Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Strengths and Weaknesses of Scrivener by Lily Bishop

Currently I write using Scrivener, a program developed by Literature and Latte. It's more than a word processing program. It allows you to outline, organize your thoughts, and write, all in the same place.

Here are the top benefits and advantages that I've found in the two years I've used this program:
  1. Scrivener exports seamlessly to Word for final document preparation and sharing. While I'm sure some authors may publish directly with Scrivener, I choose to export to Word. You have the ability to save your export settings so that you don't have to mess with formatting if you don't want to.
  2. Scrivener lets you see your content at a glance. You work with scenes or sections, and you can name each section to see where you are. You can also classify the status of the section, whether it's in draft, revision, or final status.
  3. Scrivener lets you keep character sketches and setting descriptions right there where you can see them. You can drag and drop pictures, web pages, and other source material right into your index to keep track of them.
  4. You can set target word counts each day, and even if you are editing (adding words here, deleting words there) it will keep track of your net word count. You can also set a project target, and it will show you a status bar of how far you have to go.
  5. You can see at a glance how many words your scenes have to keep your pacing on target. You can choose multiple scenes and learn the word count of that section.
  6. For those of us in our forties who learned to type with two spaces after the period, Scrivener will fix this for you with a single setting. Thank goodness. It's hard to untrain those thumbs.
  7. Bonus – changing the order of scenes or sections is painless. Just drag and drop. No chapter renumbering, no painful recalibrating of section breaks. Just drag, drop and move on.

To be fair, I also have to tell you about some of the negatives I've found.
  1. The spellcheck stinks. Sure, it has a learn feature like every other spell-checker, but I find that it has to learn a lot more words than I would think. Hopefully this will improve in future versions.
  2. There is no grammar checker. While I don't rely on the grammar checker much in Word, it is helpful for silly mistakes like repeated words, which I think the spellchecker also picks up on in Word. I also like the compound word feature in Word, since I'm constantly separating words that should be together and putting together words that should be hyphenated.
  3. You can't tell you're on a page. For someone used to the archetype of the page, writing without boundaries can be overwhelming. The screen shifts and resizes at will, and there are no standard pages. (Of course, in the world of e-readers, pages are going away, but it's still a difficult mental transition to make.)
  4. Sometimes Scrivener can get a little slow, but it's still faster than Word with a giant file. (Also, I run it on a low powered netbook, so I can't say it's the software's fault. There are probably some hardware issues in there too)
  5. I've not tried using it on multiple machines. According to their documentation, you can have copies on multiple machines that you own, and you can transfer work between them. I've chosen to keep it on my netbook, but I'm limited to hard copy editing if I can't use my netbook. That's not been a big problem for me, and they offer options to move between computers, I've just not done it.
My Fixes

To spellcheck, I export to Word, run spellcheck, and use track changes. Then, I go through each change with track changes, and I make them in Scrivener. This is extra work, but the advantages of working in Scrivener instead of Word make up for it. It's tough to manage an 80,000 word document in Word, and I hate working with each chapter in a file.

There you have it. My completely unbiased review of Scrivener after using it for almost two years. The program seems well-supported, and when I've had questions I've been able to find the answers on their website.  I strongly suggest giving it a try. I'm guessing you won't go back to Word.

No Strings Attached

I published No Strings Attached, in May of 2013. It's a contemporary romantic suspense set in exotic locations like Vegas, Miami, and then the Bahamas.

Laura Todd travels to Las Vegas to do a presentation for her company in the hopes of gaining a promised promotion from administrative assistant to consultant. While she's in Vegas, she meets a consultant for the hotel industry, and they hit it off.

Fox Thornton is impressed by Laura's presentation, and she's not bad at the blackjack table either. They feel a connection, and the heat between them increases. Unfortunately, like all weekend romances, everything ends too quickly and they both return to separate cities. Then Laura learns that the owner of her company has hired Fox to investigate why profits are down for their office, and unknown to her, she's the primary suspect.

Can Fox trust the connection he feels for her, or has Laura been playing him like for a fool? Can Laura get past his suspicions and still move her career ahead? Or is her career, and her love life, dead in the water?

I can be found on the following social media sites where you'll also find an excerpt and book trailer: 
(Add No Strings Attached to your To-Be-Read list today.)

I'm currently working on the sequel to No Strings Attached
and it is almost ready to send to my editor.


If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again: 
  1. The First Month of Publication: A Reckoning | Brenna Aubrey
  2. How to Strengthen Emotions in Our Writing | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author
  3. Man Writing a Romance: The abs-olute truth
  4. Writer Unboxed » The Art and Craft of Retelling Traditional Tales
  5. 150 Amazon KDP Select Authors Each Sold Over 100,000 Copies in 2013
  6. How to Successfully Kill a Character: The Checklist - Helping Writers Become Authors
  7. 6 Facebook Marketing Tips for Managing Your Facebook Page | Social Media Examiner\
  8. Surviving "Content Shock" and the Impending Content Marketing Collapse - Copyblogger
  9. Self-Pubbed AND Traditional? An Interview With Author Pam Beason | Molly Greene: Writer
  10. Ebooks, Word Count, and Marketing the Stand-Alone Novel (or should one book become two?) | Lindsay Buroker
  11. Plot Whisperer for Writers and Readers: Re-"visioned": Now What? How to Rewrite
  12. C. S. Lakin: Thinking about Hiring a Copyeditor?
  13. Marketing is Easy, Writing is Hard " takes quality production over time to make a go of indie publishing."
  14. The Kill Zone: Death to the Midlist, Long Live the Ownlist
  15. 50 Websites Every Author Should Bookmark in 2014 | Wise Ink's Blog for Indie Authors about Self-Publishing
  16. Bang2Write | 5 Top Tips On Visuals For Your Novel From Hollywood Blockbusters by RJ Mitchell
  17. 6 Ways Micro-Publishing Strengthens Your Career by Christina Katz
  18. Embracin My Fear... | Taylor Evan Fulks...Taylor-Made Thoughts & Doodles @TaylorTfulks20
  19. Planning Doesn’t Hinder Creativity, It Facilitates It
Happy writing and running, Kathy

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