Scrivener – One Writing Tool to Rule Them All?


** I am in no way affiliated with Scrivener or it’s makers. I am simply a fan of good software **

As a software developer by trade I’m a big fan of finding any utility that aids in making my writing process more efficient. I’ve mentioned StoryBook in a previous post, but now I’m heavy into draft two I’m now testing the excellent tool, Scrivener, in order to make it less painful.

Now, I tried Scrivener previously and just couldn’t get into it. I couldn’t see what benefits it gave me over my tried and tested method of using Word for the main draft (plus copious use of the excellent commenting function) plus an accompanying synopsis/outline and my StoryBook plan.

Anyway, I tried Scrivener again after reading more and more positive feedback about it, and I’m glad to say I did. Why do I like it? Well, the main thing, and this is massive for me, especially now I’ve got a 100,000 word doc sat in front of me, is the ability to break chapters down into a scenes as separate files. As I chop and change the order of the narrative and make my edits, it’s as easy as moving the files around as required. There’s also the cork board functionality  which simulates the old index cards for scene planning. Again, this is easy to manipulate as you sort out the structure of your novel, or just put together placeholder cards for “scenes you know you need”.

There’s a lot more to it, as I’m still finding out. There’re options to held research information, character and location notes etc. The learning curve isn’t too bad, and there’s some excellent tutorials there to help you get started.

Negatives? Well, it’s not free, but there’s a 30 day trial where days are only used up as you use the tool. There’s a good discount on the app store for the iOS version but the windows version is $40, so not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

I’m still working through it, and the hardest bit was copying my book into Scrivener and splitting the work out into separate scenes. It’s easy to do, but with hindsight it would be better to have started in Scrivener from the off.

You could also say that all of this is doable with existing tools – You write your WIP in separate Word files, similar to Scrivener. You could use separate note applications (OneNote, EverNote etc) for other things like locations, characters and so forth. I think what Scrivener does well though is put all of this into one all encompassing package that keeps it all together.

I haven’t found anything else negative yet – although I’m still to test exporting back to Word when my work is done. I will come back and report on that when I get there. Hopefully it will still be a positive experience 🙂

Do any of you fine fellows use Scrivener? What’s your experience been using this tool? At the end of the day as long I get the text written down I’m happy, but anything that helps me along the way is a good thing to me…

Novel Outline (Manuscript – Act – Chapter – Scene)


Cork Board


4 thoughts on “Scrivener – One Writing Tool to Rule Them All?

  1. Burgess Taylor

    I use the Windows version of Scrivener and love it. The only thing that makes me sad is that the corkboard version for the Windows version isn’t up to par with the Mac version. Other than that, all smiles here. If you’re really interested in learning more about Scrivener you should check out Gwen Hernandez’s blog and book.

    1. M. S. Dobing Post author

      I’ve never seen the Mac version but I’ve heard very good things about it. I’m working on the other half at the moment with the goal of getting myself a Macbook Air at christmas. It isn’t going well…

      Yeah, I’m loving it so far – and I’ve found I’m doing a new thing which is writing my scenes out of order now, knowing that I can sort them out at a later date by simply dragging and dropping.

      I don’t feel I’ve even scratched the surface yet either with what it can do, which is a positive as far as I’m concerned.

      I will check out that blog also, thank you muchly.

  2. kanundra

    I didn’t like it at all on the PC, but when I moved to Mac, I loved it. Weird I know, I wouldn’t be without now.

    1. M. S. Dobing Post author


      It’s funny you should say that as although I’d love to have a mac it’s unfortunately not something I’m “allowed” to spend money on yet. Instead though, I’m trailing Ubuntu (very nice Linux-based windows alternative) and that has a very nice version of Scrivener in beta that I’m trialling. Seems good so far, and I was even able to open my windows created Scrivener project in Ubuntu and just carry straight on. Very impressed!

      I’d still prefer a mac though 😉


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