Scrivener

Posted by on July 3, 2014

When I take on a new project — or revive an old one — my first step tends to be organization. If I can get everything lined up and laid out, I’ll surely know where to start and what to do! Right?

Well. Not always. But it’s a good place to jump back in, anyway.

I’ve been eyeing Scrivener for some time now. I was thinking of it in terms of novel-writing, honestly, but it seems like it would be a great tool for this sort of project too. The structure of the book breaks down nicely into the kind of hierarchy that Scrivener deals with, but the program still gives me a flexibility that I wish I’d had when I was creating the first draft.

Something else I’m trying to work on right now is curbing my impulse buying. So I’m working with the 30-day free trial right now. I haven’t done much yet, just kind of set up my content, but so far it seems like it’s worth the $45 for the full version. Before I commit, I want to poke it a bit more. See how it handles the Table of Contents. Find out what the files it compiles and exports (to very nearly any format you might choose) look like. I know that there will probably be some formatting work to be done in Word before generating the actual PDF of the draft that I’ll use for editing and publication. Scrivener doesn’t pretend to be a full-on design and publishing suite; it’s a composition and content generation tool. The question is, how far will it get me?

Quite probably this question will be answered as I work through the included interactive tutorial. I’ve begun it, but got distracted and started setting up my own file before I got past the basics. Now that I’m more or less set up, though, it would behoove me to go back and finish. After all, a tool is only as good as my grasp of how to use it. The most sophisticated content generation software in the world won’t do me any good if I never learn how to do anything in it that couldn’t be done as well (or better) in Word.

If I have anything negative to say thus far, it’s that it’s a shame Scrivener doesn’t seem to have any compatible Android apps. (This probably has something to do with its originally being a Mac-only program.) I’ve transitioned to Android for both phone and tablet use, and I like it when my devices can work in harmony, sort of as part of a team, rather than everything being compartmentalized according to which device will handle it. On the other hand, though, I also have to admit that it’s somewhat unlikely I’d really need an app. The most I’d want from it would probably be to add quick notes or photos to my outline easily, and that’s not terribly difficult to do anyway. I can still capture these things on my phone and then transfer the content to Scrivener when I’m back at my computer.

So what I’m saying is: So far, so good.

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