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February 11, 2011

Scrivener for Windows

Scrivener, a software designed to help writers not only format but also generate content, was only available for Mac users when one of my writing buddies started using it last summer.  Reading her review and listening to her describe using the program, I had a twinge of software envy.  I have a PC.  I compose in Microsoft Word with my own formatting settings, and I use Microsoft OneNote for compiling outlines, character sketches, and research.

The software gods must have heard my prayers.  Scrivener released a beta for Windows, and although it doesn't have all the features of the most current Mac version,  the software is impressive.  Project templates are included for various types of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and scriptwriting as well as miscellaneous and blank templates.  I've been using the short story template and find myself using the text view more than the corkboard or outline views as I'm free-writing.  I anticipate using the other views more as I edit.

What I like most about the software:
  • Research, character and setting sketches, outlines--basically everything that goes into my story--can be kept together as a specific project.
  • Scenes can be described in notes, and it's easy to move the scenes around or simply exclude them from the final compilation.
  • The snapshot feature allows you to capture a version of the manuscript before you start making changes, so if you don't like what you've done during editing, you can go back to the un-mucked-up version.
  • The search feature makes it easy to find specific parts of the manuscript.
I wish I'd been using this software when I wrote my novels.  Editing would have been much easier.  So far the only thing I've had a problem with while working in Scrivener is eye fatigue.  My keyboard's zoom feature doesn't work with the program, and I haven't looked into how/whether I can enlarge the text without actually changing the font.  For now, I'm just taking it as a signal to step away from the screen and get a fresh cup of coffee or toss the rope bone for Sadie . . . maybe built in breaks are another of the things I like.

I've hardly touched upon the software's features.  For more information, take a look at this introductory video.


James said...

Sounds like an interesting product. I've heard of it, but never bothered looking into it as it was a Mac only product. Have to take a look-see.

Traci said...

Update--the newest version of the beta includes a zoom feature to increase the text size.