1. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Scrivener ... ?

    Discussion in 'Software' started by cutecat22, Dec 30, 2014.

    Hi, guys.

    I am thinking of downloading the free Scrivener trial and giving it a whirl with a new non-fiction book that I hope to be working on sometime in 2015.

    At the moment, I won't be putting the fiction on there as I am completely happy with the system I currently have in place however, I plan to move over everything eventually so the non-fiction book will be sort of like my "trial run". (I will also have text back-ups in word and on USB).

    So my question is (because I hate reading instructions and don't understand half of them anyway) are there any pitfalls I need to be aware of before I begin and if you already use it, would you truthfully, recommend it?

    Thanks

    xx
     
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  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Those who like it like it a LOT.

    I've tried it (for fiction, not non-fiction) and it didn't work for me. It felt like everything was chopped up into little bits, and I wanted it all to be one big whole.

    But for non-fiction I can see it being really useful, as a way to organize research, etc.
     
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  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm one of these people. ;) I'm going to make an ugly comparison here, but it should hammer the point home. MS Word is Christianity in America. It's the default and assumed and benchmark (all things measured by it) word processor. Scrivener is Buddhism. It's a different route. You'll have to learn a different way of looking at the screen, but the rewards can be great once you let go of "that's not how MS Word does it..." comparisons. Also, if you are a Windows user, you will notice the unmistakable mark of Macintosh in the land of Scrivener. Scrivener is originally a Mac application and was so for the better part of its existence. I found it and fell in love with it because 1) I am a Mac user, 2) the port to Mac for the entire MS Office Suite is criminally bad, and 3) the layout of Scrivener works really well for my personal writing process.

    The download is free to use for 30 days, so no loss on your part if you don't like. As you can see by my avatar, I am a true aficionado and will be happy to answer any questions for you if you choose to give the application a whirl. ;)

    ETA: My flowery words of praise aside, the end product that Scrivener helps you create is a perfectly Shunn formatted manuscript in .doc or .docx (and a number of other text file formats) to send to your prospective publisher. What you create is indistinguishable from the end document created in MS Word. I don't want to leave you with the impression that a publisher will receive your file and think, "Great, another Scrivener file. Trash it!" This is not the case. The end product is the same.
     
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  4. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with this. Scrivener feels like an alphabetised filing cabinet, when all I want is a notebook.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I use it and I don't read instructions. Trial and error has worked fine for me. I'm sure there are a gazillion features I don't take advantage of because I don't read instructions, but, oh well. And lots of the features I don't need.

    The advantage for me is being able to work on chapters and move them around more easily than cutting and pasting. I can view the whole manuscript or a chapter or a scene. It's easy to rename chapters and I sometimes use the cork board to arrange the order of things. My story consists of two woven time frames so moving chapters around is needed.

    And when I'm done, I should be able to format a manuscript ready to publish, though I've heard I may need to take my Scrivener file and convert it to something else like SmashWords. Right now I know very little about those final formatting steps.

    By the way, the software is cheap as things go and I believe one can get a discount from our forum. It's easy to think $30 or $40 is a lot for software given so much of it is free, but it's really not much money in the long run, especially considering how much of your time/life one is applying to writing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It depends on how you're going to publish. If you're sending off to a traditional publisher, then the .doc or .docx file is perfect just as Scrivener compiles it. Scrivener comes with a suite of options for the self-publisher (light years ahead of what MS Word offers), and yes, I have been told that for whatever reason there are some compatibility issues with Smashwords in particular that requires some finagling at the end. It's a topic of conversation over at the Liturature and Latte forum as well.
     
  7. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are many tutorial created by Scrivener on YouTube that makes learning the features very easy. Once you see the methodology behind the process it will make it easier to do more with it.
     
  8. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    That was my next question. A few people have mentioned having trouble importing current WIP's into the scrivener prog. Also, as I work with amazon and createspace, I can upload .doc files for ebooks and PDF files for createspace.

    All I do, is save a second version of the .doc file and put it through an on-line converter to convert to pdf.

    I am soooooo not tech savvy, that talk of conversions and rewriting code (whatever the hell that means) scares the living bejeebus out of me!
     
  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    The price sounds - to me - very good ($40 equates to around £25 GBP for me) considering I paid £90 (about $140 USD) for a home version of Word Suite thingy.

    @Wreybies - I did a Desk Top Publishing course/exam on a mac machine, about twenty years ago. Remember Aldus Pagemaker?
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You wouldn't even have to do this much with Scrivener. Scrivener will save and export your manuscript directly to PDF or .doc. No need for conversions of one to the other. But I'm wondering why you do this with MS Word now. MS Word also happily saves to PDF. Why are you using an online converter?
     
  11. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I did not know word saved to PDF!!!

    Why did I not know that?

    I am seriously computer thick with some things - although I'm not as bad as my husband, he's STILL looking for the "any" key!
     
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  12. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I keep looking at it, thinking about it ...but up to now, no. I work in Pages, and thus far I can organise my stuff the way I want to, no bother. I'm now learning about formatting for Kindle and other publishing formats, and it seems that can be done quite easily from Pages as well as other wordprocessing programmes. (I've done a few test saves and exports to PDF, HTML, etc and it's a skoosh.) I'm just not convinced I need all the bells and whistles Scrivener provides. Corkboards and all that? It's not the way I work.

    And there are a couple things that put me off. Apparently, Scrivener 'auto-saves' your work as you progress. This would annoy the heck out of me, as one of my working routines is to experiment with various word choices, etc, and save only when I'm ready. Sometimes I return to my original way of phrasing the sentence. Before I start revising I simply duplicate my entire old document so I don't lose it, and discard that original when the new one is satisfactory. But it's a simple matter of grabbing it and dragging it to the trash. Every day I re-name my work with the date anyway, so that doesn't really matter. I don't want my programme deciding for me when to save my stuff.

    I'm also annoyed that it's no more future-proof than any other writing programme. You must keep upgrading, or your stuff will become obsolete, same as in any other programme. You'd think that would be something a programme designed specifically for writers would inbuild? Maybe an automatic save of every file into a duplicate folder in RTF, or something like that?

    I think if I was just starting out, I'd probably get Scrivener, for its good points. But I haven't quite seen enough new features that make me want to shift from Pages. At least not yet. I did buy the Scrivener manual, but the more I read, the more I was put off. It just didn't seem different enough in the right ways to induce me to make the shift.
     
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  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This is Word (2011) as it looks on a Mac, but I'm sure the PC version is generally similar. If you go to File>Save As and then look for the Format option on your screen, you'll see all the file formats Word will save to. PDF is one of them.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You work in Pages. That's a big difference. The appeal of Scrivener may feel opaque to you because you're not fleeing from big, sloppy, cumbersome, runs super slow, is incredibly expensive, MS Word. You're using a Mac app in Mac Land, so it feels smooth and perfect and why would you want something else when Pages runs like quicksilver. Pages has none of the over-programmed, overwrought "features" that make MS Word a nightmare on a Mac machine. Had I opted for Pages before discovering Scrivener, I have a feeling that I would happily be sitting in front of the same tent, in the same camp, making Smores with you by the fire. :) But Scrivener was my first try, and it just happened to also fit my process really well.
     
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  15. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Mine looks nothing like that (I can't screen grab, I don't know how to!) I'm running MS Office's Word, on Windows 8 so when I hit file/save, I get a whole new screen with a blue stripe down the left and Save As, only gives me the option of what to call it and where to put it.

    AH!! I have to file/export/create pdf or xps ....

    But, I do have Foxit so that I can get into the PDF to make alterations (although I've still not got the bottom of numbering the main story pages but NOT numbering all the pages before the story, like the half title/dedication/copyright pages, grrrr.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Screen grab: command-shift-4
     
  17. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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  18. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    AHA!! this is what I get when I hit file ...
     

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  19. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Save As, gives me this screen
     

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  20. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    So I have to click Export, which then gives me this option:
     

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  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Blimey. :unsure:

    Windows has changed a goodly bit since last I played in their world. My last Windows machine was an XP machine when XP was still in its prime.

    ETA: I can see why there was so much griping in Windows land over Windows 8. Even if it runs smoothly and without trouble, that GUI is a huge "visual culture" change for Windows users.

    ETAA: For any members just waiting for this thread to flare into an all-out computer platform flamewar, the only thing I am commenting on is the marked change in the new layout for Windows. I'm not saying it's better or worse or that my dad can beat up your dad. None of that. It's simply noticeably different, and knowing that many humans are averse to change, I can see why the initial griping regardless of what improvements the OS may have brought.
     
  22. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Google is my go-to source for computer commands. Of course, the results can sometimes be too confusing to understand so I have to try multiple sources. I hate it when they say to click on something on the screen and that something is not there to be found. :p

    Windows 8 Commands

    How To Open Command Prompt in Windows 8 & 8.1
    In cases where I'm really confused, @Wreybies is the best for helping me. :D
     
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  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, it is. But Windows 8.1 (as opposed to 8) is probably the best version of Windows to date. It is fast and easy to use. Not going to get me off Linux and my Chromebook, but when I have to be in Windows I think it works very well, particularly on a touch device.
     
  24. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I absolutely love Scrivener. I use it on a Windows PC (Windows 7 Home Premium) and it works very well. Beats hell out of any version of Word I've ever used, and I used Word for decades.

    @jannert, you say you've got the manual, but have you worked through the tutorial? I did; it took me maybe an hour or so. It was glorious! One of the best hours on a computer I've ever spent! I found I could do everything I ever wanted with my writing so conveniently and easily - no worries about setting up separate files for notes, different folders for earlier or alternate versions, no hassle about converting to Shunn format for submission, no worries about losing work because I forgot to back up, no problem with going back to earlier versions of scenes (the Snapshot feature is nice!), and on and on. When I did the Scrivener tutorial, I found myself in a writer's paradise!

    In contrast, Word is a writer's hell. What a bloated, inconvenient mess it is. Working in Scrivener feels like driving a Ferrari on the autobahn, with no limits, and working in Word feels like driving an overloaded dump truck over forty miles of bad road.
     
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  25. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I like word because I can just, type. (or, write)

    I don't like the new tiled desktop of windows 8 so I do have my machine set to classic view and yes, the new word took me a while to get around but its just so simple!

    I shunned CD's as a storage device. When I bought my last desktop, I paid extra to have a 3.5 inch floppy drive installed because with CD's, you have so much fussing with burning programmes/writable or re-writable cd's/you alter a doc, it costs you another cd ... so USB's are, to me, like an updated version of the floppy disk.

    But, I have a file on my desktop for each book. In that file are more files all pertaining to that book and all named such things as Research, Pictures, Characters, Scenes, Quickies, Cutting Room Floor, Master, Website Links, Advertising and then sub-folders in some of those and then each document.

    Which, seems to me, the same sort of way that Scrivener works, except with scrivener, there's a few more whistles and tassles.

    @jannert I've never had a problem with Word running slowly, except for when I open the master book doc (170k words) and then it takes maybe a minute and a half to fully open everything, but it does also autosave for me which I actually like. I've worked on programmes before that were not set up to save and found myself so paranoid abut losing changes, that I spent more time hitting save than any other key.
     

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