Scrivener

Literature & Latte is a really cool name for a site. It claims to be “a place for readers, writers, coffee drinkers and tautologies *”

It is also the home of Scrivener for Mac OS X ($34.99).

An application that I have been using for a while now, and which is growing on me daily. ScrivIcon.jpg

What Is It?

“Scrivener is a project management tool for writers. It won’t try to tell you how to write – it just makes all the tools you have scattered around your desk available in one application.”

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In many ways I struggle with applications that try and replace a pen and paper, and a cluttered desk, but maybe that is just showing my age? I guess you have to have done it that way in the first place to replace it, so for many of you this style is more than likely the only way you have known. However, I struggle to be as creative with just a screen and a keyboard/mouse compared to a fresh pad of paper, a nice pen, some Post-It notes and a nice big desk to spread everything around.

I found the corkboard fun but frustrating. Really – who has a corkboard that is that neat and tidy in their work area? Granted the way the changes in the order of the index cards is reflected in the structure of the document is really clever, and very useful. Ditto Outline as a means of restructuring your work.

For me though the most useful feature is Research; “No more switching between multiple applications just to refer to your research files! You can keep all of your research – image files, PDF documents, QuickTime media, saved web pages – right inside Scrivener. Even better, you can open a research document in one pane and compose your text in another right alongside it. Whereas splitting a document in other programs only lets you view the same document in two panes, in Scrivener you can view two different documents. Transcribe an interview, make notes about a picture, or just refer back to another chapter, all from within the same program.” The more I used the application, and the more I got ‘into’ the work I was using it for, the more beneficial this feature became.

Scrivener has all the features you would expect (and require) to utilise your Mac fully:

* Edit Multiple Documents – Create limitless documents in the same project and edit them separately or merge them dynamically and edit them as a whole.

* Corkboard – Virtual index cards store a synopsis for every document you create. Storyboard and rearrange your project by moving them around on the corkboard.

* Outlining – A fully-featured outliner helps you take control of the structure of your work.

* Keywords – Use a powerful keywords system to keep track of characters, themes or ideas.

* Full Screen Editing – View your text in full screen for distraction-free composition.

* Export – Export your finished draft to your favourite word processor for final formatting, including support for footnotes, annotations and images.

In summary, this is an excellent application. I found it intuitive and easy enough to get to grips with. If you do any kind of creative writing, or research a lot for your writing it will be worth taking a look at it. For me though it is just a little too organised and ‘sterile’ for my day to use. I can see me using it for certain longer term projects, but for most of what I do I need a little less structure and more of the ‘old school’ methods.

* a statement whose truth table outcome is always T

1 thought on “Scrivener

  1. MyAppleStuff Post author

    I have just started to use it to document all my Photography projects; workflow, pictures, plans etc. Seems to be working pretty well.

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