Author Topic: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?  (Read 2961 times)  

Offline Shane Lochlann Black

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Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
« Reply #25 on: September 03, 2020, 10:42:49 am »
Try this: 

https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/   

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #26 on: September 03, 2020, 10:45:27 am »
    Thanks Doglover. I'm pretty much with you. But for me, I'm wondering if Scrivener will improve my writing.
    I don't see how. It does nothing to help your writing, only your organisation if you have a problem with that. When I write I want to get lost in the tale, not wonder how I find a note that I posted up somewhere or other at some time or another.


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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #27 on: September 03, 2020, 11:14:09 am »
    But for me, I'm wondering if Scrivener will improve my writing.

    I don't know about making you a better writer, but I think there's a good possibility that it could help you improve your planning/plotting. The cork board is fantastic. It was the main reason that I moved from yWriter to Scrivener. Because yWriter is a really nice piece of software, and I liked it a lot. I just really wanted the cork board.
             

    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #28 on: September 03, 2020, 12:12:33 pm »
    I also use yWriter, and it works well for me. I export the semi-final version from there in RTF, then post-process to make some systemic fixes. I finish it off in Word after passes through the Word grammar machine and Grammarly.

    But there is a lot in Scrivener to recommend it and I might try it for book #4.  On the other hand, it is one more learning curve I'd have to climb and I'm not yet convinced that the difference between yWriter and Scrivener is worth it.


    Thanks Rock. We're in exactly the same spot. One more learning curve to climb.

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #29 on: September 03, 2020, 12:15:25 pm »
    The only thing Scrivener has that ywriter doesn't is the corkboard.

    Thanks K'Sennia. And I can't see using that corkboard. I don't know how people switch scenes and chapters and stuff. My writing I guess is very linear.

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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #30 on: September 03, 2020, 12:21:38 pm »
    I've used both yWriter (6) and Scrivener and much prefer the former, although I currently use StoryBox.

    Pros and Cons:

    yWriter for better word count functionality, goal setting etc; ability to print out a scene list; moving scenes/chapters (Scriv tends to eat my scenes when I try to move them.)

    Scrivener for the corkboard which is miles better than yWriter's storyboard.

    Other than that, you take your pick. Good luck.

    Thanks Lynda. Despite using yWriter I didn't even know it had a storyboard.

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #31 on: September 03, 2020, 12:25:57 pm »
    Try this: 

    https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/   

    It's a lightsaber, so you'll have to become a Jedi to use it properly, but once you do, you'll be more powerful than they can possibly imagine. 



    Thanks Shane. Wow, that looks like one powerful editor.

    "When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong." Oscar Wilde
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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #32 on: September 03, 2020, 12:28:21 pm »
    I don't see how. It does nothing to help your writing, only your organisation if you have a problem with that. When I write I want to get lost in the tale, not wonder how I find a note that I posted up somewhere or other at some time or another.

    I hear you. Just organizing at all seems foreign to me. But it does seem to bring a richer story somehow. I'm really just experimenting, the never-ending search for a more effective process.

    "When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong." Oscar Wilde
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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #33 on: September 03, 2020, 12:29:20 pm »
    I don't know about making you a better writer, but I think there's a good possibility that it could help you improve your planning/plotting. The cork board is fantastic. It was the main reason that I moved from yWriter to Scrivener. Because yWriter is a really nice piece of software, and I liked it a lot. I just really wanted the cork board.

    Thanks Shayne. I'm gonna have to try that corkboard.

    "When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong." Oscar Wilde
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    Offline Speaker-To-Animals

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #34 on: September 03, 2020, 03:10:18 pm »
    Scrivener is very easy to use. Wrapping your head around the concept of how Scrivener works is the hard part. It's not a word processor. It's more of an organizational tool with a built in text editor. I had a hard time, but once I "got it" (and as Lo Pan reminds us, we were not brought upon this earth to "get it") everything fell into place and it's become invaluable for longer projects.

    Offline vagabond.voyager

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #35 on: September 03, 2020, 03:10:36 pm »
    I'm always looking for a better/faster way to write. I know a lot of you swear by Scrivener, but it just seems so complicated to me (starting with the two-hour 'get to know Scrivener' tutorial). All these notes and cork-boards and what have you seem like a pain to a former pantser like me. I used yWriter7 to write my last book and I am fairly satisfied with the results. (I'll soon see if the public agrees.) Anyway, I'm kind of feeling like I'm missing out on something by not using Scrivener. Am I? Is it really that great?
    Yes. Learning to use Scrivener is well worth the small effort involved. I have no idea why, but many people regard it as very complex. It is very simple. What it does is automate the writing practices used by a great many writers. I have used it since its Beta days. It was useful to me within less than an hour of installing it. If your writing process doesn't use all of Scrivener's features, it is not an issue. Just ignore functions that you do not use. You will probably find that as you become familiar with the software, the features it offers that you have not used become a valuable aid to improving your writing.
    « Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 06:52:35 pm by vagabond.voyager »

    Offline Maura

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #36 on: September 03, 2020, 07:56:27 pm »
    Scrivener isn't hard to learn if you remember there are no Scrivener police to force you to use all the features. I skimmed through their Tutorial, only actually read those things I needed to get started, and then put an old 3-chapter short in it and played around a bit. Then, after my first three books in WordPerfect (yes, I'm a dinosaur and never going to use Word willingly), wrote my fourth in Scrivener and have used it ever since. When I want to do something less basic and have a vague recollection Scriv will do that, I look it up and adopt it.

    How you use it is up to you. I'm still a pretty basic user, before Scriv, I'd have a printed outline and it would get so crossed out and revised I'd have to print it again and again as I went along. Now I change my outline as I go along and have new/better ideas. Same for character lists. I never figured out why some people think us outliners engrave the things in stone and never deviate. I use Scriv's Outliner feature, but the Corkboard doesn't work for me, and I never even call it up. Tried it with that fourth book and all that happened was I wasted a lot of time fiddling with it.

    The reason I looked into Scriv in the first place was posts right here where people posted screenshots of their setup and said how they used it. My romances have dual POV for H/h, and I'd just finished revisions on that fourth book where I needed to soften the H's entire character. What I had* to do to separate out all his scenes and revise and make sure they still showed him as a consistent person was really burdensome. Looking at those screenshots and people's posts, I could see how easy it would have been to do what I found necessary in Scrivener. That lured me to the switch, even though I've never had that particular problem again.

    I get the impression from the Literature & Latte forums that the hard part of Scrivener is compiling a publication-ready book. Maybe that's why I don't think it's hard - all I need to do is get my book out of Scriv. I did compile to mobi for beta readers a couple of times, but of course that doesn't need to be as perfect as for pub. Nowadays it Vellum for me, and because I hate Word, I kick the project out of Scriv in rtf, print, proofread and do some last picky revisions there, and then save to docx for Vellum.

    *Okay, you could argue I didn't "have" to do it that way, but I wanted to and was determined to and did, albeit with much cursing and muttering.

    Offline Will Write for Gruel

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #37 on: September 03, 2020, 09:25:06 pm »
    New here. There's a free tool, Wavemaker, that's a lot like Scrivener.

    https://wavemaker.cards/

    It offers cards, which is like the corkboard. It supports the snowflake method of outlining, but you don't need to use that. It has a planning board, grid planner, mind maps, etc.

    It syncs with Google drive.

    It's free and it works on all platforms, including your phone. While I like Scrivener, to move to a different PC you need to export. With Wavemaker your files are saved to Google drive, so as long as you have an internet connection you can use Wavemaker on any device. This is handy if you normally work on a PC but, say, have lightweight Chromebook you want to use in a cafe or on the road.

    You can even open up your work on your phone and use Google's voice to text feature to dictate your writing. It's surprisingly accurate for a free feature.

    I'm not saying it's the best, but free is free and it's cool that you can move effortlessly from device to device without having to export your work. 

    Offline Markham Correct

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #38 on: September 04, 2020, 04:50:12 am »
    Definitely worth at least getting your feet wet and giving it a try. A huge percentage of my authors swear by Scrivener, and I use it myself for various projects.
    It's awkward at first, but can save you a huge amount of time in the long run.
    The only downside to it I'm aware of is that it's not great for editing - "Write in Scrivener, edit in Word" is something I hear all the time.

    Offline scott.marmorstein

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #39 on: September 04, 2020, 07:04:01 am »
    I've sometimes had the dream of Scrivener being entirely web/cloud based. Then I wake up and realize it would never really work well. As a program on a computer (or even an ipad) it really is wonderful and makes all the difference a difference can make. I love the full screen distraction free mode. You can change the colors of the text, the background (can make the background of your full screen experience unique with an image), you can drag and drop chapters wherever you need them to be instead of them being stuck in a specific order. The side notes are amazing and there's just so much that can keep you on track with whatever you've been thinking about for your book. I even use it on my iphone when I'm away from my computer to make quick updates to passages, and because of Dropbox it syncs automatically so when I get home and pull it up on my computer the changes are all there.

    Scrivener is pretty great once you get used to its versatility and useful options (there's plenty it does that I'd never bother with.)

    Offline Brevoort

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #40 on: September 04, 2020, 08:08:29 am »
    It's not a word processor. It's more of an organizational tool with a built in text editor.

    That also was the key insight for me. Once I realized the benefits of keeping everything, draft, research, notes to self, pictures, deleted scenes, etc and etc in one place where nothing can get lost (use the backup and snapshot features) I really took off with Scrivener. I also very much like the distraction free feature which I have modified to show yellow text on a deep blue background, reminiscent of the old Word and WordPerfect screens.

    It can't be simpler. Open a project, create a new text, and just start writing. All else that you might like to do can be learned as you go. It's about as complicated at that stage as using a pointy stick on a lump of wet clay. That's how the Gilgamesh Epic was written and that was 4 thousand years ago.


    In the early years, before it sank in, I had more than one crusty, raw, loud, and probably alcoholic, editor say stuff along the lines of . . .




    "If you are fussing over finding the right typewriter, the right pen, the right chair and desk, and the right place to write, just realize that what you are really doing is running away from writing.
    You are hiding.
    Stop messing about and write."




    Such sentiments would usually be delivered in a voice used by mad colonels and drill sergeants and well peppered with epithets.


    I try very hard to remember what they used to yell when I catch myself doing something stupid like trying to find a better keyboard online, or wasting time looking for a bigger, better, faster computer which I do not need. Any old computer can emulate that lump of clay if I just stop hiding and get writing.


    Rick Grant
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    Offline Will Write for Gruel

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #41 on: September 04, 2020, 08:37:47 am »
    I've sometimes had the dream of Scrivener being entirely web/cloud based. Then I wake up and realize it would never really work well. As a program on a computer (or even an ipad) it really is wonderful and makes all the difference a difference can make. I love the full screen distraction free mode.

    Why couldn't it be web-based? Instead of saving everything locally it could save to the cloud. That's what is cool about Wavemaker. Wavemaker also offers the distraction free mode.

    I am not really pushing Wavemaker. I have no stake in it. It's just that I do think it can be a useful tool that does a lot of what Scrivener does, and most people seem to not have heard of it. It's worth looking at if someone is thinking of going to a new writing tool.

    Offline scott.marmorstein

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #42 on: September 04, 2020, 08:59:43 am »
    Why couldn't it be web-based? Instead of saving everything locally it could save to the cloud. That's what is cool about Wavemaker. Wavemaker also offers the distraction free mode.

    I am not really pushing Wavemaker. I have no stake in it. It's just that I do think it can be a useful tool that does a lot of what Scrivener does, and most people seem to not have heard of it. It's worth looking at if someone is thinking of going to a new writing tool.

    The paranoid part of me worries: what if I can't connect to the internet for days at a time? What if servers all around the world got destroyed in some kind of freakish hack? All those stories I've been writing--I'd at least have my latest on my computer!

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #43 on: September 04, 2020, 10:24:56 am »

    It's awkward at first, but can save you a huge amount of time in the long run.

    How? How can it save me time? As it is, I open a new file in Word, set up the formatting, and write. Any notes I need are put into another file with a similar name. That's it. How can Scrivener do any better than that?


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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #44 on: September 04, 2020, 11:15:41 am »
    How? How can it save me time? As it is, I open a new file in Word, set up the formatting, and write. Any notes I need are put into another file with a similar name. That's it. How can Scrivener do any better than that?

    It keeps all the notes in the same file. You can move from manuscript to notes with a single mouse click. All the scenes are shown in a section on the left side, called The Binder, and you can drag and drop scenes wherever you want, which makes restructuring the plot much easier if you have to do it. It also makes things much easier if you need to go back and consult an earlier scene to check a detail. In Word, you have to scroll up however far you need to go. In Scrivener, you just click to the scene you want, get what you need, and then click back to the scene you were in. On the right side, you can have a thing called The Inspector, which is basically a section for adding notes to each scene, and short scene synopsis. The notes stay attached to their scene, so you're not scrolling around looking for stuff. Everything is right there when you need it, right in the same file, neatly organized.
             

    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #45 on: September 04, 2020, 11:49:25 am »
    Scrivener is very easy to use. Wrapping your head around the concept of how Scrivener works is the hard part. It's not a word processor. It's more of an organizational tool with a built in text editor. I had a hard time, but once I "got it" (and as Lo Pan reminds us, we were not brought upon this earth to "get it") everything fell into place and it's become invaluable for longer projects.
    Thanks Speaker. The last time I looked at the intro I was getting more comfortable with it already.

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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #46 on: September 04, 2020, 11:52:08 am »
    Scrivener isn't hard to learn if you remember there are no Scrivener police to force you to use all the features. I skimmed through their Tutorial, only actually read those things I needed to get started, and then put an old 3-chapter short in it and played around a bit. Then, after my first three books in WordPerfect (yes, I'm a dinosaur and never going to use Word willingly), wrote my fourth in Scrivener and have used it ever since. When I want to do something less basic and have a vague recollection Scriv will do that, I look it up and adopt it.

    How you use it is up to you. I'm still a pretty basic user, before Scriv, I'd have a printed outline and it would get so crossed out and revised I'd have to print it again and again as I went along. Now I change my outline as I go along and have new/better ideas. Same for character lists. I never figured out why some people think us outliners engrave the things in stone and never deviate. I use Scriv's Outliner feature, but the Corkboard doesn't work for me, and I never even call it up. Tried it with that fourth book and all that happened was I wasted a lot of time fiddling with it.

    The reason I looked into Scriv in the first place was posts right here where people posted screenshots of their setup and said how they used it. My romances have dual POV for H/h, and I'd just finished revisions on that fourth book where I needed to soften the H's entire character. What I had* to do to separate out all his scenes and revise and make sure they still showed him as a consistent person was really burdensome. Looking at those screenshots and people's posts, I could see how easy it would have been to do what I found necessary in Scrivener. That lured me to the switch, even though I've never had that particular problem again.

    I get the impression from the Literature & Latte forums that the hard part of Scrivener is compiling a publication-ready book. Maybe that's why I don't think it's hard - all I need to do is get my book out of Scriv. I did compile to mobi for beta readers a couple of times, but of course that doesn't need to be as perfect as for pub. Nowadays it Vellum for me, and because I hate Word, I kick the project out of Scriv in rtf, print, proofread and do some last picky revisions there, and then save to docx for Vellum.

    *Okay, you could argue I didn't "have" to do it that way, but I wanted to and was determined to and did, albeit with much cursing and muttering.
    Thanks Maura. I dictated my last book and then made the final epub in Sigil, so I was just looking at Scrivener for it's organizational capabilities. (And thanks for the warning about avoiding the Scrivener police.)

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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #47 on: September 04, 2020, 11:53:33 am »
    New here. There's a free tool, Wavemaker, that's a lot like Scrivener.

    https://wavemaker.cards/

    It offers cards, which is like the corkboard. It supports the snowflake method of outlining, but you don't need to use that. It has a planning board, grid planner, mind maps, etc.

    It syncs with Google drive.

    It's free and it works on all platforms, including your phone. While I like Scrivener, to move to a different PC you need to export. With Wavemaker your files are saved to Google drive, so as long as you have an internet connection you can use Wavemaker on any device. This is handy if you normally work on a PC but, say, have lightweight Chromebook you want to use in a cafe or on the road.

    You can even open up your work on your phone and use Google's voice to text feature to dictate your writing. It's surprisingly accurate for a free feature.

    I'm not saying it's the best, but free is free and it's cool that you can move effortlessly from device to device without having to export your work. 

    Thanks Will. I looked at it and it looks really cool. Really clean look for the actual composing.

    "When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong." Oscar Wilde
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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #48 on: September 04, 2020, 11:54:24 am »
    Definitely worth at least getting your feet wet and giving it a try. A huge percentage of my authors swear by Scrivener, and I use it myself for various projects.
    It's awkward at first, but can save you a huge amount of time in the long run.
    The only downside to it I'm aware of is that it's not great for editing - "Write in Scrivener, edit in Word" is something I hear all the time.

    Thanks Markham. Yeah, I gotta at least try it.

    "When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong." Oscar Wilde
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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: Is learning Scrivener worth the effort (for writing a novel)?
    « Reply #49 on: September 04, 2020, 11:57:20 am »
    That also was the key insight for me. Once I realized the benefits of keeping everything, draft, research, notes to self, pictures, deleted scenes, etc and etc in one place where nothing can get lost (use the backup and snapshot features) I really took off with Scrivener. I also very much like the distraction free feature which I have modified to show yellow text on a deep blue background, reminiscent of the old Word and WordPerfect screens.

    It can't be simpler. Open a project, create a new text, and just start writing. All else that you might like to do can be learned as you go. It's about as complicated at that stage as using a pointy stick on a lump of wet clay. That's how the Gilgamesh Epic was written and that was 4 thousand years ago.


    In the early years, before it sank in, I had more than one crusty, raw, loud, and probably alcoholic, editor say stuff along the lines of . . .




    "If you are fussing over finding the right typewriter, the right pen, the right chair and desk, and the right place to write, just realize that what you are really doing is running away from writing.
    You are hiding.
    Stop messing about and write."




    Such sentiments would usually be delivered in a voice used by mad colonels and drill sergeants and well peppered with epithets.


    I try very hard to remember what they used to yell when I catch myself doing something stupid like trying to find a better keyboard online, or wasting time looking for a bigger, better, faster computer which I do not need. Any old computer can emulate that lump of clay if I just stop hiding and get writing.




    Thanks Brevoort. I noticed the snapshot feature and yeah, it looks really sweet.

    Quote
    I try very hard to remember what they used to yell when I catch myself doing something stupid like trying to find a better keyboard online, or wasting time looking for a bigger, better, faster computer which I do not need. Any old computer can emulate that lump of clay if I just stop hiding and get writing.

    Yup. Needed to hear that. Thanks.

    "When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong." Oscar Wilde
    Gregg Bell | Website | Amazon author page | Blog | Twitter | Google+ | Facebook

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