My new biography published

I’ve been working on my coauthored biography of the great American composer Lou Harrison since before Scrivener was a gleam in Keith’s screen, and I’m proud and relieved to announce that it finally emerged last spring, just in time for the centennial of the composer’s birth, thanks in no small part to Scrivener. That coincidence of timing has resulted in an appearance on National Public Radio and sales of the book at centennial concerts around the country, not to mention flattering mentions in publications like The New Yorker, LA Times and (soon) TLS.

In fact, I wish Scrivener had played a larger role, but I was unable to persuade my esteemed co-author to join me on the platform, resulting in bothersome exchanges of .doc files (using Pages as a then-inadequate intermediary, as I won’t use Word and he wouldn’t use Scrivener) that bollixed up the footnote formatting, much to his consternation. Nevertheless, that small annoyance was entirely worth the benefits that Scrivener brought to my contribution to our book, which involved copious amounts of research (the last 100 pages or so are basically references), multiple timelines, great swaths of historical and musicological context surrounding the core chronological narrative, and more.

I’ve used Scrivener since the very first versions, in my feature journalism, and publish several stories per week created in it. It’s a great help for long-form and other structured writing, but also for short form journalism that involves research from various sources, all of which gets stored in individual story projects. With the arrival of iOS Scrivener and my iPad Pro, I’ve also begun using it as a kind of substitute file system for clipping and organizing research, press releases and the like for my regular journalism. And now I’m embarking on a playwriting project in which I and my collaborator both plan to use Scrivener on our iPads Pros. In fact, it’s one reason she’s about to buy one – her first Apple product after digitally impoverished decades of suffering with Windows, Linux and Chromebook.

I have tried just about all the others, from the old CopyWrite to Jer’s Novel Writer (remember those?) to the new Ulysses and many others, and have yet to find any product beyond my Macbook and iPad themselves that have so enhanced my career as a journalist and now author. It just seems to work and think the way I do. For all the kinds of writing I do, nothing comes close to Scrivener as a digital tool. For me, it’s the ideal writing application and companion.

I know I’ve said this often on these boards, but I must re-state my enduring gratitude to Keith and the team for creating a product that made my book and my journalism much better than they’d have otherwise been. I also appreciate the help offered by my fellow Scriveners on this forum over the years in helping me use it better. In fact, without Scrivener to make the process faster and more efficient, we’d likely be aiming at a publication date closer to my subject’s bicentenary! Thanks again, and I’m looking forward to my future work created in Scrivener 3… and beyond! Thanks again everyone.

Congratulations Brett!

Hope the book does well for you.

I’ve never heard of Lou Harrison :frowning: but will check him out. :slight_smile:

I heartily concur with your sentiments towards Scrivener, the L&L team, and this board. They are the best.

May your upcoming fully Scrivener collaboration go smoothly!


Thanks, JimRac! Lou wrote a lot of different kinds of music, from gamelan to percussion to orchestra to chamber to opera to choral and more. I usually recommend this beauty from the early 1950s as a starter but am happy provide more suggestions to my fellow Scrivenati.

Well done and congratulations Brett!
I know how disciplined you need to be to finish a book.
It must give you a great sense of pride.

Thanks, Halleron. Yes, we’re proud of the book, but I realized shortly after receiving my author copies that the real joy was in the actual writing itself – after the research, after the organizing and plotting, before the citation checking and style tweaking – just making that world come alive brought an enormous thrill every day I sat down to draft those actual chapters. It’s also been nice to hear that so many people have enjoyed it, and I’m glad we were able to bring this important story about 20th century art and this great character to so many people. But still: for me, the writing was the thing, and Scrivener made that so much easier.
*Edit: by coincidence, a few hours after I posted this, we got notice of a very nice mention in the New York Times. Nice, but doesn’t change my position that the writing itself is the main thing.

A belated reply as I’ve been on holiday for the past fortnight, but congratulations on the publication of your Lou Harrison biography, Brett! That’s great to hear that it is getting good reviews and has had mentioned from some top publications. I hope it does well. Thanks for the kind words, too!

Thanks, Keith, and thanks again for Scrivener! I know it started off as a fiction writing studio, but by listening to requests from customers like me, and expanding your own vision, you’ve made it evolve into an ideal tool for biographers as well. I’m almost tempted to write another one, just to get to use Scrivener’s new features (and iOS version) – and from the beginning this time! Of course, I will continue to use it every day in my journalism and no doubt whatever else I write. For a long time I thought of it as mostly for big, structured projects but I keep finding ways for it to help my productivity in shorter pieces as well.