I recently bought Literature and Latte’s Scrivener software, a tool specially designed for writers. Scrivener is a complex program, and I can’t go into all the intricacies in one post. Let’s just say I bought the “For Dummies” book to help me with it. However, I wanted to highlight a couple of key features that I think make nonfiction writing easier.
Breaking articles into chunks. First, I normally sell an article as a proposal with a lead paragraph and an outline. When I receive the assignment, I also get a target word count. Scrivener allows me to break my articles up into chunks driven by my outline. I can set target word counts for each section. I may work on the various chunks individually before switching to the “Scrivening” mode. The Scrivening mode allows me to see all the pieces and how they fit together. Once I have most of the article put together, I use this mode to work on transitions from one paragraph to the next.
Footnoting. I rarely am required to turn in a footnoted article. Normally a list of sources is sufficient for fact checking. However, I want to know where I found each and every piece of information. That way, if an editor has a question, I can immediately point back to my sources. Scrivener allows me to easily footnote as I write, but, when it comes time to share my draft, I can strip out the footnotes. The editor doesn’t see them, but they are still there for me any time I need them.
Snapshots. In Scrivener, I can take a snapshot of each major draft or revision within the file. This means I don’t have to have 10 or more different documents floating around labeled “Rev 1″, “Rev 2″ and so on, as I do when I write in MS Word. In Scrivener, I can compare versions or roll back to a previous version if necessary.
The software runs on Mac as well as Windows. I bought it for $35 with a coupon, which was quite a steal. Has anyone else had success with this program?