Hunting Snarks

As a programmer with 20+ years experience, I started writing my own app for writing novels. I had looked at and reviewed so many novelist apps I was getting quite jaded. Why my own app? I work in a very disjointed way.

My story has chapters and scenes, but it also has threads (nothing new under the sun, right?). Sometimes I work in a traditional linear fashion (go to the most recently added scene in the latest chapter and continue the story), and sometimes I work on threads, carrying that plotline onwards. When working on threads, I may be working on scenes that are well ahead of the main storyline. I may also work on characters, progressing their personal storyline scene by scene. Scenes from threads and character lines need to be held/collected in a sensible manner, and dragged to their position within chapters at a later date. Backups and rollbacks for individual elements of the story are a constant worry and requirement.

I have hundreds of hours worth of research which I need to access, and jot down any idea that occurs to me (whether it is related to the current story or not) so they are never forgotten. Sometimes I wake up and develop those ideas instead of working on the story (someday, they may even be included in a story themselves, or become one). Like I said, very disjointed.

There was no novelist app that I could find that allowed me to work in this way, so I embarked on writing my own. Then I discovered Scrivener, which not only allows me to work the way I want, but does so in an elegant and flexible manner beyond anything I would have done, and throws in a bucketload of goodies to boot. My creative juices are flowing freely, and since Scrivener is so intuitive, I don’t even think about the software and how to use it, I just work and get things done.

Thanks Keith and everyone at L&L for saving me a years worth of hard work on an app that would only have had a fraction of the features you have given me, and allowing me to concentrate on what it is I wanted to concentrate on in the first place.

As a long-term and very satisfied user, who would also have been tempted to program (ineptly) a writing-program, I think this post sums up what a lot of us think, if Keith hadn’t got their first.

So, KB, what about a new strap line?

‘Scrivener: A writer developed it, so you don’t have to…’

[Edit: I’ve been trying to remember what that slogan was for. Bloody memory like… like a thing with holes. Golf course. That’s it. Memory like a golf course…]