Discovering Scrivner ($)

I love Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). It’s a rare thing for me to use or recommend paid software. But I was in a bit of a manic mode and ended up purchasing Scrivner which I’ve heard a lot of great things about. So far I’ve been anything but disappointed.

I have yet to see any particular feature which isn’t replicated elsewhere, but it feels like everything is in one nice package with Scrivner. The FOSS software it reminds me of the most is probably Keynote NF or NixNote. But then it also contains many templates found in word processors and the ability to export as .epub.

Although I haven’t used Scrivner much, I haven’t seen a feature yet that is something you need, but it’s also got a lot of what I want, all in one convenient place. Just in the process of importing my notes for my graphic novel I have already solved one major plot hole!

I’ll probably have information in the future about features in the near future, but so far I’ve been working mainly using the built-in comic book template which I’m finding mostly intuitive. There’s a lot of built-in help as well which is quite useful.

It has surprisingly crashed two or three times (I’m on an older Windows system), but I suspect that might have been a problem with the fact that I’d just updated my antivirus definitions and hadn’t restarted yet. I’ll update this once I see how its performance works long-term. That said, every time I started it up again all my information was there exactly as I’d left it and I don’t think I lost a word!

I don’t yet know if it’s worth the price tag (just under $60), but it’s certainly not a waste of money either. My files are all over the place and being able to combine them all into one organized project folder that I can easily backup is fantastic. Old scripts, new scripts, maps, character profiles, etc are all in one place.

I do feel like I’m missing access to OStorYBook’s ability to track objects and people through time, which is a key ingredient of one book I’m working on, and I will definitely still use the question-answer system of Dramatica ($) which I adore as well and then import my results into Scrivner. It’s lack of a Linux version will also be painful.

So stay tuned and I’ll give you updates about my experience using this program. But my initial feeling is quite positive. If you have the money and are in need of better organization, Scrivner seems absolutely worth it. If you already have a system you like, you can probably do without it…but you might check out the 30-day free trial anyway just in case.

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