New Scrivener user with 2 questions..

  1. A lot of people online say that Scivener is not used or is not good for producing/editing a final draft copy of your writing. Is this valid?

  2. I keep reading online that lit and latte (the official scrivener website) offers a 2 hour tutorial on Scivener on their website. I can’t find that on their website. Where is this?


1: Generally correct. Scrivener provides a terrific environment for producing the first draft and any editing you do yourself. As a result it is less good at the to-and-fro with the editor to whom you send that draft, unless they too happen to use Scrivener. It has no “Track Changes” to pick up such marking produced in Word or other WPs. So at that point people generally use Word or equivalent.

2: The Tutorial is built into the program. You find it under the Help menu. L&L have produced a number of Tutorial videos too, but they were based on the Mac version before work began on the Windows version, so while you may find them useful, you’ll have to work round the inevitable differences between the two versions.


Mark, this was helpful. Thanks for the quick reply, but I still can find that 1.5 to 2 hour video tutorial. I clicked on the video tutorial option in the help menu of scrivener and it just takes me to the L&L website listing the videos. However, the longest video is about 30 min and covers the mac version of scrivener. Is this the video everyone is talking about? I also see that they have an interactive tutorial in the help menu, not a video tutorial. Or is this what everyone is talking about? Thanks.

The “two hour tutorial” is the interactive tutorial project. All of the L&L-created videos that exist are on the page you already found.



Now that I re-read it, it’s not making much sense. Any clarification would be appreciated. So is scrivener good for editing or producing a final draft for yourself? is it only a problem when it comes to sharing your export of the finished final draft that you produce in scrivener with someone else?


It’s ideal up to the point where you need for other people to interact with the draft.

What happens after that somewhat depends on your workflow. If you self-publish, people can and do create publication-quality output using Scrivener alone. If you have an editor who wants to do detailed line editing with Word, you may find that moving to Word is more efficient. OTOH, I once ghostwrote an article for six different authors from three different companies. Even though they submitted edits in Word, I found that pulling everything back into Scrivener was the only way to maintain my sanity.

My advice to new users is not to worry about other programs until you need to worry about other programs. If you’re just starting to outline the beginnings of an idea, you don’t need to worry about final output for quite some time. When that point rolls around, you’ll have a much better idea of what Scrivener can (and can’t) do. While in Word, your life is much easier if you set up all your styles and so on at the very beginning, Scrivener makes it very easy to defer output decisions until the end.


Re “Scivener is not used or is not good for producing/editing a final draft copy of your writing” - as others have said, it depends on your editorial process down the line. But, in my view, regardless of how you do the final few rounds of editing, the advantages of Scrivener in the earlier stages make it all worth it.

Answer varies from person to person, context to context. Some use it as their only tool. Others use it as one element within a multi-step production pipeline.

My editor was game to work in Scrivener, but I opted to export and send in Word format. As far as I know, if I want to stay in Scrivener at that point (I do), that does mean I have to manually review/incorporate their edits back into Scrivener, but that’s fine with me. Frankly, even if I worked only in Word, I would do a similar review/incorporate from the editor’s version back into my original, rather than go forward with the editor’s version. I’m sure some opt to go forward with the editor’s version.

Best to try it oneself and get an actual rather than theoretical feel for it… Full feature time limited eval version is available to download and try, good for thirty some odd days of use (don’t have to be consecutive days). Treat it as a brief low cost experiment. Figure out what you intend to write/publish, and how, then do it, in miniature, to go through the whole process a time or two. That will give you a feel for the product, options, process, suitability, etc. Scrivener is robust and generalized, can be used in a variety of ways (pantsing vs. plotting, etc.), can be used standalone or in combination with other tools.

Some folks get started via tutorial, videos, manual. I tried it that way a couple of times, but bounced off. So I just plunged in and experimented. Now you would have to pry Scrivener from my cold dead hands. As with any app, take plenty of backups (local AND elsewhere). Remember that can always do high risk experiments on small proof of concept throw away projects or on throw away copies of real projects. There are books such as Scrivener for Dummies and there are classes available from third partys. As with other apps, you don’t have to master and know it all to start… can start and grow into it as new needs and issues arise.

I’m new to Scrivener, myself. I found the L&L interactive tutorial very helpful in getting started. But, then after a few months away from Scrivener, I needed a refresher when it came time to move my writing projects into it. Actually, I needed more than a refresher. There are so many ways to customize Scrivener, I really wanted to have a solid understanding of its tools so that I could apply them in a way that worked well for me.

Anyway, author Jason Hough offers two one-hour “Boot camp” discussions of Scrivener. He describes how he uses Scrivener, so his tips may or may not harmonize with your style of working. But, as a newbie, I found the videos very helpful in deciding how I wanted to set up and develop Scrivener writing projects.

Boot camp, part 1
Boot camp, part 2