Scrivener Lite; i.e. Textwrangler:BBEdit

There has been discussion of lite versions for tablets, etc. I’m suggesting a lite version for the desktop.

Scrivener Lite would have the binder, text editor, and compile
It would not have an outliner (hey, the binder does that already), a corkboard, or metadata.

Scrivener Lite would actually be a great text editor for all text editing uses.

It would be cheap or free, and it would serve as a gateway drug to full on Scrivener like TextWrangler does for BBEdit.

One of the main reasons to do this is that many writers are not very tech savvy and, frankly, are probably afraid of a program like Scrivener because of its great complexity. But they would be comfortable with scrivener lite. The “compile to word document” compile setting would be very simple and automatic with basic settings, even if SL had full compile functionality.

Scrivener license holders would have Scrivener lite as an option for their secondary computers.

So what is your next version of Scrivener that you’re going to wish on Keith, LAP and Tiho_D?

We’ve been waiting for the coffee dispenser, beer dispenser and cheesy-whotsits dispenser versions for about 7 years now, but no luck!


A coffee dispenser would be awfully nice! If it had an espresso option, of course.

But seriously, this is actually a suggestion I myself would never use. I really mean it as a marketing tool, to expand the sue of Scrivener, which all of us Scrivener users would indirectly benefit from. I think there are people who are scared of technology, and/or married to Word (or Pages?) because it is the default and everyone assumes it is the only way to write text on a computer. I suspect many of those folks are not going to use Scrivener because it is scary to them for the same reasons many of us find it amazing.

I’ve used Scrivener for a long time, on over a hundred projects, and I’ve never found the program to be all that complex. But that’s because I use only about half of its features. I type, arrange, clip, split the screen, search for key phrases, and occasionally run the dreaded Compile. Recently I learned to give all new Research items a colored label. Hence my Research outline remains the same, but I can easily find its new evidence.

Most of the manuals I’ve read understandably explain the interface and all the functions, and that’s fine, but what I could use is a more task-oriented approach, arranged from basic to more complex.

  1. Converting early files into Scrivener projects.
  2. Separating Draft and Research contents.
  3. Arranging those contents by time, place, persons, topics, file-types or other criteria.
  4. Experimenting with structure in fiction, non-fiction, film, screenplay, etc.
  5. Looking for patterns (Search) and saving them (Collections) to keep or discard.
  6. Moving on: creating a version for others to read via Export, Scrivenings, or Compile.
  7. Sample projects or usage scenarios from the many suggested on our user forum.

Ideally, this would be platform-independent, online, linked to the manual and video tutorials, and emended by users. Often the tasks vary according to genre or user situation, but in general most of us are gathering data, arranging it, and looking to extract bits that evolve into finished writing.

The product manual actually does this: every unit is task-oriented, but at very great length and that creates the impression of overwhelming complexity. Most new users don’t have the patience to absorb 500+ pages of instruction; they want to learn by doing, and the video tutorials are a great help in that regard.

If I were teaching a group of novices to work in Scrivener, I’d use the manual and tackle it in six segments, matching the book’s order. Whether six days, weeks, or months, we’d adjust the amount of detail accordingly. And also with attention to the kinds of writing desired. Finally, to deliver this content, and to make it interactive, some brave soul would conduct online sessions via Google Hangouts or Skype.

I am NOT volunteering, but I think others in our community could do this very well! And here endeth the vision statement. Next stop is Scrivener U. :slight_smile:

Because $45 (or 50% off if you win nanowrimo… or 25% off if you take part in nanowrimo) is not cheap enough…?? or even the 30 physical (not elapsed) days of the FREE trial isnt enough to convince you to use Scrivener ???

Scrivener is as complex as you make it… it can do pretty much everything… but that doesn’t mean you have to use it like that… you can turn off a bunch of the inspectors and options and leave a very minimal workspace… in all my time of using it… its not proved very complex… but then i’m also probably only using a very small amount of it’s power…

I think some respect for Keith and the team is due in the price, for the amount of work they put into a great product… I don’t think a free version would do any good to be honest in that respect…

Scrivener’s generous trial period alone — especially with the “only count the days you use it” policy — obviates the need for a free Scrivener Lite. However, I do think there is an opportunity for another desktop Scrivener product.

I wonder if there’s room for a (sorry for the name) Scrivener Air — an App Store only version that sells for, say, $24.99 US. Scrivener Air’s feature set would be easy to communicate: it’s Scrivener without the research folder. (It can be missing other features as well, but the research folder is the big one.)

Oh, and this: Scrivener Air would sync with iCloud. (The research folder being the big reason for Scrivener’s less-iCloud-friendly file format.)

Yes, there’s potential that a “lower end” Scrivener would cannibalize sales of the higher end product. But it feels to me like Scrivener Air would compensate for that by extending Scrivener to more people — especially those considering Ulysses III, another Mac-only product that does iCloud really well. A Scrivener-branded, iCloud friendly writing tool that’s $15 US less than U3 might appeal to a lot of customers Scrivener’s not getting now.

For those who say, “But I love/want the research folder!”, there’s always original-recipe Scrivener (Scrivener Pro? )

It certainly would be a bold move, but bold moves are best made in good times. Anyway, it’s just a thought.

Honestly, it’s something I’ve thought about, but the building and maintenance of it would be time away from Scrivener. I even started working on such a program once, but I couldn’t get excited about it because Scrivener already did everything it could do and all you had to do was ignore the stuff you didn’t want to use. (It would require a whole new program - I couldn’t just if/def out the features from Scrivener that weren’t to appear in it, since that would be hugely complex and not really possible.) So it would require a year’s work to get it up and running, then added support and future maintenance would detract from Scrivener (and, to a lesser extent, Scapple). So it’s not that I think it’s a bad idea - I think something simple with the corkboard added could be hugely useful for students, for instance - but in terms of choosing how best to use our limited resources, this just isn’t something that’s feasible at the moment. (Not to mention that it could detract from Scrivener sales rather than enhance them - that’s always a risk.) I’m already coding for nearly ten hours a day, working on Scrivener (you’ll see the fruits of the past year and a half of coding at some point, I promise :wink: ).

All the best,

There’s this Steve Martin routine where he tells us, “You can be a millionaire… and never pay taxes.” The next thing he says is, “First, get a million, dollars. Then…” It’s become shorthand in my family for any suggestion where the hardest part is simply assumed.

So, yeah, first, get the time and resources to create and support an entirely new app. Then it’s easy!

Keep up the good work. Remember to take breaks! :slight_smile: