Working back and forth with an editor (person)

Hey y’all,
I am back at the forums to figure out a few new tricks. I just read the set of post about editing using Scrivener… … php?t=1379
This thread seems mainly focused on the individual writer as editor. I am working with another person that is an editor. Presently we ar epassing back files (MSWord and Pages) but it has been really painful- hard to keep track of all of the changes.

Do any of you work back and forth with someone else, and somehow keep your Scrivener files up to date, without having to live in copy-and-paste hell?

I have been so desperate about this I almost created a parser for the Scrivener file format, with a backend web app… but there has to be a better way… I just want to focus on writing, and responding to my editor’s request.

Any thoughts? Other tools that I should look at? I really enjoy Scrivener… there has to be an answer. :slight_smile:


I’m in exactly the situation you describe: sending files back and forth with a co-author. We rewrite and comment on each other’s drafts. He uses Word, and I have it, so we could use the comments and track changes functions, but I refuse to use it unless absolutely necessary (which it is with a couple of editors I sometimes work with) because it’s the only app that ever crashes my PowerBook. And because it’s Word – clunky, bloated, etc. etc.

So my process upon receiving one of his files is to import it into Scrivener, make my changes and comments using Highlighting and Annotations and strikethrough (I’m so glad Keith put that keyboard command in), then export to rtf and send back to him. So, we use text highlighting or coloration to indicate changed sections but it’s not quite as fast as using Word’s comments and change tracking features.

I’ve also used NeoOffice to handle incoming Word docs when editors insist on using the comments function, and it worked OK. Haven’t tried it with Pages. I just prefer working in Scrivener. I do wish Scrivener could work with Word comments (at least as well as Pages or NeoOffice) and change tracking but I understand why Keith hasn’t chosen to invest time and code into such features.

As I ramp up work on the book, if this workaround gets too onerous (especially when footnoting gets more involved), I may have to just go back to using Word (so we can use the comments and track changes features) for this project or – my preference – get him to buy Scrivener.

Yeah- I have my editor already purchased Scrivener- but the main problem- is that we are passing files back and forth- with little support for true “collaboration”. Its weird that in a world that has developed so far for bloggers, programmers, and for wiki-writers that there has been so little good work done for the writing process. It is still too “messy”. Scrivener is cool for individual productivity… I am just wondering if there is a way of building a plugin or something of the like with a web backend that makes this much simpler- that allows Scrivener itself to stay really simple (as I understand is desired) but allows those of us that rely on others to edit (and make our English sound a little bit, or hopefully a whole lot beter…).

Thank you for your reply.

This is not a solution exactly, but it does the job.

Think Vertical split screen.

Name every trade with a start number beginning with zero.

Editor’s previous trade, say version 4 (04 great novel)
Your trade, (05 great novel)
Editor’s next trade (06 great novel)

Use whatever colours you want for corrections.

Then you mount your last trade with the next number trade in vertical split screen and read them as parallel documents, making the edits for the next trade in the document you feel safer changing. This means making a name change save as, or duplicate and name change, to the next progressive number.

Not really as elegant as you would wish, but adequate, and it doesn’t ask anything of Scrivener it was not designed to do.

Hope this helps a bit.

It only takes one or two trades (versions of rewrites) to get the hang of it.

It also means you can keep every trade to look back over any version if needed.


LL’s method will work fine, IF the two writers remember to color all their changes. I tend to make mine in bold, since it stands out in a screen file.

I’m puzzled at the avoidance of Word, for its Track Changes feature is a godsend in this situation. Ask it to compare two files, and it shows every variation between them in blue, green, and red (depending on the kind of revision).

If Word is always crashing a laptop, there must be installation or memory issues, or a need to run Auto-Update. I have edited 500-page Word drafts on a laptop with no problems.

This is not a question of MS Word or crashing applications… it is a question of speed on working with each other…

Right now, if we wait for files going back and forth… there is no way to handle incremental questions… as an example, recently my editor asked for a clarification on a story that I wrote about. The problem is she had to wait till I had the whole file (word or pages, or scrivener, does not matter which one) for me to answer a question. So… for small stuff, it takes a few days back and forth, and I (human) have to compare back and forth between two different files… where one of us is in a holding pattern till the file is passed back.

The problem that I am pointing to is - it would be great to do something much faster where we can move forward… like happens with wikis or other apps.

Thanks for the ideas. Any others are appreciated too.

Have you looked at Google Documents or any of the other web-based word processors? That’s a quick way to share and edit documents, and you may also store copies offline. Google Docs is free and you and your editor might give it a try.

thanks for the note.
Yes, we use Google Documents- we also use Google Notebook for exchanging snipits of news for our research- really cool use.

You are right though… Google Docs certainly would be easier than using MS Word files back and forth. I am going to suggest that we try that.

Thank you for the note.

I have tried tracking changes back and forth with Pages, but it isn’t any easier than other ways discussed here. Track changes doesn’t carry through to rtfs, basically you have to be content with manual cross-out/new word(s) and something like double underscore for new material. Or some variation that rtf documents understand and retain. For what it’s worth.