Writing software


I’m currently testing this writing program: Scrivener

So far I’m majorly impressed with its design, especially it’s easy to use functionality.

First off, the major strengths of Scrivener is it’s organization abilities.  On the left hand side of the program is the “binder,” where it’s wonderfully easy to organize the scenes of a writing project within folders and/or collections.  It also has a research section that supports a multitude of different file types. It has a split screen feature, where you can have your text you’re writing in one screen and your research in the other screen, allowing for easy reference without the need for any outside programs and outside stress sources.  It has a full screen option so you can work in an environment without distractions, and the split screen option is still functional in the full screen option as well, allowing for easy access to all your research in the comfort of one program.  Which is nice since I was tired of trying to keep track of seven different documents open at the same time, and trying to shuffle through them all to find information I needed. Scrivener’s search option makes that search ten times easier, especially with all my documents encased in one place.

It has great back-up features, especially it’s snapshot option that allows for me to take “snapshots” of my drafts, so in case I don’t like some of my changes in the editing stage, I can revert back to a previous version in the snapshots options.  You can also back up the entire project – like on my thumb drive, which is a big relief since I’m always a bit paranoid about backing up all my projects in at least three places, just in case something goes wrong with the primary storage place.

It also has an outlining feature that maps out the story in great detail, and gives me a lot of options as to how I want to set up the outline, if I want to rearrange pieces of the outline, and gives me a nice overview of the project.  There’s also the corkboard that focuses on showing how the project looks in synopses on notecards, which I can rearrange to find the best way to tell my story.  There’s a lot more to the corkboard feature that I have yet to explore since I’ve played more with the text-editing features, organization features, and outlining features the most.

There’s also the inspector that can help me analyze my writing in depth, and gives me a place to put any notes on a particular scene.  It’s also the place where I can take snapshots of the work, add keywords to documents to make it easier to keep track of characters, important items in the story, and settings.  I can also set project goals and I have the option of putting them in an easy to see place, so I can watch as I progress closer and closer to my goals.

The research section is by far my most favorite feature, for being able to access my research documents at the same time I’m writing, in an easy to use format is absolutely wonderful. I do wish it had a timeline format, for that’s always fun, but it’s not really necessary for my writing.  I mostly needed a program to help me organize myself and really focus on just writing – not the organizing to prepare for writing.

It also has a wonderfully compiling program that makes it easy to export my work and put it in the right format for what I need.  You can use the existing templates for compiling and exporting novels, scripts, short stories, and so forth, or you can go in-depth and format the piece exactly how you want it, exporting it into a variety of different file formats.

So overall, I really like this program, and I’m thinking I’ll probably end up buying it.  It’s only forty dollars which is definitely a decent price for all the many features it offers – especially since some programs, that showcase similar features, were in the hundred dollar range!

I’ve tried out a few open-source programs as well – yWriter being one of them, but I had to input everything about my characters, settings, important items, and other details by hand in that program, which was way too time intensive in its set-up. I had to revert my documents into a very specific format also in order to import them into the program, and yWriter didn’t have a very good compiling option, so it was hard to get my work out of the program.  As much as it had some cool features in regards to organization of the novel and various scenes – yWriter also had a neat timeline of characters feature – it took way too much time to set up the project, and it was too hard getting my project out into a format where I could send it out to publishers, agents, and so forth.  I wanted simplicity in a software if I was going to go that route.

Scrivener does a much better job, and it’s cost is low enough to be within my price range.

Anyone else tested or tried out any programs to help them write more efficiently?

Categories: WritingTags: , , , ,

6 comments

  1. I have tried both programs. Scrivener wins, hands down.

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    • I definitely agree there! I’m going to do a bit more testing, but I think I’m buying Scrivener with my next paycheck. I’m just loving it.

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  2. Well, I just learned something new. I should have realized there would be software for writers, but since I’m not a computer expert (by any means) that never occurred to me. I may buy that program too. Thanks for telling about it so well.

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    • It has a really great tutorial that you can read through, which will be really helpful for learning how it works. I went through that tutorial and was impressed with how thorough and easy it was to grasp the majority of features in it.

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  3. I’ve tried to use Scrivener before, but I just haven’t needed all of its power. I just have a simple text editor and a few scripts for my writing environment. It suits me well.

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    • That’s totally cool; it’s what I used for years too. Though it’s only lately that I’ve realized I needed a new way of sorting my projects. Lately, I’ve tended toward large world-building projects for my science fiction novels, but I also tend to be disorganized unless I have something to keep me organized. So it all works out in the end.

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