Is Scrivener for me?

My book, which I published in 2015, is a nonfiction historical writing that was 416 pages long. Back in the 2010s when I was writing it I used hand written notes the old-fashion way. It was a work on European History and I ended it at the fall of Napoleon around 1815. I now plan to write the sequel to it which will be from 1815 to the present times. This sequel could be 100s of pages long and I might use 1000s of notes. I was planning to use Schreivener to write it and Evernote to make notes. I’ve stacked Evernote with 13 notebooks which I call chapters. Is this plan do-able? Can I upload these notebooks a chapter at a time to Schreivener from Evernote? As I said there might be 1000s of notes and if I uploaded a note at a time it would take me forever. Ideas. . .?

If you can export your Evernote notes to your computer, you can drag those files into a Scrivener project. You should create a test project in Scrivener (the Mac/Windows trial version is free for 30 days of use), drag your notes into the Research folder in that test project, and see if you can easily organize them, search through them, etc. The Help menu will have an “interactive tutorial” project you can create to get you familiar with the basics while you trial the software.

If that doesn’t work out, then Evernote will still contain all that original research, and you can delete Scrivener and the test project.

Also, you can just use Evernote at your repository of notes, and just do the writing in Scrivener. There’s a lot to be said for having a place to dump new research, articles, and thoughts while you’re away from your computer, especially if that place is designed around keeping notes and research. Scrivener is excellent at letting you plan your actual writing, and breaking it up into “chunks” to help you arrange (and even re-arrange) those chunks as the project’s structure emerges during the first drafts and revision stages.

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Your subject line would lead me to one response. Then your text seemed to be specifically about capturing notes that you have in Evernote. I cannot address the specific one (I’m glad Rdale did). So I’ll attempt to give my own answer concerning the general question of whether Scrivener is for you. Of course, that depends on the person’s particular tastes (since a good writer can use any tools and still be a good writer). My goal is to simply give points to ponder so you can decide whether Scrivener is for you.

I’d judge Scrivener’s applicability to you on the precise things it offers. It is a great way to gather many notes and links in one place (as Rdale discussed). Here are the other benefits that I see (and I hope others list things I miss).

It allows one to put their writing in easily moved segments and define the binder (where those segments are held) in any hierarchy that works for the author (e.g. Acts, Chapters, Subjects, Scenes… so I’ve used Acts at the highest level, and Scenes under that, then my text files). Now I can move files from one scene to another and even move it to a different Act if desired… I can change the order of scenes within the Acts, etc.)

It allows the author to maintain the format in which they want to write, AND formats that disparate recipients (ARC, publisher, editor, friends, etc) want it in. (NOTE: This takes a fair learning curve, but the flexibility is fantastic). So once that’s set up, I can EASILY “compile” a copy for a specific recipient. If I find a bad typo after I’ve created those, I may not be happy, but it’s not a big deal because I can easily generate any of those output versions again. (It can output any of these with a specific formatting and with a specific type of output file such as PDF, Word, text and many more.)

Many of us love the capability to use “regular expressions” because (to varying degrees of difficulty) you can find very specific occurrences of a pattern, and find errors that a typical search will not find (e.g. double typed words). I’ve used this to track specific characters. I may have it simultaneously search for a character’s formal name, informal name, any number of nicknames, derogatory names other characters may use, etc. This ability to find odd-ball sets of references is super handy to me. I save those to find that specific character again (anywhere in the novel).

It will show “index cards” on a “corkboard” that will help you see an overview of the work (this is frequent in a novel, but would be useful for most types of writing), and this overview is maintained with the text files and the timeline view (all are different views into the same set of documents so any change in order will be reflected in each view).

A view called “Scrivenings view” allows you to see segments of the document OR the entire document in one editor window, just as if it were all in a typical editor. OR you can open only one segment at a time.

It’s nice to be able to create collections of files, either manually created, or dynamically created (by doing a search for terms, etc.) This allows a researcher or a novelist to have a collection of all references to some substance/chemical/person or whatever you can put in a search.

The feature set is much larger, of course, but those are big advantages that jump out at me while just pondering (and not searching for them).

This may give you the beginnings of whether this offers you enough benefit for learning yet another package. For me, it has been clearly worth it.

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Rdale gave good advice.

Another thing that you can do is rather than just dump all your notes into Scrivener, that you just keep them in EverNote, that is what EverNote is for. Many Scrivener users also use EverNote, I did until I switched to DevonThink (macOS)

What you can do as your project progresses is to put relevant notes from EverNote into your Scrivener research folder. That way you wont be buried under a mountain of notes which may no longer be useful. It also refreshes your memory of what your notes contain.

I wrote a PhD thesis of about 85,000 words in Scrivener. My subject area was psychology and history relating to the First World War. I had hundreds of footnotes and references. I couldn’t imagine trying to write something like that in anything but Scrivener. As mentioned above, I tend to keep most of research material in DEVONthink, and link to it from Scrivener. I used Bookends as my reference manager.

BTW – Scrivener isn’t German. It’s an English word!


This random (and true) fact completely made my day! :rofl: Is this some sort of buying criteria?

I spent the best part of ten years teaching English to non-native speakers, and countless hours in more recent years marking thousands upon thousands of English exams. I spent a lot of time spotting misspellings. It is ingrained in me now. :grinning:

I didn’t even notice the title! :rofl:Oh boy. Now everything makes sense.

13 posts were split to a new topic: DevonThink for Scrivener users

If you buy an app called Eagle Filer you can export all your Evernote notebooks with their tags into Eaglefiler, then you can merge these notes and use the scrivener quick capture or just copy and paste the merged notes. Hope this helps.

Interesting though all this discussion of using DevonThink is, I hate to say it but the OP seems to be Windows user; which rules out DevonThink … and EagleFiler.



Evernote has a similar linking capability, which might be usable as a Scrivener bookmark: Use Note Links to Get Around Faster | Evernote | Evernote Blog.

It’s an easy thing to test ;just get a link, add an external Scrivener bookmark, and paste in the URL. It might be that you have to get a “public” link, which is available to anyone with that link, even non-Evernote users. That’s probably an HTTP link, and would display the note/notebook contents in the Scrivener inspector.

Thanks Mark. One of the good things about the old forum software was that you could see the platform with the posts. Not that it was always a reliable indicator!

Right you are. I wonder if there is a place on the LL community dedicated to using Scrivener and DEVONthink together.