Need some Scrivener functionality, but...

LIke many here, I suppose that I’m a non-linear writer: I write, write something tangential, write something tangential to that, capture some media for subsequent inclusion, and then, as I go, as well as at the end, I pull it all together until re-editing it. My questions are these.

My work involves proposals with multiple media (long, complex documents) and memoranda (like proposals). I use and hate Word. Scrivener would seem to be ideal for my purposes—except for its templates suggest creative writing usage and so does its compilation. I don’t want to compile a product that’s a screenplay. With all this said, Scrivener is a thing of beauty and I’m looking for justification to buy it. (It’s more than that.)

Does anyone use Scrivener as I plan to? Any advice you could pass on or posts that you could refer me to? I’d appreciate it very much and have a compulsion to reciprocate well.

Dr. Evan Stark PhD,
AKA, “Ev.”

Hi Ev,

I’ve used Scriv for about 18 months now. My first project was a non-fiction, business book. I can honestly say that without Scrivener it’s unlikely I would have been able to finish it. I had started the project in Word and was becoming increasingly frustrated. After several months of sporadic progress, I imported my growing Word doc into Scrivener, created discreet and manageable chapter-based documents by using the Split at Selection feature, imported all, or most of, my research files, and completed the book in about four months.

Since then I have been using Scrivener to plan five more projects and begin work in earnest on one — this one a business fable, which combines both fiction and non-fiction elements. The other projects are in various proposal and development stages, possibly not dissimilar to the output you need to generate.

I find Scrivener to be a godsend for collecting and organizing data, for noodling with concepts, for creating and manipulating outlines, and for generating first (plus) drafts.

Once I have to think about formatting (eg, for a proposal) or start-back-and-forthing with my editor and/or copy editor to make revisions on the way towards a final draft, I export my Scriv files into Word, making sure to keep my Word documents small (a chap or less per doc), and use Word’s outstanding Track Changes feature to complete a final draft.

The various templates and compiling features you refer to are great add-ons but need not be used if they don’t fit your writing style or work flow.

I couldn’t recommend Scrivener more highly. Without it I would probably not be a published author with a publisher actually pressing me for more material.

Hope this helps.


There are a lot of Scrivener users that use it for journalism, academic writing, and non-fiction, as well as writing novels (its original design intent) and scripts (something added on after at the request of a lot of writers).

Scrivener is flexible, and should be fine for what you want.

You may need to export to a word processor for final formatting if you have specific requirements, but that is a small problem if you find the words come out so much quicker in Scriv :slight_smile:

Plenty of us are using Scrivener for non-fiction. Don’t let the templates scare you–they just reflect the interests of the people who were inspired to create templates. Screenplays in particular have attracted special attention because they have very specific formatting requirements and a vocal user base.