Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scriviner for Windows, a Review

So, I've been using Scrivener for Windows lately, and I have to say, it's pretty awesome. So, I've decided to dedicate this blog post to reviewing it.

The first thing to keep in mind is that Scrivener for Windows is still in beta, so not all of the bells and whistles that appear in it's Mac counterpart are available for this version. That said, so far, there is nothing I feel is truly missing from this program.

Let me start with the basics. It's a lot like any other word processor on the surface. It has a big white plan where you do the typing, it's got a spell checker, it does some basic editing. As for that part, it's really unimpressive. Not to say it's horrible, it does the job well, just as a word processor by itself, it doesn't do anything unique.

So, let's move onto the specifics that make this program worth while.

First, is the organizing features. This program allows multiple documents within one project, and this is a feature I love. Prior to using Scrivener, I would had at least five different documents dedicated to one WIP. Notes, character outlines, novel outline, the first draft, more notes. So, having one file to keep all of this is just amazing. But, beyond that, it's got a feature for keeping things organized in a way I never would have before.

For example, off to the left side is a series of folders with documents in it to help keep you straight. It keeps the Manuscript different from Research, which allows you to keep all the notes and extra documents you want without getting into the manuscript. Then, in the Manuscript area, you can keep each chapter in a different folder, and put each scene in it's own document. The best part about this, for me, is the ability to move scenes or chapters around without lots of editing. I don't know about you, but that feature blows me away.

Back to the Research folder for a moment. My favorite way of outlining novels is the Snowflake Method. Previously, I would have a whole folder dedicated to the three our four documents used in this method of outlining. Now, I can keep them all together in a Snowflake folder in the Research section of the project. And I can go back and edit and add new documents as needed without losing anything, or getting things lost. It's brilliant.

Another feature that Scrivener has that I really like is the cork board view. This is just like having a real cork board, so each document in a folder shows up as a card message. It allows you to put notes on the card so you know what happens in each scene, or each note page. It allows you move documents around easily by clicking and dragging, and really makes organizing really easy. It also has a feature that allows a stamp on each card that shows the current status of the document, from To Do to Done, including various Draft stages. It's probably the most unique feature of the whole program, and I am finding more useful as I go along.

Now, this is about as far as I have gone with the program myself, so there's lots of features I am skipping in this review, such as the compiling feature, or stuff you can do with in the Manuscript itself. I may do a second review when I get to those points.

In the mean time, I love this program, and will definitely be purchasing this when it goes live. I would highly recommend any writer using a PC to check this out, it's probably the best writing program I've used. So, give it a try. It's free in the Beta mode right now, so this is the prefect time.

Find it here, from Literature and Latte:


  1. Just found this one - I too started useing this programme a couple of months agao - really like it - the first update went well but this last update didn't transfer the most recent documents over with it only those done on the original download - I had saved in word so I didnt lose them and I will make sure i do that all the way along -

    the scrivener is still better suited for working on multi tasking things like writing books - wish it would hurry up and come out of beta - I haven't found the spell checker yet!!! so am still doing that in word!!!

    I would tho' also recomend it as better option than word for keeping tabs on WIP

    Now I must go and find out what a snowflake is!!!