think of Scrivener. Do you use it? What do you think of it? Do you have favorite tips?

Image courtesy of khunaspix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of khunaspix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

29 thoughts on “Question for Writers: Should I Consider Using Scrivener?

  1. njmckay

    I was hesitant when I started using Scrivener, but i’ve grown to love it. You can keep all your research along with your actual manuscript in one document. It saves having to open multiple files on your screen. I haven’t utilized all of it’s features yet, there is ALOT. I suggest watching their video tutorial on the basics they offer. You’ll get a good idea what is capable with the program from that.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Thank you for your comment. I didn’t remember they had a video tutorial. That’s a good idea. I’ll do this to get further insight. I always worry that software that can do everything, almost to the point of pouring you tea, is too complicated to get a good grasp on (which I know is ironic given that I use Sony Vegas and Adobe Photoshop, at least their basic features).

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      1. njmckay

        youtube will have it i’m positive if you are unable to locate it on their site. But it should be there. There are other tutorials others have done online too that you can view to better understand what is offered.

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        1. Natacha Guyot Post author

          Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve spent part of my afternoon reading an eBook covering the basics, as I tend to do better going through a written tutorial of sort, before trying a video one.

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      1. njmckay

        you can compile and save your finish product in a dozen different formats including epub and amazon’s mobi. So, it’s not difficult to resave them into something more generic for publishers.

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  2. eclecticalli

    It’s a process to learn how to best use it, but I really am happy to be using it now for some of my work. The piece taking most of my attention (Disparate Threads) has a lot of moving parts, and isn’t always linear, so I like having the ability to have a bunch of different pages for the the different section so of the story, files for character notes, world notes, and peripheral materials, and then being able to sort the files into different “collections” and easily mark my progress on them (posted, ready to post, done, with editors, rough drafts, to do).
    If I were writing a more straightforward novel-format I think I would probably still use it, but it would be used differently.
    I’d say go for it if you can… try out a free trial for a bit to get the feel for it, but it’s totally been worth it for me.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Thank you for your comment. I am reading a guide that present the basic features as to gain better insight on my own, besides gathering opinions. I am possibly going to write several stories within the same large universe. This is why I am thinking about using Scrivener because of how it allows to gather so many things within the same file. The free trial might be a good idea as well (due to a history of messed up attempt at free trials before, I tend to forget about them!)

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      1. eclecticalli

        I’ve especially loved it for the multiple-stories in one universe piece. Basically I’ve seen it as taking all those word files and folders that I had to keep track of and cramming them into one program. Though, I’ll admit, I have been guilty of still having a word document or notepad open at the same time.

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        1. Natacha Guyot Post author

          That’s exactly what I’d use Scrivener for, since my academic work goes all fine in Word. It’s that when I started to go through my notes for this fiction project, I kept staring at all my files and going from one to the other and thinking that my brain wasn’t going to compute it all, with this arrangement.

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  3. Beth Caplin

    I’m still old-fashioned and write my rough drafts in Word, but using Word with Createspace has been nothing but an endless headache for me. Scrivener took care of my spacing and margins issues. I haven’t used all of the features, and I find many of them unnecessary, but I guess that all depends on how organized you like to be. You can try a 30-day free trail before buying it, which is what I did.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      I never considered using anything different from Word (and my notebooks) until I dived back into that universe. If Scrivener also helps with formatting (more than Word can) that might be interesting for exporting and finalizing papers I even write in Word. I won’t get into the fiction work now, as I have a paper to finish and another one to write first, but the trial might be a good thing. Thanks for your input!

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  4. infinitefreetime

    I’ve tried to use this program over and over again, it fascinates me, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. Fundamentally it wants me to write in a way that I either can’t or won’t, and it just sits on my hard drive tormenting me.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      You’re not a hopeless case! I love my notebooks. And there are times when I can’t type at all. I type really fast, but when sitting at a class or a conference, I never can type notes. It always have to be written by hand!

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  5. Bookgirl

    I’m technically challenged, but I love Scrivener. I have notes and pics everywhere, so i find Scrivener is a great way to collate all my material in a coherent way. Just take the time to learn how to use it and you’ll love it too.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      The collating aspect is something that caught my eye, about Scrivener! It seems quite useful that way. I have a tendency to enjoy complicated software, though tend to rely on a fraction of what they can do, in the end. Thanks for your comment!

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