Based on recommendations from other writers, I decided to try Scrivener. I’ve been using Microsoft Word and Pages (on my Mac) and like both but am always game for something new.
I’ve finished my month free trial and bought the software. Overall, it’s useful for writing a novel. It has some features I liked and others that I didn’t. These are listed below.
I’d love to hear what your favourite features of Scrivener are. It’s time-consuming learning new software and if you would like to share how you use it, I’d appreciate it.
- Try before you buy: Only the days you open the software count toward the trial period. I had a month of days to play with and learn the software.
- Split screen: Allows you to read 2 versions of a scene at the same time. This is useful when you are trying out changes but don’t want to commit.
- Meta Data customization: I’ve used this to replace my Excel spreadsheet.
- Meta Data located at the side: You can fill in as you write the scene.
- Automatic Chapters: This avoids typing the wrong chapter number.
- Customization to compile into word: You can format the way you, your publisher or agent prefers.
- Notes: Handy to have right in the scene you are writing or for the overall document.
- Synopsis: Reminds me what I wrote in the scene.
- Comments: When I imported my manuscript from MS Word, my comments imported too.
- Cork Board: I don’t like index cards, so this works for me.
- Page Breaks: You can indicate which sections you want a page break before when having the manuscript scenes compile into a novel.
- Text to speech: Is easy to use. I always have to dig through Microsoft’s menus to find this.
- Storage of documents: Everything related to my manuscript is now in one place. I don’t have to use Excel and multiple word documents. This makes referencing the different information quick and easy.
- Importing research files (right into folder) – Keeps me organized. I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to store documents.
- Saving to ZIP file at end of session – good for obvious reasons.
- Highlights dialogue if quotes don’t match.
- Meta Data sorting – I re-sorted the title column, and I couldn’t can’t get it back to original sort, so I had to number the titles
- Converting section to folder: If found this awkward. I think there should be a new chapter command. If you know of one, I’d like to hear about it.
- You can use command and click to get a new folder but it took me a while to find this.
- Couldn’t figure out how to import so chapter and section breaks were there. I had to manually put them in.
- For Meta Data, the software doesn’t pick up that a word has been types earlier in a column like Excel does. Have to type each word.
- Software defaults to courier: This is fine, but I like Times New Roman. I had a hard time figuring out how to get all text to change. The chapter heading kept going to Courier.
- Folder outline: If a chapter only has one section then you can’t just have the top folder. You have to have a folder and a section.
- Folder Numbering: I thought folders should number automatically.
- Snapshot: Is hard to use. I wanted to snapshot the manuscript, but could only get it to do each scene at time. Too time consuming.
- Switched to straight quotes in the middle of a scene and I have no idea why.
- Spell checker seems slow to catch errors. Not sure how to activate it properly.
I’m going to keep using Scrivener until I get better at it, but I think it’s going to work for me.
Again, if you have any tips, please share J
Thanks for reading . . .
For another review see M.Q.Allen.
7 thoughts on “Scrivener Writing Software: Pros and Cons”
Wow, you really went deep into the feature list!
The biggest advantage I felt Scrivener has over other types of software is the fact that everything related to the project is in one place.
Funny, I had no luck with the snapshot function either. I resorted to making a duplicate file and making changes to the new one.
Kirsten, Glad to hear it wasn’t just me who couldn’t figure out the snapshot. Thanks for the comment.
I like you found so odd things to scrivener. I found undder the fiction template that the best way to create folders is to hit the Manuscript and the on the bottome left create new folder. I stared with 10 and then added as I went. Then I click on the new folder revealing an empty corkboard. I used the + on the bottom left of the cork bard for the index card. Gave the card the same name as the chapter. For me I used one solo index card with the break down of the chapter for quick reference. Lots of people use mutiple cards to break down every detail. depends on your preferences. anyway, in the upper left corner of the index card double click and past or write your chapter. Thats the easiest way I found to do it. Ignore numbering the chapters. I support naming chapters just for the creative process at first for faster results when u need to go back.Once you compile it the chapter numbers are label in accordance to the order ot the chapter folders. So make sure they are all in order. Times New Roman is my preference as well but thats minor and quick to change. Open the fonts hit “T” and it pulls all the fonts with that starting letter. I think the program is great for new projects getting off the ground and with everything there in one place I give it a good review. Though I wish it had better instructions for beginners
Thanks for all the great tips on Scrivener and for taking the time to share them. I’m going to have to try them out. Funny how there is always something new to learn.