If you’re a new writer and you’re using Microsoft Word to write your very, very long novel, I just want to suggest a new program for you called Scrivener.
Scrivener is a writing program from Literature and Latte and I absolutely love it. I didn’t realize how much I hated using Microsoft word until I used Scrivener for Camp NaNoWriMo 2014. It, unfortunately, isn’t a free program, but you can try it free for a month during NaNo. After that you have to pay 45 dollars to install it (there's a discount if you successful complete NaNo), but I think it’s worth every penny, despite the couple of negative aspects.
1. Scrivener doesn’t take forever to load a document. If you use Microsoft Word, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. If you’re document is longer than a hundred pages, it take forever to load. I am not patient enough to wait that long. When I need to write, I don't have time to wait.
2. It saves automatically. I don’t remember how long it take the program to save your work, but it’s a couple of seconds. Let’s say you leave your computer and forgot to save. Well have no fear, scrivener is here. It will save your work automatically, so you don’t have to worry about whether you saved your document or not.
3. You don’t need to make multiple documents. Because Microsoft Word would load so slowly for me, I just ended up making a new document for every chapter I wrote. Therefore, every time I sat down to write, I would have to open up at least three documents—the previous chapter I wrote, any notes I had in separate document, and the current chapter I was working on. The beauty of Scrivener that you can create multiple documents under one binder. It’s all in one place and I don’t have to wait for it to load. I can just flip between the chapters I need or even open up a dual window for when I need to see two documents at once.
4. It’s great for revisions. Not only can you color your documents (I use it to signify if I’ve revised a chapter or not), there’s also a fancy cork board feature where you all of your synopses of your chapters and scenes appear. It’s great to just move scenes and chapters around while in revisions without having to physically write down all of your scene summaries on notecards and lay them on the floor.
1. All the “bells and whistles”. Scrivener is a program made for writing novels, screenplays, etc. It’s meant for writing longer pieces of works and therefore there are a lot of different functions to aid you on that long quest. So many that it’s easy to get distracted by all the little things you can do in comparison to Microsoft Word. If you get distracted easily, Scrivener might not be the best program for you. I mean Microsoft Word does get the job done :).
2. It’s a little difficult to use. At least if you want to use all the “bells and whistles”. I still don’t know how to do certain things on Scrivener because I just don’t have the patience to go research it. In other words, there’s a steep learning curve.
3. It’s frustrating to import other documents. I’ll be the first to admit that I still don’t know how to use Scrivener to it’s maximum potential. And one of those things I still don’t know is how to import other documents like my previous stories I wrote on Microsoft Word. I don’t know why but it always indents it oddly, therefore I have just given up on trying to import documents. If I really need something I wrote previously, I will look up everything I can to import. But for now, I refuse to be frustrated by this program.
Overall, I love Scrivener. I think there are more benefits for writers. I know some people don’t think you should buy Scrivener, especially if you’re just going to be using it like a word document, but I disagree. By having Scrivener, I use it every day and I learn more about it everyday. I may not know everything there is to know about Scrivener right now, but at the bare minimum I know how to write in it. That’s the most important part (the bells and whistles sure don’t hurt though).
How do you feel about Scrivener? Do you prefer Microsoft Word or some other writing program? Comment below!