I know a lot of people have already waxed enthusiastic about Scrivener, but I just wanted to add my voice.
I’ve been writing since the days when computers were large, slow boxes called BBCs. Since university, I’d been surviving with Microsoft Word on either a Windows PC or a Mac. I tend to be very reluctant to move onto new, unusual software, but after I took the plunge and bought Scrivener I’ve been incredibly impressed.
I’m a writer of fantasy, with a huge amount of background research and development going into the books before they’re produced. I had everything stored on a sprawling set of files on my harddrive and my own Wiki, which is brilliant if you have a huge world to manage. I’ve been moving everything onto Scrivener, gradually, and a week ago began work on my 19th book.
Scrivener is really easy to work with - I love being able to put absolutely everything in one place. I now have one rapidly growing project with all my artwork, notes and anything else I would normally either have to write by hand or put in Word documents that get lost in the morass of notes I produce.
I love having all my word totals in one place, as well. The outliner does what I used to have to do manually automatically, saving me an awful lot of time and effort.
I really, really wish I’d had Scrivener when I was completing my PhD. I’m recommending it to all the post-grads I know, and if I ever do another one (which knowing me, is entirely likely), I will definitely use it.
I haven’t yet experimented with changing layouts - I’ve been happy to have the Inspector and binder available all the time while I’m writing, and I use document notes a great deal if I have to stop halfway through a chapter but know I need to include something specific to a subplot or action.
I know this is very gushing, but I’ve been deeply impressed by how much easier and more organised working is with this software.