Polly's feedback, day 1

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for Scrivener, because after using it for one day, I am madly in love.

Secondly, before I go on to explaining in great detail how well Scrivener works and how well it’s designed and how much I love it, I’m going to quickly say that I’m an 18-year old girl with no experience whatsoever in computer programming. I quite frequently annoy my friends who do know about computers with calls like, “So Windows Explorer crashed again and now my taskbar disappeared. What do I…oh wait. There. It restarted itself.”

Thirdly, I’m running this on Windows7. My friend that I call to ask him what to do whenever my computer does something strange said that I should tell y’all that.

When I saw the add on the NaNoWriMo site that said, “Now for Windows,” I did happy dance around the room and squee a little bit before heading to the website to see if I could download a free trial. When I saw the words “public beta” there was another squee and another bit of happy dance about not having to spend my food money on computer programs again.

On to my actual thoughts on the program:
The tutorial was very clear and really helpful. There were a few spots where I got lost, but I assumed that it was only because I hadn’t read the directions carefully enough and I usually understood it if I’d read them again.
The one place where I really got lost was figuring out how to use the snapshot tool. The oranged-out comment about the lock button confused me, because the camera icon really looked like a lock, so I assumed that the lock button was there and just didn’t do anything. I ended up figuring it out by just clicking the buttons and seeing what happened, though.

So after I finished the tutorial, I imported my current project, which was of course my NaNoWriMo10. I was really surprised that Scrivener didn’t even threaten to crash when I copypasted all 22,354 words in and imported all of my research pictures and character sketches (and there are a lot of them). Microsoft Word threatened to crash when I just copied the entire document, and has crashed on me at least once every couple of days after my NaNo grew to over 10 pages long, but Scrivener handled it without a problem.

Chopping my NaNo into scenes was a little bit tougher than I would have liked, because there is a lack of keyboard shortcuts for splitting a scene. However, despite the fact that I had to go into the Documents menu every time that I wanted to chop up a scene, it still didn’t take more than an hour to cut it up and add a synopsis for every card (and I’m not suggesting that you add keyboard shortcuts now, it’s just something that I would like to see eventually, at some point in the future). I adored the labels that you can put on the cards, and I did have a bit too much fun with those. Several of my index cards now say things like, “Delete this!” and “ANGST!!” for scenes that are just super-angsty.
Another thing that I’d eventually see is the ability to assign different colors to the labels (I know that there’s the the little colored corner thingy, but I’d really like to be able to see at a glance which of my cards is labeled “First Draft” and which one is labeled “ANGST!!” without having to take the time to actually read the labels. Again, this is an ‘eventually like to see’ thing and not a ‘fix it NOW!’ thing.

Writing is also super-fun. I love the automatically updated word count, and I also love the fullscreen, “Don’t bug me, I’m writing” mode. Unfortunately, I can’t use don’t-bug-me-I’m-writing mode very much because the text is waay down at the bottom of the page. With the little bar at the bottom popping up over the writing every time that I try to click down there, navigation is pretty much restricted to the arrow keys. However, I did see in the tutorial that you’re going to be adding a keep-my-text-in-the-middle-of-the-screen mode, which I am eagerly awaiting the release of.

I didn’t really use the outline mode much yesterday, because the corkboard is just so efficient.

And Autosave! OH MY GOODNESS AUTOSAVE! Especially with my computer, on which everything crashes sooner or later, I cannot explain how amazing it is to have an autosave feature, and I never noticed it hindering my writing. I still hit CTRL+S out of habit before I leave the computer or stop to think for too long (too many years of loosing essays has trained me well).

After only one day, I am madly in love with Scrivener. Everything that I used was really well designed, I couldn’t make it crash though I admit that I didn’t really try, and everything that I would like to see implemented is a very small, minor change that I can totally live without.

I echo Polly’s feedback.

I am totally impressed with Scrivener and it has been performing very well for me, other than the text editor issues of which many have been fixed.

I have two writing projects on the go at the same time.

Thanks so much to Lee and the Scrivener team. You have made our lives so much better.

“One more thought about the tutorial: o-r-g-a-n-i-Z-e: organize. It was spelled “organise” about 20 times in the tutorial.”

Scrivener’s developer is English, and lives in England, and that’s how the English spell “organize.”

Oh. That would explain it then. Sorry, my bad. ^^;

Thanks for this excellent post; which is not only fun to read, but has some good insight on what a program looks like to a new user.

By the way, no need to worry about “tl;dr” here. :slight_smile: In this forum, we froth on for pages about such things as which sort of ink is best for a fountain pen.

I can vouch for that. I’ve been loitering here since early 2007, and I have never come across this abbreviation or the sentiment it expresses – in fact, I had to look it up! :slight_smile: That’s one of the lovely things about this forum: it’s full of keen writers, who are probably all keen readers, too.

Now, about that ink… :wink:

Thank YOU Scrivener! I downloaded your beta for Windows in early Nov. to keep me on track in Nano and I didn’t know what to expect. Straight away I liked the simplicity of the program. It’s clean and cut. I have several other programs for writing novels, screenplays etc. but this one, so far, is the easiest to learn on the fly.

I’m well over sixty and if I can use it, almost anyone can. After NANO I shall be getting the full program and putting it to good use in the future.

I am concerned about the export bit… and compile. I don’t know if it will compile the MSS in the correct order or not and I’m scared to try it, but I only want to move it for editing purposes and then move it back again, but I might try one chapter and see how that goes.

Also, I have no idea what HUD is or it’s use. I tried to find out but there isn’t much about it.

After writing my first chapter, I sent it to trash by mistake. That big red X is too easy to use. :slight_smile: It’s likely still there I know, but maybe the red X could move away from the icons one uses frequently.

The only other comment I have is that whenever I tried to move chapters around in the Binder Panel they made themselves children of the one nearest, and then I realized I had to get a straight line in there to insert between them.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely and I will be to my friends on Writing.com and elsewhere.
Congratulations on a great program, and thank you for the organizational features.

Add me to your purchaser list, if you have one.

Warm Regards,

Polly. I hope you will read this. I think I understand what you’re talking about, and we can do this right now.
In the inspector of each card, there’s a status bar. It says things like "first Draft’ “To Do”, etc. You can go in there and tell it what you want written across the front of the index card. There’s also options to add your own status codes, such as “Angst!!” That way when you’re looking at the corkboard of the whole section, it says right on the card the title, the synopsis, and the “status”.
Write more if you have more questions. If the team can’t answer right away (this is a huge board!) maybe someone else has already discovered something you haven’t.

Yeah, I think I understand what you’re talking about. There’s the status options and the labels, which I kind of mentally refer to as the ‘stamps’ and the ‘corner stickers’ because that’s what they look like on the index cards.
So there’s the stamps, and you can stamp a status across the cards, and there’s the little labels that you can use in different colors.
But as far as I can tell, there’s no way to change the colors of the ink for the stamps. Is there, and I’m just missing it?
I mean, in this picture here I have my two cards with little green stickers on them, and I have two other cards with the red stamps on them.
Ideally, I’d like the ability to set the stamps to have different color ink? I mean, It’s not a big deal and it’s something that I can totally live without (it still totally wins over my old Wall of the Sticky Notes of Plot), but if there is a way to change the color of the stamps, I’d absolutely love it if someone can tell me how to do it.

You can change the colours for the status stamps.
Go to Edit menu, choose Options.
Click on the Appearance Tab.
Click on any of the listed items, i.e. index cards
Click on index card status stamp

To the right you see a colour dot, click on the dot to get the colour pallet.
Choose your colour. You can make a custom colour and save it by clicking in one of the clear little boxes.
You can change the colours for the other items in the list.

The changes seem to be global, rather than individual.
If the First Draft stamp is made red, it will be red for the whole project.

You can create new new status labels by clicking on the down arrow of the status box.
At the bottom is edit, click on this and you can create a new stamp of your own description.

Hope this helps.
I am just another Scrivener user sharing what I have discovered.


It’s still a bummer that I can’t set an individual color for each stamp (if I set the ‘first draft’ stamp to blue, it also sets the ‘revision’ and ‘done’ stamps to blue) but again, this isn’t an issue that I will be unable to live without, more of a ‘when it’s finally finished, I’d love to see it’ kind of thing.

So far I haven’t had any BIG issues with ScrivenerWin. All of my little issues have been things that I’d like to see when it’s finished but right now I’m just incredibly happy that it replaces my Wall of Plot so effectively. I was running out of wall space…
And everyone on the board is so helpful too! You guys ALL rock.

One week later:

How did I do it with Word?
First of all, Scrivener crashes WAY less often then my Word2000 does (and by WAY less I mean it hasn’t yet crashed :smiley:). Occasionally, when I switch from my section that I’m working on and try to view the entire draft, Scrivener goes nonresponsive until it’s had time to think (which is usually about 15-20 seconds later) but I’m pretty sure that that’s my computer and not Scrivener because sometimes Firefox does that when I switch tabs or Media Player will do that when I try to change songs. I’m just mentioning it in case other people are having that problem.

Anyway, I just love this software and wanted to share that with everyone. I don’t remember how I wrote a coherent story in Word, and I love all of you guys and how helpful everyone is!

Long switch times usually mean you are running low on usable RAM, and your computer is having to use the hard disk to keep up. Close a few programs and things should speed up in a few minutes. I periodically toggle Safari, Firefox, and iTunes if it is open. These three all memory leak really bad. If you leave them open for days they will consume entire RAM chips, which is saying a lot these days. :slight_smile: