Linda Maye Adams

A Look at Scrivener for Windows


One of the problems I’ve always had in writing a novel that eventually the number of pages starts to be overwhelming.  Yet, if I break it up into smaller pieces, like individual files, I suddenly have a lot of moving parts that are easy to lose. Schivener for Windows is a new release in beta to help writers like me with workflow and organization.

Pluses:

I like to create the story in small chunks and hop around. I might work on several at once. Scrivener displays the individual files of a project in a sidebar called a binder so I can just click on the next one I want to work with.  Very easy to hop, and at the same time, I have the big picture of the story.  In Word, I’d have multiple documents open. Invariably, I’d accidently close one that I needed.   This limitation also made it difficult for me to see the whole picture.

Each story chunk also has several pads assigned to it. One is for notes. It’s better than writing down notes on Post-Its scattered around or typing them in the story itself. Another is for linking research to each section. My research is often compartmentalized–I might do research that affects only one chapter and not the entire book. In a previous story, I tagged passages with comments noting the research source.  In another, I was keeping it in different files and notebooks–things got lost very easily. But in Scrivener, I just link to it on the pad, and it’s always there.

Minuses:

Not everything is intuitive. Some of the features are not in logical places. For example, I had to turn off the spell checker. It wasn’t obvious that it was even possible, and I had to click around to find it (it’s under Edit>Tools). There also isn’t any way to run a spellcheck, though that may be a feature that comes later.

Spellcheck doesn’t work right. It flags parts of several words as being misspelled. The search and replace is very hard to see and doesn’t give cues saying anything has happened. Some people have been complaining about the lack of double-spacing–even that’s been hard for me because I’m so used to it. In this case, I’m ignoring it because it may be a benefit in the long-run. I’m trying not to focus on length in my rewrite, so single spacing takes away all the cues.

For screenshots and to download the software, visit the Literature and Latte site.

Disclaimer: The company didn’t give me anything for this review. I just did it because it fit into my topics this week!

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