Regarding Scrivener's scope (aspiring writer)


In the introduction to Scrivener as a writing application, it is suggested to move to a Word processor ( I guess Microsoft Word, or similar ? ) for final formatting, and to use Scrivener as an application for making drafts. Since I am writing a long format text for the first time, and intend to buy a Scrivener license, can someone help in resolving this ambiguity ?


Scrivener is a writing program, not a layout program.

If you’re writing a novel, it can produce clean ebooks and print books, so long as the author doesn’t want an elaborate or complex design. You can take a look at an example of Scrivener output here… … =brkies-21

InDesign is advocated for incremental formatting. If you’re on a Mac, Pages will do a better job than Word. Word is a terrible tool to use for design: it is a program built to complete basic office functions such as letter writing. As a low-end clerical tool, it makes a mess of anything more complex than simple memos or in-house reports.

Essentially, I think of Scrivener as a database. It allows you to input ideas, gather reference material, import graphics, and complete and manipulate your writing in an infinitive number of ways.

Like a database, you can run a report to compile your data as you think best. You can compile, recompile, and endlessly re-recompile without ever destroying the underlying data. And like a database, it can run complex compiles and produce perfectly presentable reports/manuscripts; but also like a database, some people might need to tweak the final layout of their reports/manuscripts to get the exact look that they want.

Word, Pages, etc don’t come close to matching Scrivener’s research and production capabilities.

Scrivener is the DNA toolbox you need to produce something original, complex, brilliant, infinite, and beautiful. Word processors can just add a little rouge and lipstick at the end, if that’s what the author wants. Some people do, of course, try to produce works made up of nothing but rouge and lipstick.

If you were building a state-of-the-art home…
You would be the architect.
Scrivener would be the land, permissions, tools, materials, and artisan builders.
At the end of the build…
InDesign would polish the windows.
Pages would clean the windows.
Word would smear the windows.
Or you might just be happy with the windows as they are.

Haha, thanks Brian, for your reply ! The windows analogy clarified my doubts perfectly.

A good amount of formatting can be done in Scrivener, the compile is very powerful for setting the fonts, dividers (or lack of) between chapters, headings etc…

If you want an advanced layout, you may wish to use a final formatting application as detailed above, so far as anything i’ve done is purely text, ‘standard’ layout, i’ve gone direct from scrivener to Kindle, and PDF (for createspace etc) with no issues…

Welcome. But I really am BriaR, not BriaN :smiley:

if my post it note is correct that’s 4 brians in the last 7 days… Maybe you should cap the last letter in your sig…

Ask Kevin how well the whole signature clarification thing works.

For most of my writing (99%) I’ve completely done away with using any word processor. When I really must have a beautifully formatted manuscript (as opposed to an adequately formatted one) I export the final and completed version of the project to LaTeX using File > Compile and tweak what needs to be tweaked. Otherwise all my drafting, writing, editing, revising is done in Scrivener.

My own approach is to do everything in Scrivener until I encounter a task that Scrivener can’t handle.

For some projects, that never happens, and I’m able to send Scrivener’s final output directly to my editor. (One of my editors is actually a Scrivener user himself, which makes things very convenient.)

For some projects, I need more complex layout capabilities relatively early in the process, and so need to transition to other tools sooner rather than later. I tend not to enjoy these projects as much.

For some projects, the client asks for such extensive revisions that I have to pull the “finished” draft back into Scrivener in order to preserve my sanity.

Your mileage may vary. But in my experience, Scrivener is so much better at what it does than all other alternatives that the extra effort of transitioning between tools is more than justified.


Thanks for the replies everyone !

@Briar, sorry for getting your name wrong !

Not a problem. You’re not the first. :smiley: