Mindmaps, scrivener, omnioutliner and graphs

I’m very interested in using scrivener, but want to understand its limitations and best use.

I’ve got omnioutliner. What does scrivener give that it lacks?

I’ve used mindmapping tools, and find them useful, however I use them in the form of the dot language (graphviz gives the documentation on the Mac). This works well for me, but I’d love to get a good graphical view of chapters, subjects, locations, characters and so forth. Is scrivener good for this?

Is there a way to export from scrivener to dot easily?


Thanks for your interest. Firstly, I don’t think you can really compare OmniOutliner and Scrivener - Scrivener doesn’t really provide anything that OO “lacks”, just as, say, PhotoShop doesn’t provide anything that TextEdit lacks. For pure outlining, you can’t beat OO. Scrivener has a built-in outliner that was partly inspired by OO, but it is just one element of an organic whole that is dedicated to producing a draft for a long text - a novel, a script, a thesis or whatever. So, rather than working with items in an outline, you are really working with chunks of text that can be represented as items in an outline; equally, they can be represented as index cards on a corkboard.

Scrivener does not provide a graphical view of chapters - nothing like a mindmap or anything. This isn’t what Scrivener was designed for, really, Scrivener is more like where you throw all your research and text and ideas and get them into shape for writing, editing and reorganising your draft.

If you haven’t already, I recommend you take a look at the video on the main product page, and if what you see interests you, download the trial to see if it works for you. If you are looking for something entirely different, pop by the “Software by Other Folk” forum, where a number of users have discussed software that provides mind-mapping and graphical approaches to writing, so you might find some recommendations there.

All the best,