For the last couple of years, many writers have been trying to get me to switch from writing in Word to using Scrivener. Only last week did I make the leap despite having bought four copies over the last few years.
I think the reason I’ve hesitated is simple. I’ve used Word for about fifteen years, using Works and Word Perfect before that. Prior to that, my ex-wife’s Canon word processor, which replaced my electric typewriter. So the paradigm of just writing out a long manuscript and reformatting it for whatever I needed at the time worked for me. Windows and Macs made that easy.
So am I a convert, never to look at Word again? No longer a luddite?
Oh, please. If you read this space with any regularity, you know I’m tech agnostic. Sure, I have an iPhone, but I’ll probably replace it with an Android device. That said…
Yes, it’s a great way to manage long work, building a book scene by scene, managing the front and back matter for publication, and keeping notes and research right in the project. Yes, I’ll settle into using this for everything from the current WIP forward. And yes, I am starting to get the “Why didn’t I do this before?” feeling. So why didn’t I?
Well, for starters, adherents oversell it. It’s like a movie or TV show everyone likes. It gets so hyped that you’re almost afraid you’ll be disappointed. Stop it. Let the app sell itself. Second, I read a couple of books on how to use it. They actually made it look harder than it is. Which leads me to my favorite way to learn a new technology.
Scrivener is simple, and it lends itself to learning, its interface very intuitive. I have it loaded on all four of my computers, including my Mac (not my favorite machine for writing. More of a development box.) Import my beat sheet into the Research folder, and it becomes very easy to build a novel or a novella scene by scene, chapter by chapter.
Is Scrivener a necessity?
It’s a nice-to-have. A very nice-to-have.