Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Scrivener VS Word

There’s always a lot of buzz about Scrivener this time of year, especially when they offer a 50% coupon for anyone who finished NANO!

Do you use Scrivener? Do you like it? Are you tempted to try the 30-day free trial?

I’ve had this program for over a year and I’m still on the fence about whether I love it or not. I like how it coverts files to .mobi and .epub easily enough, but it’s never as simple as the tutorials make it seem (in fact, nothing about the program feels very intuitive).

I usually have to export files into Word if I need to work at a different location on my laptop, then import the updated files back in (or cut and paste). And then I export back into Word to do all my final editing and formatting, then import back into Scrivener and override their settings to use Word settings to save as various formats...which seems like more work than it needs to be.

I really did try in earnest with my current project to do everything from the beginning outline to a readable draft in Scrivener... but ultimately, I gave up and pasted each chapter back into Word for a more thorough edit. (I’m glad Scrivener has a built in thesaurus now, but it still lacks a lot of the editing abilities that Word has—like telling you you've used the wrong word, even though it’s spelled right.)

The program truly has great potential for tracking multiple plot lines and various PoVs, but you have to tag everything accordingly to make the system functional. And during an extremely rough first draft (even with an outline), I find that I don’t always know enough about how the story weaves quite yet. Not to mention that when I import/export or cut/paste new text into the program, the new text overrides previous tagging.

I’d love to be THAT organized with my writing, but I’m just not. I’m an unorganized person. There! I said it. No matter what fancy abilities a program might have—it’s still up to the user to take advantage. Yet they say the program caters to the highly unorganized...so what am I missing?

Do you have any helpful hints on how to USE the program? Is it worth the long learning curve? (Is it worth the extra $ to have access to all the training videos?) Is it better than Word once you get used to it? Tips please!!


Unknown said...

I'm on the fence with it, too. I've found it helpful for the first draft or two when I have to go back and rewrite or rearrange scenes, but at some point, I end up importing it into Word and working with it there. I always seem to end up with some formatting issue or another, too, which is frustrating.

I'm interested to see what others have to say!

Toni Kerr said...

I agree on the formatting issues-- I can never figure it out and end up telling the program to ignore all settings and use the settings on the imported text as it came from Word.. which means I'll have to import a FINAL formatted draft if I hope to get any consistency-- which makes me wonder.. why go back and forth so often? Why not just write/edit/format in Word, then use the program to compile into various formats? (Surely I'm missing some super easy key aspect of the system-- otherwise people wouldn't be raving about the program so much!)