So many people were recommending Scrivener that I decided to do the thirty day free trial and see how I got on. One third of the way through, and a little bit of feedback:
The theory is evocative. Scrivener will create a project file where you keep your writing, your research, your concepts, your character notes, all in one place. It creates an automatic card for the corkboard for each section you open, and you can mark the status on each section as first draft, revised, complete, etc. Do a readthrough, then go to the status board and see which bits have been marked for major editing. A section can be blank (because you know something is needed there) or a sentence or a whole chapter. Pull the cards around the corkboard and the sections will obediently drop into their new order.
All of those appealed.
My initial reactions:
- Wow, that’s a long tutorial. Bored now, and not halfway finished
- Let’s go live and pull in the book I’m currently editing, and learn as I go by looking things up
- Okay THIS is clunky.
But, once the process of laboriously pulling in a fifty thousand word document was complete, I was quite enjoying spotting a bit that needed work, isolating it in a section of its own, and pulling a section I wasn’t sure about into delete. It isn’t actually deleted, it just waits. You can pull it back if and when.
Scrivener saves every few seconds. Nothing can get lost.
Still, I found it slowed me down as I bumped along; I wasn’t that impressed, and I thought the Compile was rubbish, eeny weeny screen to see the overview. I still cannot find out how to set the project to UK English, which means lots of distracting spelling alerts because I use more u’s than Scrivener feels necessary. I found out how to set an em-dash (easy enough, – – then space and it appears) but not how to set an ellipsis, and I’m far too prone to both. My word count is only by section and I had about twenty six sections.
As always when I am editing one book, ideas pop into view for the next. Previously I would fix them on a document and file them into the next book’s folder. This time I opened a project and suddenly started getting keen. That’s handy!
So my initial summary: I’ve still not read the whole tutorial. Scrivener, for editing an existing book, for me was a no-no. I’m about to pull the whole book back into Word where I can do a UK spellcheck, get a full overview and start checking my chapters and chapter breaks, and I don’t feel I got any real benefit from the detour.
However, as a drafting and creating tool, I think I may be in love. The new book project is fab. Ideas are jotted down in sections, whole chapters have grown and can be pulled into place as needed, my character notes and photos are right where I need them, and so are the websites that I will be checking again and again as I push through.
Twenty days to go on the trial.