Does Scrivener have a query function?

Between Wishlist and question because I don’t know if it does.

I just got Scrivener and I LOVE how easy it is to compile. Everything looks beautiful and ready to submit. I was wondering if it had anything for queries? Those also have specific formatting that I am nervous about messing up. I thought it might and I am just missing it, so I asked. If not… Consider this a request! Thanks!

I don’t recall anyone posting any tips for doing something like that, so I unfortunately don’t have anything easy to point you to. What sort of changes are you looking to make to the output itself? We can probably help guide you through any aspects of that if there is an itemised list of adjustments you have in mind.

Is this about query letters for shopping a script or some other sort of ‘query’? Showing my innocence here, I guess.

Sorry! I meant a query like the kind you would sent to agents with a novel manuscript. Considering Scrivener was made for writing and formatting novels, I assumed it would have something built-in for this, but it’s fine if it doesn’t!

Ah yes, that is what I was thinking. Scrivener contains no boilerplate for query letters, nor any special function for page-formatting a business letter.

But it is an awesome app for writing!

I am surprised to hear there is some special page formatting for query letters. (But what do I know?)

Best Wishes,

Some publishers have specific guidelines for query letters, which may include implicit or explicit formatting instructions.

Since there’s no “one size fits all” query format, it’s probably best just to make sure you have each publisher’s guidelines available and tweak to match as you submit the query.

Thanks for clearing that up. Query means question, and that’s a broad topic.

It’s more like one can use Scrivener to write a novel, but that’s not what it was made for. In fact, a few project templates aside, it doesn’t really have any features specifically for writing novels. It is by and large a general-purpose writing tool that specialises in long-form works of most kinds.

It’s not quite as good for short things; query letters and the like, mainly on how its entire philosophy is geared toward large-scale text management (and even then, not so much formatting, though it has some basics). Personally I would think it much simpler to just use a Word template to make it—it will have everything you need.

Scrivener is where you might stash a copy of it them though, along with keeping track of rejections and other such materials that float around the concept of writing the book itself.

I understand why you said this and I get it, but I am pretty sure what you said here is literally false. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Sorry, I’ve squinted at it six different ways, and am not seeing what you mean!

The only reading that makes a kind of sense is original motivation? Like if someone made a desk because they needed a flat surface to draw a map on, then you could say say that the desk was made for making maps? I’m not sure how useful that is for someone learning what a desk is and how it can be used—especially if that idea for making the desk was always that it be deliberately not specifically for cartography, and instead for all manner of things that need flat surfaces. I.e. the map-making motivation lead to making a desk, and not a map making tool, even to the point that we might say the notion of making maps with map-making tools might be limiting to the kinds of maps we make, making desks a better choice all around.

So if that’s what you mean, then I would say we are using the word “for” in different senses here. And especially so once you consider how the software has grown in the years since that original motivation. My own contributions to its design for instance have never been motivated toward novel writing, aiming more to broaden how well it can be used in non-fiction and technical fields. I don’t write novels, but even if I did I wouldn’t want to write them in a tool made for novel writing.

I think you might be going down a philosophical rathole, here. Gr’s point, if I am understanding it correctly, is that L&L spends considerable time and effort marketing Scrivener as a tool for writing novels. Heck, look at the multi-year partnership with NaNoWriMo.

But your point about Scrivener’s strengths being suited to kinds of writing that don’t really cover query letters and other short one-off communications is also fairly evident.

In any case, whether one uses Scrivener to develop a query letter template (nothing stopping the user from doing so!) and write/compile the actual query letters, or uses some other tool to write them, one can certainly argue that the resulting documents could easily be stored back with the novel project inside of Scrivener so all correspondence is stored together.


Well, that’s why I went down the “literal reading” of for X, because what you’re saying isn’t actually the case—at least not as a tool for novel writing. If you read through Scrivener’s description you’ll find it very carefully avoids pigeon-holing itself into any particular form of writing. If anything we spent a lot of time working to avoid that stereotype in how the software is described, because it limits how people think of its capabilities. You see it all of the time, “I know Scrivener is made for novelists, but this seems really good for X…”.

But whatever the case, for the question I was answering: that one might presume to find tools that novelists need in Scrivener because it is made for novel writing, is what I meant to point out. Where we promote the software and whether or not it is actually good for novel writing is somewhat aside to the more important point there.

I understand the distinction you are making here, and that’s not what I said. There is a difference between “You can use our tool to write novels” and “you can use our novel-writing tool,” but novel writing is still clearly one of the most popularized use cases and audiences for Scrivener (hence the ongoing partnership with National Novel Writing Month…)

I mean, Ford trucks are great for hauling trailers, and while they’re good for a bunch of other things, Ford doesn’t shy away from making sure that prospective trailer haulers know about that use case in addition to all the others.

This is highly entertaining! :popcorn::cup_with_straw:

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Ack! I didn’t mean to start anything here. I was just surprised the novel manuscript template doesn’t have a specific page for a query it since it has pre-created documents for character sketches, settings, e-book printouts, and everything else you might need for writing a novel. I didn’t mean that it was literally created for the sole purpose of writing a novel.

Basically anyone going for traditional publishing needs to query, so I thought there might be a built-in. If not, I’ll just add a next text document. NBD.

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Yup! You can even set one up like you need, and then use File ▸ Save As Template... to make it part of how you start a new book every time. It’s a good technique for making the software work how you need.

As to the rest… I must confess to not really understanding the argument being made, so I’ll let it stand as is. :slight_smile:

Don’t really want to open this broad discussion back up, but since I sort of started it, maybe it is appropriate that I say something.

“Screwing in bolts is not what a screwdriver is for” is not a claim supportable by pointing out that you can also unscrew bolts with it (and that this is a “use case” the manufacturers of screwdrivers have in mind). On the other hand, “Screwing in bolts is not what a butter knife is for” is totally true. Clearly, Scrivener is the screwdriver here not the butter knife.

The point about origin is actually apt here (and part of what I had in mind), but surely it is not right that that intent is just a thing of the past. To broaden one’s aim is not to lose it.

… And, while I would be loathe to advise you in such matters @AmberV, for reasons @devinganger has pointed to, I was indeed struck by how prone your statement would be to misinterpretation — by folks thinking in a less refined way about these matters than you — and so it did seem like a thing that might want a different way of expressing.

Since I didn’t really want to spur debate with that initial hint and nor do I now, perhaps we could just fancy the above is an irremovable, impervious-to-debate opinion I have on the matter. :wink:


Oh, beautifully said.


(and padding to twenty characters)