Praise, and how I use Scrivener

Thank you, Keith, for creating, developing, maintaining, and updating this terrific program. I read about Scrivener in MacWorld at about the same time that I was in the middle of a historical novel. By then I had written three memoirs, one novel, screenplays, numerous essays and op-eds. I write in English, but most of my work is about Puerto Rican culture and life.

I’ve been writing on computers since 1982. In the mid-80’s I found XyWrite, a program I still miss. Probably because that program allowed me to imagine what was technically possible. When I migrated to the beauty and ease of Macs, around 1988, I wrote using WordPerfect, then, finally hopped to MS Word because it seemed to be the standard. I’ve been using and cursing Word ever since.

I was hooked after five minutes with Scrivener. A writer came up with this program, I could tell, because it allowed me to work the way I’ve always wanted to, with all my materials right there, easy to find, to navigate, to organize. I transferred the work I was working on – a historical trilogy of novels – that had been challenging me for five years. The massive amounts of research in florid, 19th century Spanish, which I had to understand, translate for myself, then use in order to create my characters and situations, had kept me frustrated and annoyed most of the time. My husband thanks you, by the way, because I am much nicer these days since I began to use Scrivener. No more hundreds of files all over the place! No more crashing documents because Word has issues with my using Spanish and English in the same sentence, paragraph, page over the course of an 800 page manuscript.

But my reason for writing, in addition to inflate your ego, is to let you know that Scrivener has saved my writing life. Just two weeks from delivering my manuscript I had a stroke that affected my ability to read and write. I was pretty sure that I would never be able to finish Novel 1 of the trilogy, let alone the series. Encouraged by loved ones, doctors, readers, and friends, I’ve been able to climb back from despair and was able to find a way to write again. When I was able to read and comprehend my own writing, there were my outlines, documents, photographs, links, notes, fragments, notes, chapters, neatly organized in my binder. I could see how much I had done, so clearly and beautifully displayed, easy to navigate.

The stroke has left me with some memory issues, so I use Annotation, Scratch Pad, and the Document Notes to capture phrases, ideas, concepts that I know might disappear if I don’t write them down. Just now I had to do that, and it occurred to me that I should let you know that Scrivener has been not only a program that allows me to do my work, it has also been instrumental in my recovery.

Sorry that this has been so long. I’ve been following the forums, and have learned more about the program from you and the generous, helpful Members. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Esmeralda Santiago

Hi Esmeralda,

Welcome to the forums! I’m sorry to hear about your stroke, but I am glad to hear that you are recovering and finding your way back into your writing. Thank you so much for your kind words about Scrivener. I am truly glad that it has been so helpful to you, and I wish you luck in finishing what sounds like a mammoth venture! (I struggle just finishing a modern novel let alone a historical trilogy with the need to translate reference material…)

Thanks again and all the best,

Bless you, Esmerelda. Your recovery will be faster because of the mental work you assign yourself. And I agree with you about Scrivener. What a gem of a tool.

Hello Esmeralda,
You wrote a beautiful and moving letter. Your writing does not seem affected by your stroke - your letter was excellently written.
I can see how Scrivener was a help to you. I also have to work with more languages than just English and am often grateful for the split screen. It is wonderful to receive new versions of Scrivener. Just when you think it can’t get any better, a new and improved version arrives - it’s just like Christmas.
Best wishes to you for a continuing recovery and steady improvement in capabilities. I imagine that your doctors have advised you about ways of preventing further strokes - Plavix? Aspirin daily? other blood thinners? Lipitor or other statins (to reduce cholesterol)? Nowadays we can check this out easily enough via the internet.
Much love to you and thumbs up for your multi-volume opus.

Philip (in Canada)

Keith, if that quote shouldn’t be at the top of recommendation list, I don’t know what would!


You write beautifully. I don’t think you need to fret about writing. I look forward to your next novel.

Warm Regards


Thank you for sharing your challenges, and best wishes for a continuing recovery. A trilogy is such an incredible commitment.

My husband struggles with CFS. It’s a chronic condition which often affects his concentration. He too finds Scrivener to be an incredible aid to his research and organization. Funnily enough, we recently had this conversation:

“I just got to 100,000 words in draft.”

“That’s great!”

“But I’m not nearly done yet.”

“I told you it would be a trilogy.”

Thank you, Keith, Peninhand,Philip (in Canada), Dave and Werebear for the encouraging words. I feel so much of this community, and it’s so strange and wonderful that we only know each other through the forum – the only one I’ve ever joined or participated in. What a quirky, interesting, generous writers universe this is, our Scrivener-land…

If only all post this long, were as heart warming and inspirational. You seem to be making great progress with your recovery. My sincere wish for you is that you continue to do so, until its complete, and youre back to your old self.
Take care Esmeralda

WOW. Esmerelda Santiago is on Scrivener! I loved your book “When I was Puerto Rican” and assigned it as regular reading when I taught high school.

I am also a published writer (I keep my internet identity and real identity separate) but I LOVE Scrivener! I have been using it for over a year and I blazed through my novel using it. I looked at other programs–Ulysses and Storyist, and did not like them nearly as much as Scrivener.

I have only ONE wish for Scrivener–numbered “pages.” If there was an option which could set words per page or let you set a certain number of words per page, that would be great. Some of my chapters are 20 pages, and it would help to have a marker as to which place I’m in in a particular chapter.

I’ve read something about how KB doesn’t want to do pages, but I really don’t know why. Even if the pages printed out differently than the you viewed them, just working on “page 6” tells me where I am, and I can nearly see where it is on a physical hard copy. I think one wouldn’t need pages for the full screen view, but for the draft view, everything else is so organized and intuitive, having the look of a “page” or even a “book” with two side by side pages and the ability to turn a page would be wonderful. In essence, you could go into “novel” mode. That would be great.

Hi groovelady,

Actually a page layout view is coming in 2.0. I never wanted to do them because I never wanted - and still don’t want - to spend time coding a real-time header/footer view, footnotes-in-place and so forth. I also feel that pages don’t make vast amounts of sense in Scrivener given that you can write in a different font and write in chunks, so the pages of your final manuscript are unlikely to look anything like the pages on screen (which is usually the whole point of such a view - getting to see what it will look like when printed). However, because screenwriters tend to have a need for a pages view, 2.0 will have a basic one. It won’t show the header or footer, or footnotes in place or suchlike, but it will at least show pages for those who prefer that look and feel.

Glad you like most of Scrivener otherwise!

Thanks and all the best,


Thank you for replying so quickly! I LOVE Scrivener. I gush about it to all of my friends, and I’ve converted maybe 75% of them. The Times profiled it, and I went to check it out, somewhat skeptically, but soon found I was writing EVERYTHING on it. Articles are so much easier to write, book chapters…I’m probably twice more productive than I ever was.

AND whenever I teach a book to undergrads, I’ll cut and paste all info from a book in different folders under draft, use the smartboard, then I have everything lined up and ready for discussion–I can simply click and go from showing a timeline, a character chart, the text of the book or a quiz. It is AMAZING.

Many, many thanks for creating it.

I eagerly await Scrivener 2.0.

A big fan,


What’s the smartboard?

Think white board attached to the computer that will allow you to display system based info as well as capture manually added information such as diagrams and the like. We have them at the office, but they don’t work for what we do.

Then again I may be wrong and the smartboards here are just committees made of of smart people.

Or possibly felled and processed planking from Ents. This is just sad to think about though.

Maybe it’s like those Ealing comedies of the 50s about British industry - could have been a reference to the boards of directors: “smart, bored”

Speaking of British comedy and mixing it with KB’s disappointments does anyone know what the point of “Red Dwarf” was supposed to be? The number if nights I spent rolling on the floor is still a point of marital tension. That and “Are you Being Served” were mainstays of my TV watching days. Oh those were the days when PBS was worth watching. Now … … back-earth
Fluff :wink:

blast you!!! You show up just to drive me nuts!

I know, short trip.

Tell me how bad it is. sigh

For Britcom fans, it rarely comes any funnier than “Father Ted.”

And seek out “Black Books”, too!