Novels, editors and scrivener

Hi all,

I am writing this after reading through the forums on this, my third time trying to switch to Scrivener. At this point, I am not sure that it is possible for me to do, but just in case someone out there has the solution to my dilemma, I’ll post it here.

I am a novelist who has just published his first novel with a major publisher, and also just gone through most of the work on its sequel. Like many people, when I started writing I just fired up Word, because I had it on my computer. I used Notebook to compile my background notes for the series, but I did worry that my working methods were needlessly inefficient. By the time I’d heard of Scrivener, I had committed quite a lot of work to my current setup, but it’s features sounded so enticing that I had been considering manually transferring all my notes into the Research folder, even if it took me weeks to do. The whole system appeals to me immensely, since I have a horror of losing ideas or context as I work.

There is one stumbling block, though, and it’s big. My editor works in Word, and uses Track Changes. So far, in working with him on two books, I would guess the book lives inside the world of Track Changes for about half the development time. So what I foresee is that I could convert to using Scrivener (which would cost me a lot of time converting the notes), and happily work away… until I submit the draft. Once the draft it back in my hands, it’s a Word doc with tracked changes in it. After that, I’m not using Scrivener anymore, unless I’m missing something, and so for me, Scrivener could only be used for the first draft or two. Or am I missing a workaround? Please tell me that I am.

While it’s encouraging to me to see so many author testimonials on the site, I also have learned enough to know that Word is deeply entrenched in the big publishing houses. I wonder, then, if they just have more lenient editors - lucky them! If anyone has been in my situation - wants to use Scrivener, but has an editor who uses Track Changes in Word, and has found a way to effectively use Scrivener throughout book development, pretty please let me know, because my finger has been on the Buy button here for a long time now.

There are several options. One technique I use is to save the Word document as a PDF (with the changes visible) then import that into Scrivener as a research document. That way you have a fixed copy of that draft, plus a list of all the suggested changes and associated comments.

To work through the changes, either use split screen view (the PDF in one panel) or open the PDF in a QuickReference window and then use that as a reference while you work through making the changes in Scrivener.

A benefit of this method is that you have to manually make the changes, so each change becomes a conscious choice. For me, this meant I thought about whether I wanted to make the change and, if not, whether a different change would address the editor’s concerns.

Hi Nom, that is a very appealing idea. I do sometimes get eye-burn from tracked changes, so dealing with each set of changes in a separate document does sound like a useful approach. Thank you! That is an avenue I think I will explore.