Scrivener in action

I’ve just delivered the first draft of my new novel in Scrivener and thought I’d give a little feedback on how that went and a few of the things I learned along the way.

First - it was a joy to write in Scrivener and this will definitely be my working software from now on. When the MS was finished (127k words) I exported into Word format, turned on widows and orphans support (and stupidly did a little editing) then sent it off to my editors.

Normally I send an MS in Word format (even though both my UK and US publisher edit manually on paper). In this instance I sent off both a Word doc and a PDF. In future I hope we will work entirely on PDFs to save printing hassles, delivering a Word file only for the final version for typesetting.

After I submit a book I get a series of editing notes (or in this case a meeting, since I happen to be in New York anyway). Pre-Scrivener I would then insert these notes as comments into a Word doc.
In fact it makes a lot more sense to include the whole notes as a separate document in Scrivener, with additional line notes on where each item requires some tweaking. This will be much better than the Word notes function.

The bad part is I edited the exported draft in Word, so I just had to go back and do those revisions again in Scrivener. Lesson: only work in Scrivener until the very last working draft. In fact from now on I think I may do the first draft as a Scrivener export to Word then put that straight through to the publishers as a pdf.

My one suggestion: a direct export from draft to pdf might be useful (I know it would have widows and orphans in it but I may be a little over zealous about avoiding them. Also these books are commissioned; if they were submitted on spec I might be more picky).

Hope that helps. Pleasure to work with this software throughout.

Hi David,

Thanks for your positive feedback (again). I’m glad to hear that Scrivener worked well throughout the drafting and submitting stage, and that where there were issues you have found better ways for the future. I’m even more pleased that you have decided to use Scrivener as your working software - fantastic!

As far as PDFs go, you can actually already save directly to PDF from Scrivener, in the same way that you can with most OS X programs that offer print functionality (it’s just not in an obvious place). When you go to export your draft, instead of clicking on “Export”, click on “Print”. In the print panel that appears, there is a PDF button with an arrow. Click on it and a drop-down menu will appear, from which you can select “Save as PDF”. Creating a PDF directly from Scrivener should work absolutely fine for novel submissions. You wouldn’t use it for academic papers, where you require footnotes (because Word and other programs format footnotes properly whereas Scrivener doesn’t), but it should (I hope) work okay in your case.

Thanks again,

OK. Got it. I know that one and use it all the time. Just didn’t see the print button and connect for some reason.
Am in New York for Thrillerfest by the way and have just done a stint teaching at Book Passage in California - most Mac-using writers don’t know Scrivener exists. Am telling them, don’t worry.