My Take on the BEST Writing Tool

I attended the New England Crime Bake last month for the second year in a row. Once again, I came home with the BEST advice and innumerable insights that have helped me immeasurably with my writing.

This year, one of the panelists at a workshop I attended, a multi-published author, mentioned that she uses Scrivener to write her books and wouldn’t consider writing a book using any other tools/software. I checked the software out, was impressed, and downloaded the free trial.

What appealed to me about the software was its claims that I could not only write my book in the software, I could also keep all my research notes, photos, resources, resource URLs, etc. in the same program AND refer to them while I was writing. Here’s why this appealed to me, and why I didn’t hesitate to spend the very reasonable $49 fee for a license to the product (which I can download on multiple devices):

  • I’d been writing my books (and all my works in progress) in Microsoft Word
  • I’d been keeping all my story notes, research, resources, images, URLs, etc. in Microsoft OneNote
  • I had to keep 2 programs open all the time when I was writing (or plotting, or researching), and switch back and forth between them (when traveling, or working on my laptop, this proved to be a difficult task–especially with respect to way saved my files in the cloud and had my syncing between devices set up)

There was a little learning curve once I started using Scrivener, but that was shortened immensely by the fact that I read the entire manual while I had the program open before I began doing anything with it. (I didn’t bother reading the fourth section of the manual Final Phases, until after I’d been using the software for a while.)

I absolutely ADORE Scrivener. One of my favorite things about it is I can write each scene separately. Sure, if I want to write each chapter with all its scenes intact, I can do that, too. But if something comes to me and I just want to write, I have that flexibility. All the scenes, chapters, folders, etc. are kept in a Binder that shows in a navigation pane. I can move anything around by simply clicking and dragging.

For those of you who HAVE to outline and write in order, Scrivener lets you do that. For those of you who write organically, you can just write scenes and then stitch them together later. And for those of you like me, who outline AND write organically depending upon the moment … and the characters it’s wonderful.

You can use Scrivener with Microsoft and Mac, and you can easily export the files of your choice into any of the following formats: DOC, DOCX, PDF, RTF, TXT, ODT, HTML, XHTML, PS, EPUB, MOBI, MMD, FODT, OPML, and TEX.

Do any of you use it? If so, tell me what you do and don’t like about it? If you don’t use it, check it out!

Here’s the link for Scriveners for Windows, and here’s the link for Scrivener for Mac OS, and here’s the link for Scrivener for iOS.