My Affair With Scrivener

womanhuggingcomputer*Note – this post should be read using a throaty internal voice. Think Delilah. Or Jessica Rabbit.*

Hi, there. I have a confession to make. It’s about Scrivener, the software program for writers. Are you ready?

We’re having an affair.

And it’s serious.

It started about nine months ago. It wasn’t anything special at first, but it’s funny how quickly you can get in over your head. Microsoft Word and I were having issues, I was floundering, and Scrivener was just…there. Ready. Willing. It looked like it would be so good for me, and I, well, tried it. I know it’s too soon, but I…I think…I’m in love.

See, I looked at the book I’d been working on, the one that had been rejected? And I realized I didn’t understand it. It was a mess, and I didn’t know how it had gotten where it was. My book and I had lost our connection, gone our separate ways and Word wasn’t helping me break through the barriers between us. No, it stood to the side, sneering like a cold arrogant bastard, watching me struggle. Desperate for change, I finally took the step I’d been dreading and told Word we were through. Then I took my book and dumped it into Scrivener.

Yeah, at first it was awkward. I mean, I’d been with Word for a long time so I needed to find my way with a new program. I had to find out what Scrivener liked, what it didn’t. I had to draw the lines, preserve my own personality in the face of all of those *sigh* options.

But once we got to know each other, I realized Scrivener was helping me understand my book again. Just by being what it was, it was helping me find my book’s structure, see the flaws. And it was right there with me, not sipping cognac in the parlor while I slaved in the kitchen.

Because the program was designed for writers, especially writers of long pieces of work, Scrivener GETS me in a way Word never could. Scrivener — or “Mr. S”, as I like to call it — knows how to handle text. It knows how to please a writer. It lets me split up a long document so I can work with it in more manageable pieces, lets me focus on the different beats of the story. Using the outline and index card functions, I can move scenes around, find the best place for them. Or I can put them aside for later. Word makes me track my changes. It cages me in the laws of hierarchy. Scrivener lets me save each little gem separately until I can find just the right place for it. It lets me massage my book – a deep tissue massage my book never experienced before.

And the cost? Oh, don’t get me started on the cost. Mr. S is deliciously inexpensive. Office 360? Please.

Sure, we’re just beginning. But Scrivener, Mr. S, is already helping me explore parts of myself I never knew existed. With Scrivener, I want to…outline. To be a plotter, not just a pantser. Maybe I’ll be able to shuffle parts of the story around and find the structure BEFORE I’ve wasted time writing two drafts. Maybe I’ll even be able to write a synopsis before I finish the book. Maybe generate a file formatted for…EPUB.

If you’re a writer of long text, I suggest you give Scrivener a try. Fiction? Non-fiction? Dissertations? Mr. S does it all.

Except make coffee.

But we’re working on that.



Speak Your Mind


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.