kid-friendly version or template set?

do you think scrivener is too ‘heady’ for highschool/junior high students?

  • no, not at all
  • yes, it’s more well suited to those who already understand mechanics
  • maybe, but with the right template it could be great
  • maybe, but the interface would need to be different (beyond just a template)
  • “…any book is a kid’s book if the kid can read!” (mitch hedberg)

0 voters

you know, i was once again inside scriv thinking about how amazing it is for coordinating thoughts and writing and it struck me that this is a perfect way to introduce very young writers to ‘structure’ - thinking junior high here (my own kid)…

what i’m wondering is how hard it would be to develop an interface option that sort of ‘strips out’ some of the advanced features (like the whole getinfo section) and perhaps manipulate icons and default setup for young writers (e.g. ‘my characters’ ‘my plot’ etc)…with an option to simply add in the advanced features as they begin to really get it…

of course, perhaps this could be done with a template as well, though that does not impact the overall feature set…

i’m gonna have my son try to write his next school paper in this and get his own reactions…it might be overkill for most of what he’s doing, but it seems like such a great way to teach structure and coordination during the writing process…great for those just getting into mechanics…

btw, what i’m thinking about specifically is the amazing utility of the corkboard for moving around story components…

Scrivener would have, in no way, baffled me as a 7th-12th grader. I might be slightly unusual though. I was introduced to the concepts of programming and computer usage at a very early age (around 7), and as a result I’ve always had a high level of aptitude when learning new programs. I remember that I was also writing fairly decent sized stories in middle school, and using index card systems and designing a database (using some DOS program I cannot recall the title to) to keep track of various things, when I was around 12 & 13. I think I really would have loved Scrivener, actually!

I personally see no reason why your average 7th grader would have any trouble using Scrivener better than I do within a week. Have you seen the interface for Warcraft?


Eiron’s right about the sophistication of kids with computers, but they still need lots assistance with writing. Even when they can form sentences and paragraphs, they still need guidance on describing experiences or evaluating ideas.

I would suggest creating an initial Scrivener file in which you replicate your course instructions and assignments. Keith’s Tutorial.scriv could be a model, since it provides progressive instruction on how to use the software. Then use folders and templates to set up examples and exercises.

You might have a section called “My Journal” where they write their first drafts, as dated entries. Then ask them to pull Journal clips into later drafts. That will teach them to make flexible use of the interface. The eventual goal would be to leave behind your tutorial and create independent projects.

If you put together a file like that, I’d be glad to review it and offer suggestions.

Your ideas make sense to me, Howarth. And though I’m sure the Scrivener interface itself doesn’t need any dumbing down or tarting up to appeal to kids, there are lots of ways Scriv’s features coud be leveraged for young writers. Off the top of my head:

  1. Encouraging them to use snapshots so they could play around with different ways of writing a passage without being afraid of losing their work.
  2. Teaching them to write the “Crappy First Draftâ€

I doubt a Junior high school or high school kid would have an issue with the program for one main reason: there are only three pots: DRAFT, RESEARCH, and TRASH.

I know I wouldn’t have were I that age. In fact, wouldn’t have had a problem with it at age six. but I would hit up my parents for a new laptop to test it all out. :stuck_out_tongue: