is there a way to make word work????

I’m in the process of adapting to a new Imac after using Microsoft products for decades. So far, it’s been an easy move.

I haven’t written for publication for a long while. When I did, I published mostly short stories and articles, with quite a bit of business writing thrown in. Everytime I tried to write a book–and I tried numerous times–I started off with a great surge, then, after the third chapter, everything fell apart.

A friend of mine who had published 28 novels told me I wasn’t outlining enough. I tried to follow his advice, but his methods didn’t work for me. Then, last year, I stumbled onto Writer’s Blocks (a Windows software) and it turned out to be the exact thing I needed to get past the outlining/conceptualizing hurdle. I don’t know why, exactly, but it freed me from whatever was blocking me.

I recently purchased Scrivener to help me pull the outline (about 50 pages of disparate bits and pieces) into a rough draft that actually goes somewhere. I had no problems moving the outline into Scrivener, and spent about a day dividing it up the way I wanted to work with it.

Now, I’ve started on research. Thanks to reading this board somewhat obsessively I learned about and downloaded Devonthink Pro to replace AskSam, which is what I have always used in Windows. I actually like Devon better than AskSam, although they are both very good.

Now the question. (As you may be able to tell, I’m really wanting to talk to other writers about all this.) What is wrong with Word for doing a final draft? People talk about it being “bloated” but that doesn’t bother me. It’s easy to build the Word interface exactly the way you want it and send all the features you don’t use into hiding.

I HAVE had some bad times in the past with it getting wonky when I re-wrote and edited longer pieces (say, a hundred pages) and then crashing at the worst possible time. The really bad part of that was that even with a backup all I was doing was restoring it back to a wonky about-to-crash version which took me back down the yellow brick road all over again.

Is there some way around this? Say make each chapter a separate document and then put them together at the end or something?

I’ve downloaded Mellel, and to be honest, I don’t think I like it very much. It’s spell checker is just lame, and I really rely on the autocorrect in Word when I am going fast. I don’t want to have to go back and spend a day or two correcting typos by hand in Mellel that Word just does for me.

I like Word. I just don’t like it when it starts behaving as if it needs an exorcist.

I gather the people on this forum all detest Word, but is there a way to make it work for someone who’s spoiled by its niceties?



Well, you are in the Scrivener forum.


It’s my impression that, after getting their heads around how Scrivener works, most users prefer to write in Scrivener up to the last very minute and then export to their word processor of choice for final formatting and dispatch to the publisher.

You seem adept and unintimidated by Word so why not use it to do your final polish? If you do the majority of writing in Scrivener, the likelihood of Word causing hair loss is reduced.


As far as Word goes, the only way I found to make a large file more stable (and I had the same problems as you) was to do a “save as” to a new filename.

Near as I can tell, Word (and some other MS Office apps) keep a change history even when you don’t have change tracking turned on, and “save as” only saves the current information, making the cleanest possible file.

Before I ditched Word, I had a novel which was a 14Mb Word file - and about a 600kb text file. Loads of old version info and other useless crap there.

Scrivener is good for everything but the final formatting - and I’ve been finding it pretty good for that too, because I use MMD and LaTeX export :slight_smile: