My First Impressions (Phil Collins Approved*)

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, hold on” - Phil Collins

Yes, I just quoted a Phil Collins song. Got a problem with that? :slight_smile:

From the moment I discovered that the fine L&L team was working on a version for Windows, I was oh so very happy. I had run across Scrivener almost two years ago when I had heard of it through the NaNoWriMo website. After looking over the features I had somehow not realized right away (my eyes, they play tricks on me!) that it was only for Mac until I went to try to download it. When I had gone through the features I had told myself, “This is it. This is what I’ve been looking for!” – you see, Microsoft Word wasn’t enough anymore. I realized it was harder to write a full length novel without being able to divide it up into scenes that were easily accessible (yes, I do know some ways around this, but who wants multiple Word files on their computer called “Scene 1”, and “Scene 45”.

So when I discovered Scrivener was only for Mac I wept, and cursed Mac users everywhere (for that, I am sorry. I really do love you guys, I swear!). I found yWriter5 before starting my NaNo novel in 2009, and it worked just fine. It was simplistic, a bit too simplistic for my taste, but it had the most needed aspects that I needed and I won that year. I was satisfied…for a while. I kept hearing about Scrivener from other websites, and wondered why I hadn’t come across Scrivener much sooner in my Internet surfing, novel writing days (Shoot, I’d have probably invested in a Mac sooner had I known!). So imagine my belief when I saw the news of Scrivener coming out for Windows.

I think my husband thought I’d gone insane.

So I camped out on the site on October 24th (is that even possible? Virtual camp out?), and refreshed hourly on the 25th. When I finally was torn away from the Internet to attempt being a wife and mother instead of a fangirl waiting to catch a glimpse of Phil Collins (PHIIIIIL! OMG I LOVE YOOOU!), the Beta was released. In my haste I kept looking in the wrong area to download it, and got frustrated, but finally I found it. Once downloaded I promptly ran around my husband several times while saying, “SCRIVENER! SCRIVENER! BETA! BETA! OMG!” and he asked me to lay off of the caffeine for a while. I was like a kid at Christmas!

Oh right, my first impressions? Well, I have an older, much abused laptop. I thought maybe it was simply running slow due to my poor laptop not being able to handle it, but then I discovered that it was the same for others. I was happy to hear that because I knew it would be easily fixed by later updates, which it was. It also fixed some of those capitalization errors, though it still doesn’t register “doesn’t” or “don’t”, etc. Simple errors, ones I can work with. I wasn’t fazed by it. I took to heart that, as a Beta, it would have plenty of issues – including crashes, and other nasty bugs. I saved and backed up anything I had written whenever I took a break to look over what I had written. Thank God I had, because on Oct. 28th I experienced a major uh-oh. I had backed up my work, and gone to take a break, only to come back and reopen to half of what I had written erased – completely gone. Had I saved it beforehand? Yes. Backed up? Yes. It took a while, but in the end I only lost two sentences that were easily replaced. This gave me a momentary heart attack, but I survived. I’m pretty sure I have nine lives like a cat, or maybe our four cats are putting together all of their nine lives just to keep me from dying. Who knows? I love those cats.

With NaNoWriMo approaching I have a sense of anxiety, though. Should I continue using Scrivener as my main writing program, or go back to writing my actual novel on yWriter until Scrivener is released? On the one hand, I don’t want to have a major screw-up happen that ends up erasing half of my novel, but on the other hand I don’t think I could go back to another writing program and feel the same again like I do with Scrivener. All I do know is that, once released, I will be a Scrivehead (Scrivenerer?) for life.

*This post is not really “Phil Collins Approved”.

The answer that is purely personal and up to your tolerance for working with early beta software. Stuff like this is going to happen as software grows out of its initial phases. Some people have no problem with working in that environment and making sure to back up multiple times a day, others might prefer to wait until the nasty stuff is sorted out by the adventurous crowd and return when things are release-ready.

To me, it sounds like you prepared well, and recovered well from a bad bug. It sounds like you’ve got the wits to manage working in something that doesn’t even have all of its features yet, so if you prefer it already to the alternatives, go for it! No harm in stepping out of the ring and going to a lower-stress environment either. :slight_smile:

My solution has been to mainly do my novel in the Mac version of Scrivener and use the Windows beta for other stuff (I actually created a whole project just to log bugs!) that either 1) isn’t urgent/able to be recreated easily or 2) has a version either in hard copy or online somewhere. So far, I’m glad I did that. Obviously, you don’t have a Mac, but you might be better off doing your NaNo novel with a more stable piece of software, and use the Scrivener beta for other things.

On the other hand, if I were in that position, I probably couldn’t resist using Scrivener, even in beta stage, for my novel.

Though I do fear something major happening to end my Nano novel for good this year, I decided to use Scrivener. I figure that if something bad happens after all of the major work I had put into keeping it from happening, it’s fate. So yes, I will be using Scrivener’s beta version to attempt my novel this month, and I do intend to win. Mainly because I want my Scrivener discount! :smiley:

I’m using Scrivener so far too, and I LOVE it! The indent bug is a bit annoying, but I love the program too much to be bothered much by it. It’s fantastic and useful and fantastic for organizing the way I want to.

(That’s a lot of fantastics, but you get my point.)

I’m getting the indent bug, too. Definitely annoying, but manageable. And the discount is great incentive to actually finish. What I did when I finished writing earlier and went to bed was compile what I’d done thus far - just in case Scrivener decided not to open or felt the need to eat my work. I think I’ll stick to writing and compiling to make sure I’ve got everything for NaNo.

FYI, if you’re worried about losing files, don’t. Everything is saved as text, so if something goes belly-up, you can recover everything inside the project file…the files are numbered and not overly intuitive, but any text editor opens them. :slight_smile:

That having been said, I"m backing up way more than I normally do. It’s a good thing to do, in any case, says the recovering grad student.

And this shot of my taskbar should sum up what I think about Scrivener. :slight_smile:

:laughing: Now you know what we Mac users have been experiencing all this time. :slight_smile:

While all my graphics, word-processing and spreadsheet packages are cross-platform and usable on my beloved Macs, games and other software (such as home design in 3D) are Windows only.

I’ve actually considered investing in a Windows machine just to be able to use the fun stuff. (I’m still in ancient OSX land; I’ve had no success installing Windows software into the “soft windows” emulationware that alleges it will temporarily turn my Mac into a Windows machine.)

This is my first visit here, I’m so fresh I’m still sticky—and I have yet to find out if the trial version will run on the laptop I use for the majority of my writing, let alone purchase it (which I will, once it’s confirmed I can use it now). Yes, ancient. Mac G4, running OSX 10.3 (cross your digits). It’ll run on the desktop (G5 in OSX 10.4.11, until I’m able to upgrade to that new MacAir drool); too bad the G5 won’t fit in my messenger bag. :unamused: