Scrivener is astonishingly versatile writing software. I use it primarily to structure research, journal and bring some semblance of order to my plethora of fiction and non-fiction writing. Additionally, having over the past year set sail upon a PhD voyage through uncharted territories and shifting seas, I have found the tool a safe harbour in which to anchor and moor errant musings across multiple devices (laptop, iPad and iPhone).
While it can be argued that there is some over-lap between Scrivener & Evernote, there remains a a place for Evernote premium membership (primarily for the feature of being able to email your notes in and having its own cloud-storage means you don’t have to mess about with Dropbox/iCloud storage as you do with Scrivener to achieve the same result, and also because when Del.icio.us ended I exported all my saved links there).
As Word is the default standard for document review by virtue of ‘track changes’, I continue to share excerpts from my thesis with my supervisors via Scrivener’s compile to to Word. There is minimal messing about with formats to neaten it up and Scrivener’s compile looks better than most of what you might hash together yourself in Word (helvetica as font helps).
A plethora of options exist for formatting content for PDF compile via Scrivener.
I use End Note for Cloud as my reference manager (again synced across my various devices), I’ve not yet experimented with drawing in my references to Scrivener but I understand it’s possible, I will need to update this post subsequently.
Below are some screenshots of various projects currently in Scrivener.
With this year’s release of the iPad version of Scrivener, the tool has come into its own (far less clunky and error prone than Final Draft – which I’ve had fully corrupt files on which I was working across my laptop and mobile devices – even when faithfully following the rules).
Linked to the above, it’s possible to set iCloud or Dropbox as your working folder (and back-up folder) for Scrivener. Unlike Evernote they are not in the business of cloud-first, which is quite refreshing in some ways (except if you haven’t bothered setting up a cloud-backup and lose all your work on a machine, which wouldn’t be so refreshing).
Quite apart from the above interaction, Scrivener provides amazing functionality including tagging, point-of-view (for fiction), fully customizable options, sharable templates, etc. visit the Scrivener site and watch videos to learn more.
As simple or complex as you want it to be
The magic of Scrivener is that it can be used simply without adjusting its default setting and it’s still a great product, while it’s gloriously customisable (without compromising its upgrade path) for those who want to make it their very own. As someone who generally explores software independently I have found Scrivener’s features so comprehensive that I purchased the online Two Hours to Scrivener Power course (from the Australian Writer’s Centre), have watched a range of clips from both the Scrivener site, downloaded a range of templates to trial, it’s quite addictive.
Win friends and influence people
The other benefit of joining the Scrivener cult is companionship. My writing group chats away happily sharing new functionality we’ve unearthed, with Keeta in the group the high nerd Scrivener goddess among us. I hope this brief summary might entice you to do the same.