I’ll say up front that this is probably going to be a slightly contentious post but…I don’t think I get all the fuss about Scrivener.
After everyone told me how fantastic it was, I downloaded the trial copy. I’ve still got fourteen days left, but if I’m honest, I don’t think I’ll be purchasing the full version. I’ve written my last few projects, including two novels, my weekly serial The First Tale, my novella The Guns of Retribution, and countless short stories, using Word, and I really can’t see any reason to deviate from my system now. Before you throw your hands up in horror or leap to the comment form to tell me I’m wrong, let me explain (and please bear in mind that there are as many different ways to write a book as there are people writing them).
I like the fact that Scrivener keeps all of your work in one place, but to be honest, I already had separate documents for character sheets, location sheets, story arcs and other pertinent info. OK so Scrivener keeps them all in one place but that’s no different to me having a folder on my hard drive (that’s backed up regularly) containing the files I need. I might need to access them individually to retrieve information but I’m pretty good at remembering things. I just haven’t colour coded anything in my Scrivener project as it doesn’t suit my way of working.
Scrivener likes to keep scenes separate, and this leads to an awful lot of the Blank Page Syndrome. Sure, I can flick back to the previous scene to see where I left off, but I still have to come back to an empty page. At least if I write in a single Word document, that’s simply broken into scenes using headings, my page is never blank, and I never feel like I’m starting from scratch.
I should also point out that I don’t just write using a single machine. Sometimes I write on my laptop, especially if I have other things I need to do in a given timeframe, such as using Photoshop etc, and that’s where I keep Scrivener. But I also write on my Netbook, as well as my PC at work if I want to write on my lunchbreak. It’s difficult to do that with Scrivener, unless I work from a different file and copy and paste back into Scrivener whenever I get back onto my laptop. To be honest, I’ve been using a Word file containing all of my work in progress so far for the past couple of weeks and I haven’t even noticed that I’m not using Scrivener at all.
I’ve seen some writers announce, in a somewhat patronising and supercilious way, that real writers don’t use Word, as if the software used somehow influences the quality of the end product. Well I’m pretty sure Jane Austen didn’t use Scrivener, and it didn’t do her too much harm. I know a lot of people swear by Scrivener, but I just don’t think it’s for me. Sure, Word has a lot of issues and it isn’t perfect, but it suits my particular methods for now. And before anyone says anything, I’ll be formatting my next story collection (hopefully due out by Halloween) in InDesign before conversion to e-book…