notes from Jer's Novel Writer user

I’ve been using Jer’s Novel Writer for about four months now, putting it through its paces, and I’ve been very happy with it. I’ve used it in conjunction with Mori, which holds a lot of my research and notes.

A few days ago, another member of the JNW forum mentioned Scrivener, so I thought I’d buzz over and give it a try. My first impressions are very positive. Though I have yet to test it thoroughly, it looks like it will hold all the data currently in my Mori file (and since the new file will be integrated with my actual draft, combining the two should be more convenient). I’ll follow up on this as I learn more.

Another aspect of Scrivener I appreciate is its design. JNW works very well. It’s solid, stable, and does what I want. But it’s no beauty queen. Scrivener is clean and elegant. What can I say? These things are important to me.

I’m also impressed with the Edit Scrivenings feature, which has no equivalent, to my knowledge in JNW.

Scrivener’s Annotate and Footnote implementations also seem promising. The one thing I miss is JNW’s killer Margin Note feature, which is absolutely stunning. If there’s any chance this might be integrated into a future version of Scrivener, I have a feeling the switch would be a no-brainer for me (said he, before even thoroughly testing the app!).

Finally, I love the implementation of the full screen mode. Beautiful!

One quick question: Both Keith and Jerry are Vonnegut fans. In fact, Jerry’s book-style page count is based on a paperback version Vonnegut’s Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons. Can anyone tell me what the actual wordcount per page is that’s used in Scrivener’s book-style page count?

Thanks all…


Scrivener is unlikely ever to feature margin notes. Jer’s does this very nicely, and I don’t want to rip off his killer feature (Jer is a great guy). I did try it out for a while, to be honest, but I decided not to implement it for two main reasons:

  1. Jer’s will always do it better, because it is a main feature and therefore more development time can be dedicated towards it by Jer.

  2. Not all users prefer margin notes. There is an argument against it. For instance, if you type long annotations in the margins the annotation text soon trails way below the text to which it is related. From experience on these forums, it would seem that users are fairly evenly split in their preferences for either margin notes or inline annotations.

As for the page count, it is worked out like this:

character count divided by 6 divided by 350

This is based on the idea of a publisher’s word count being 6 characters rather than an actual word, and there being 350 words on the average page of a mass-market paperback. To be honest, this is very rough and rather meaningless, given that it takes no account of half-pages and suchlike, but it does give you a very, VERY rough idea.