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03 August 2007

Scrivener (a somewhat advertorial post)

So instead of talking about the book that just came out on the shelves, I thought I'd talk about the book I just finished writing. (writing the first draft of, that is).

Actually, I'm not going to say anything about the new book, other than: It was so much fun to write.

What I am going to talk about is how I wrote it.

I wrote it without Microsoft Word.
(shh, don't tell Bill Gates)

Scrivener is a word-processor for people who write books. Or plays, or films, or articles. People who write stuff.

It does everything that Microsoft Word doesn't do - and you don't realise exactly how much Word doesn't do, until you've tried Scrivener.

Scrivener sorts your book into chapters. You can split the main window if you like, and work on two chapters simultaneously (awesome if you're cutting and pasting, or doing Big Edits). Or, if you'd rather, you can have a chapter open in one pane, and an image/website/audio file/video file/pdf in the other and transcribe.

It also has some unreal subject/category sorting things, so you can just hit a button and see how many times I've talked about spelling in a chapter. Or how many times Tarni does something dumb.

I'm currently loving the target options. I can say: My novel needs to be 40 000 words. This chapter needs to be 2500 words, and I want to write 1000 words in this session. And it will give you lovely sliders to show you how you're going on all these.

Ooh! And research. You can attach research to any section or chapter, and have notes and things just sitting there all the time, when you need them. And link to other bits in your book or another file or website.


Here are my two favourite things.

Thing #1: Full Screen Mode, to Avoid Distractions:

Thing #2: The Corkboard, for the Structure Fiend in You
And the icing on the cake?

Microsoft Word Professional costs US$399.99.

Scrivener costs US$34.99.

Bill Gates can bite me.


Amanda said...

Ooh, I love good software. I don't write (surely that's obvious!) but this makes me want to start.

Bonus points for the name of the application too.

Also, now that I've miraculously been paid, I might head out to find your book this weekend.

Christopher Miles said...

I too use Scrivener - the guy who wrote the program is a writer first, programmer second, so it's little wonder it's found such a cult following among writers, it's tailor-made for us!

The corkboard is great (you can even replace the cork with your own background image) and it also has an outliner mode (which I haven't explored yet) and lets you import web pages and multimedia files into your 'Research' binder.

Another program you might be interested in for managing your research documents etc is Punakea (

Naomi said...

Oooh, this sounds fabulous :) Thanks! The writer-y nerd in me rejoices!

Anonymous said...

I'm not supposed to get it until I've finished the current rewrites and am starting the new project. But I WANT it so much!!!


Thanks for the sharing . . .

Justine L

Anonymous said...

How does it play with Word? While I hate Word with a burning passion it is the standard and all . . .

Justine L

lili said...

really well. imports and exports with no probs at all.

and i've just discovered that there are TEMPLATES you can download. like a character development template. or a mystery novel template. or a three act film template. or a PHD template.


Ross McPhee said...

I'm all for using non-Microsoft products. Our student computer network runs on Linux and OpenOffice, which apart from the occasional glitch, works reasonably well.

Georg said...

This looks fantastic. I tooled about with Omnioutliner thinking it would offer this sort of stuff, as opposed to Word, but this looks even better. Thanks!

kathleen duey said...

It looks wonderful. Thanks. I will find it. I get so irritated with ms word at times...

Scrivener--the perfect name for it.

kathleen duey

Karin said...

I'm a recent convert to Scrivener and love it. So far I haven't found anything it can't do that I need it to do. Big fan of the corkboard (guess I'm just a corkboard kind of gal).
Thanks Lili for the tip about the templates. I'll be checking them out.

Heather said...

I'm new to this and can't figure out how to download the templates. Can you help??

tonymcfadden said...

LOVE Scrivener. Can export to ePub, mobi, or word when you're finished. I built a 4 part novel template you're all free to download and use...

It makes the creative part all that much easier to get to...