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Scrivener: Software for the Writer

Many writers spend endless hours writing their precious manuscripts using MSWord or some other equivalent word-processing program. In the initial writing phase, they encounter very little problems. Then editing begins. So too does the grumbling.

The filesize increases dramatically and previous versions of certain chapters are lost. To move a chapter, the cut-and-paste hell takes over. Versions are sent out for review, resulting in hundreds of copies of the manuscript. (Exactly which one was the one I was working on?)

Here’s the situation: I have NEVER liked MSWord. It stems back to my Master’s thesis where MSWord frequently moved my images off the screen so I would spend forever hunting for them. Then it would goggle up whole chapters and all my editing would be lost. And when it came to printing… The Master Document feature failed completely and I had to change all the cross-references and auto-numbering manually, including page numbers. I was not a happy chappy.

Granted, I was working in MSWord95. Things have significantly improved since then, but MSWord still doesn’t like my documents.

When I did my PhD, I used LaTex: a freeware software package that was designed for scientists and academics. The system had very little memory overhead and I never lost my images again. Moving chapters around was a simple matter of moving a single line of code.

When I finally started writing my high fantasy series, LaTex was my choice. Then I started looking seriously at agents and publishers. The horrible truth was that all manuscripts needed to be submitted in DOC format. DOH! LaTex outputs to PDF no sweat, ePub/MOBI with gentle persuasion (and a wooden mallet), RTF is covered, but DOC? Aaahh! Nope. It ain’t happening.

Write here, write now. Scrivener. After extensive research, and trialing various programs, I discovered Scrivener. It promised to provide the flexibility needed for editing, low memory overheads, and varied outputs, including DOC, PDF, RTF, ePub and MOBI. OMG, the transition from LaTex was beyond easy and Scrivener upheld its promises.

Today, ALL of my personal writing is done in Scrivener. I export my files to DOC for submission and to share with critique partners, but that’s all MSWord is allowed to see of my manuscripts. From the conception through to the final revision, everything is in Scrivener.

The full license of Scrivener is $40USD, which entitles you to updates and full technical support. And this is a lifetime license. (When was the last time MSWord was that cheap?)

Scrivener is available for Mac, Windows, iOS (this version is $19 USD), and a beta-version is available for Linux. Sorry, but no Android version… yet.

Every year, Literature and Latte, the developers of Scrivener, sponsor NaNoWriMo. If you are registered for the NaNoWriMo, CampNaNo or the young writers program, then you will get a discount, normally 20%. Winners are normally given a 50%-discount code.

The trial version of the software is the full package, with all features enabled. You get 30 non-consecutive days to trial the software. And in October, Literature and Latte release a special NaNoWriMo trial version.

Okay… This really is coming across as an ad for Scrivener, but after the experiences I’ve had with other programs…

Later this month, on the Black Wolf Editorial YouTube channel, I will be releasing a series of videos on how to use Scrivener, beyond the demonstration videos that come with Scrivener or found on the Literature and Latte website. I will show you how to customize and use Scrivener to its full potential, including how to set up prologues, customize chapter numbering designs, and use annotations. Yes, Scrivener does have it’s limitations; I will be going over those too.

Keep an eye on the Black Wolf Editorial YouTube channel and here on this blog for more details.

P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

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