Noob's Praise

Greetings All,

I remember trying Scrivener a few years ago and passed it over. I can’t remember why now. Either it really improved or I missed something. I’m buying it this time.

I have used numerous brands of writing software.

Dramatica Pro - I didn’t know what the hell was going on there.
Power Structure - severely restricted word processing power - good organization though.
WriteItNow - In the PC realm I thought they were the best.
Storymill - I used it when it was Avenir. Really ambitious and flexible, I just couldn’t get my head around its database/link model. And it needed a far more comprehensive help/tutorial for noobs.

The one I’ve been working with for awhile is Storyist. It has a little of the good stuff from almost everyone (except for Dramatica). Its best feature is the manuscript-ready formatting for novels. Actually I think for my next project I’ll write everything in Scrivener, then export it to Storyist for the formatting - if that is doable. The only downside for the program is the stodginess of the categories like Plot, character, location. When and if I want to use such a section - I need to fly - jot it down as fast as possible. I have always found a plain sheet of paper preferable and sufficient.

I like Scrivener’s multimedia capabilities - that opens up possibilities I hadn’t even thought of before. The split screen is simply awesome - I could use it to compare two versions of the same scene side by side, and to actually have research notes viewable at the same time as writing instead of toggling between tabs. The full-screen looks like what I grew up writing on - a plain sheet of typing paper. That’s good when you don’t want to be disturbed by a sudden screaming urge to know the current temperature in Budapest. And, like I alluded to, I like the simpler tree structure that is not made up of preformed sheets.

So, excellent software. It comes the closest, I think, to an “organic” way of writing on the computer. That is, like the way it used to be done - paper, pen, cards, secretary/mistress.

Obviously, it’s up to you however you work :slight_smile: but you might want to take a closer look at Scrivener’s own “format on export” capabilities, which are in the Compile Draft dialogue.

If your ms is just normal text (i.e. no illustrations, diagrams, etc.) then Scrivener - which was originally designed for novelists - will produce a perfectly good final document, complete with headers, page numbers, chapter headings, etc.

Hi Bob,

Many thanks. I’m really please you think Scrivener comes close to an organic way of writing, and the way it “used” to be done, as that is absolutely what I hoped. I wanted a computerised version of my binder, notes, clippings and corkboard, so that I didn’t have everything scatted all over the place put kept altogether in one project. So, it’s always great to hear that a user sees it that way, too.

As for formatting - if Storyist imports RTF or DOC then you could indeed export to Storyist. However, as Antony says, you can also let Scrivener do the formatting for you. It is designed so that it can take whatever you have written and turn it into manuscript format at the “Compile Draft” stage. So, you might write everything in Optima 13 point, use italics and so on, but at the “Compile Draft” stage - which puts all of your documents together for print or export - all of this can be changed. So, it can change the font to Courier 12 and convert all italics to underlines. It can change the formatting to be double-spaced, and add a SURNAME / title / page number header at the top of the page. Take a look at the Novel (Standard Manuscript Format) template to see how this can be achived. All you really need to do is pop a title page at the top of the Draft folder before you compile and then select the correct settings - you can worry about it all later for the most part.

Anyway, thanks again!
All the best,