In an earlier post, I commented about writing a novel with Scrivener. I lumped Scrivener with many other products. I might have been too hasty in my judgment.
As I admitted in the post, I hadn’t used Scrivener. I argued that extra software isn’t needed to write novels. A blogger responded to my post. He challenged me to use Scrivener. He felt that I was reviewing a product with which I had no experience. Although I wasn’t writing a critical review of Scrivener in my post, I decided to listen to this blogger.
I downloaded a review copy of Scrivener with the intention to review it. In order to truly review this product, I feel I need to finish an entire long form piece using it. I intend to write the second part of my upcoming science fiction novel, Funk Toast and the Pan-galactic Prom Show, using Scrivener.
Funk Toast and the Pan Galactic Prom Show is a compilation of 3 novellas and one short story. These four parts are so tightly woven that the book will read more like a novel than an anthology. I have already written the core story, Funk Toast and the Pan-galactic Prom Show. It is finished at 33,000 words. You can listen to it as an ongoing book on tape by clicking here.
I downloaded a free 30-day, non-continuous evaluation copy of Scrivener. I found the software intuitive. After watching just a few included training videos, I had what I needed to get to work.
Although I can’t fully review this product until I finish Poison Nickels Across the Universe, I plan to post information about my experience with this software along the way.
So far, I have only used Scrivener to outline my story.
Scrivener offers an excellent and intuitive interface. This software makes it easy to outline a novel with folders for characters, places, and research documents. The software is flexible. I have tried other novel and story outlining software products and have found them restricting. I don’t like my creative processes to be governed by the philosophy of a piece of software. Scrivener doesn’t do this. It merely creates a place where I can include all of my documents in an organized situation for easy reference.
I liked the split screen interface. This feature made it easy to reference documents such as character sketches, places, and research articles in one pane while writing prose in another pane.
Multiple views of the corkboard outliner helped. I don’t like working with graphical pushpin notes on a corkboard. But, thankfully, Scrivener offers a different view that functions like a list rather than a series of thumbnail views.
Scrivener saves your files in a file structure with multiple folders. I write on many different systems, sometimes at home, sometimes at work, sometimes on a tower, sometimes on a laptop. I, hence, save my work on the cloud in an organized folder structure. Scrivener made this process a bit difficult. I guess I can start packing around a thumb drive again, but I am prone to losing such small devices. Writing on the cloud is convenient. I hope there is a cloud option in the offing for Scrivener.
Scrivener seems to save all of your prose in its own folder structure, separate from research, character, and place documents. As I write, I hide a ton of information in notes along the way, including sectioning, plot points, and sequence information that won’t make it into the final copy. It seems that Scrivener doesn’t have a method of hiding some information, such as folder names and descriptions. Folders go into the final copy as section names. I might be wrong on this. As I use Scrivener more, I will divulge any indiscrepancies that I find. I would love the option to mark text as hidden from the compiled copy so I can access it while writing but know that I won’t have to scan through my document to delete notes and information that I don’t want included in my prose.
I don’t know how licensing for Scrivener works. But, as I said above, I write on several different systems. Although I install the same software on multiple computers, all installations are used by me exclusively. I hope that Scrivener allows me to license multiple systems should I decide to make the purchase and move to their platform. I can’t afford to buy 4 separate licenses. And I can’t afford to be limited to one workstation for all writing.
In short, I am impressed so far. As I continue writing Poison Nickels Across the Universe using Scrivener, I will post updates to this blog.