If you’re a writer, chances are at some point you’ve heard of the Scrivener book writing software. What you might not know is that it’s a writing software program born from the desperation of Keith Blount, a writer, looking for a software program that could help him to organize and better express himself in his writing. And trust me, this fact matters. From reading testimonials from users, it’s extremely clear that Keith Blount solved a problem, not just for himself but other writers too.
What is Scrivener?
Scrivener is a software program that combines a text editor and word processing with mind mapping tools designed to help organize and pull long documents such as manuscripts, research papers, screenplays, etc. into one central area. Whether you’re a writer that prefers to plot in advance or fly by the seat of your pants in whatever direction your characters choose, you can keep your research, notes, writing, images, audio, even video, all together in one program.
Most Scrivener reviews from users agree it’s a great way to organize their research, notes, and writing, all in one place. Scrivener works for writers of all fiction and nonfiction genres in any format including:
- Guide makers
- Short story writers
- Technical writers
- Graphic novel writers
Scrivener Reviews and Tutorials Reveal Best Features:
- Easy to Import Work from Other Word Processing Programs
- Automatic split of chapters using #
- Word Count Target Icon (shows you progress toward your word count goal)
- Use metadata tags to view things like POV, word count progress, status of each scene and track character POV or scene time quickly
- Labels let you color code things like POV and last known location
- Attach comments or notes to a word or phrase at the moment and follow up later
- Easy to use customizable templates for character sketches and location settings
What Scrivener Can Do for You
- Save you tons of time
- Make your life easier by handling some of the pesky and frustrating formatting issues that accompany long text like manuscripts and research papers.
- Handle the nuances of formatting for different platforms so that you can focus on writing
- Help you organize in multiple ways using color coding
- Give you a place to capture notes on those spontaneous ideas until you are ready to work on them again. Get them off your mind, so you can focus on finishing your current project.
- Insert notes for yourself that attach quickly and easily to any word, phrase, or section so you can keep writing knowing you can come back later to do that follow-up research or find the name of that book you wanted to link to for your audience.
If you haven’t tried Scrivener yet and if you’re starting a manuscript or even if you’ve stalled out on your manuscript, I urge you to give Scrivener a try for free using the 30-day free trial from the Literature and Latte website.
Distraction Free Writing Feature
Scrivener includes a composer mode that hides all the distracting menus and buttons if you choose. Customize this full-screen view by setting not only what background shows behind your text but also use the zoom feature to customize paper size while writing.
The Collections feature is in my opinion, a simply revolutionary feature for writers of any genre. By using this feature, you can look at multiple parts of your document to monitor how subplots or character growth develops throughout your manuscript. Pick and choose scenes or chapters and view them all together without worry that you are forever altering your final output. For example, select only scenes where your protagonist appears or only chapters written from your villain’s POV.
Easy Import into Scrivener
One of the best things I saw in one of the tutorials is a demonstration of how to import an existing manuscript or partial one into Scrivener. By adding a hashtag to the Chapter headings of the existing manuscript document, you can tell Scrivener how and where to split your existing manuscript as it imports, so it’s formatted for the new structure. You can virtually hit the ground running…or in this case writing.
Worry Free Manuscript Export
On the flip-side, when you finish your manuscript at long last and are ready to export it into publishing formats for print, e-book, etc., Scrivener makes this process quick and so much simpler than doing it all manually. It handles most of the formatting and technical details for you. Simply choose the type of output you desire, tweak some features special to that platform such as internal cover page, TOC, author name, etc. and print. The best part is, your text document isn’t altered so you can immediately export into a second publishing format with different requirements if desired.
Scrivener reviews describe it as one of the most useful features in the Scrivener software program. Think of it as a collect all folder for your research. In the research folder, drag and drop all information whether text, photos, pdf, website links, or even video to save it and refer to it when you’re writing that section of your manuscript.
The best part is, the compile function excludes anything in the research folder. So, when you are ready to print your manuscript, everything in the Draft folder is included, but nothing in the Research folder shows up.
Split Screen Feature (Vertical or Horizontal)
One feature that those who have offered Scrivener reviews rave about is the split screen feature. This feature lets you split your editing screen in half vertically or horizontally with just a simple button click. With a split screen it’s so simple:
- To put a rough outline of plot in one-half and write it up in the other half of the screen
- To load an image on one screen and write about it in the another
- To have research on one screen and write in the other
What do Scrivener Reviews Say About Customer Support?
The Scrivener interface is similar but different from most word processor interfaces, so it will take some effort to learn. Most users swear that you can be using it to write within an hour or two but will never have time to explore all its advanced features. But have no fear because even a decade later, Scrivener is run by a small team of Scrivener users. They are passionate about helping others and this shines through in their customer service.
Should you need help with the software, you’ll find it easily in the Scrivener support forum. Unlike some other customer service departments, you’ll find customer support is real and personalized at Scrivener. They give specific directions on what to try first and then provide you with the customized email addresses to ask for help in specific areas. Scrivener also provides a list of learning guides and books on their software from authors and users who rely on it.
For those that have written manuscripts or attempted to write manuscripts in the past and stalled out or given up because the work of organizing and formatting your thoughts killed your creative process, take advantage of the thirty-day free trial and go back to writing. Your copy of Scrivener is waiting for you on the Literature and Latte website. And with the available coupons it could be yours for under $40.
So, if this Scrivener Reviews article has made up your mind, then get out there, grab a copy and start improving your writing today.