I’m a huge fan of Scrivener.
Like, a big enough fan that I wrote an entire series on it (read the Scrivener series here).
Why all the Scrivener hype over here?
What’s the big deal?
In a word, it’s awesome.
In more words, it’s hands-down the best option for writers who regularly write longer articles, books, reports, novels, and technical papers.
But let’s start at the beginning. Here are five Awesome Scrivener Facts to give you the “best of” rundown:
Scrivener Awesome Fact #1: It’s REALLY Simple
Scrivener bills itself as a “complete writing studio,” which might lead one to believe it’s convoluted, bloated, packed with too many features, etc. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Scrivener is the kind of software that seems daunting, until you actually start using it.
Once you jump in, you’re faced with an uncluttered, easy-to-navigate window of nothing but white typing space. No extra dangly menus, none of that Microsoft-esque “ribbon” crap, nothing.
There’s the usual menu on the top and right, and you’ve got some extra view options (see the series for more info) on the right, but it’s all noninvasive — meaning it’ll wait for you to be ready to use it.
Scrivener Awesome Fact #2: Organization Just Happens
Seriously — this is where I get to brag about it and say things like, “I know you don’t believe me — but just try it!” until you actually try it.
Organization in Scrivener is equally noninvasive — there’s no “set” way to organize. You get to choose what your documents, folders, chapters, parts, or whatever look like. Want to place a piece of text content inside another, similar to what folders are for? Go for it. Scrivener will track right along with you!
Further, everything’s kept in one document. Forget about saving individual chapters as separate Microsoft Word files — Scrivener saves everything (automatically!) in one file, and can even back it all up (again, automatically) to DropBox or somewhere else on your computer.
Scrivener Awesome Fact #3: Complete Project Control Under One Roof
Keep your research, character sketches, links, notes, and random musings all in one Scrivener file. Each element is ready for you to drag-and-drop it into your project.
Or you can just leave them as musings — no need to compile them into the finished project…
…which leads me to the next Awesome Fact:
Scrivener Awesome Fact #4: Compilation Options Are A Dream
Want to make a quick-reference PDF with clickable links from an auto-generated Table of Contents? Guess what? You can literally do it in two clicks (three if you don’t have the TOC built yet…) and have Scrivener spit out a beautifully-rendered PDF.
Want to publish an eBook on Amazon? Just compile as a .mobi, .epub, or one of the other ebook formats. Further, open it up in Calibre (free!) and have Calibre finalize and compress the Kindle file.
Want to print your own masterpiece? Get a PDF ready to go with a full-fledged suite of compiling options: TOC, indices, facing-page management, page numbering, font changes, styling for headings and titles, I could go on…
Scrivener Awesome Fact #5: “Hidden” Features
Here’s one: it comes pre-packaged with an awesome name generator. Want an Egyptian-sounding last name for your female lead? Fire up the name generator and have fun!
Keep notes on individual sections or chapter/folders, or however you want. Include scene sketches for each one too, or don’t — it’s up to you.
Oh yeah — my favorite “hidden” feature is the user manual. It’s quite literally the best one I’ve ever read. It reads like a nonfiction book, and it’s written in an engaging and welcoming style. I found myself clicking through it numerous times, just because it was fun to read!
You don’t have to get Scrivener…
…But it’s really getting to the point where I’m surprised it’s not a requirement for all writers. I’ve written 5 (almost 6!) books exclusively in Scrivener, and I wrote one in Microsoft Word just to compare. You can probably guess how that turned out.
It’s such an unbelievable program that I found myself wanting to write, just so I could open it up… that’s not a joke, but yes I am a dork.
And finally, no, I have no association with them other than the fact that I’m an affiliate. That means that if you purchase the program using one of the links in this post, I’ll receive a commission. I don’t write about product unless I’ve vetted it, believe in it, and really love it, and it’s never any more expensive for you that way.
So what do you say?
If you’ve already used Scrivener, what were your thoughts? Why did you stick with it, or why did you give it up? What are currently using to write?
Leave a comment below!