I’ve been using Scrivener for about six weeks now, although I’ve only really been composing in Scrivener for a couple of weeks.

At this point, I have some pro and con observations.

Organized, and fairly intuitive. It’s a pretty easy system to find your way around in. It’s really an organizational tool rather than a word processor, and it’s very good at that.

It’s an organizational tool rather than a word processor.

Now, in order to make sense of my opinion, let me give you some background.
I’ve written in Word Processors since the early ’80s (when I used PC Write). I write in a fairly linear fashion. I write the whole document one end to the other.

But here are the things about using Scrivener that bug me, precisely -because- the program isn’t a Word Processor.

1) I’m struggling with not having the document look like a Word doc. While I realize this is stupid, it’s still the case.

2) I sorely miss the synonym function of Word.

You know, the thing where you right click on a word and up pops a menu where you have a list of synonyms? I used that function in Word a LOT, apparently. (Now, I realize that there’s a similar function in Scrivener, where you can go to the online thesaurus, but since I mostly use Scrivener when offline, that does me NO good.)*

3) I feel like I’m not working with a whole document.

OK….I put the whole document into Scrivener and divided it up into parts so I could evaluate each part separately. Rather like having a de facto outline of the manuscript. So the entire document IS there in Scrivener. However, I keep feeling that I’m just looking at parts. Yes, I know I can get Scrivener to show me the whole 125K document at once. I do know that. But I still feel like I can’t see it. (I suspect that this is because I’m very accustomed to using the Find function to get around a document. And yes, there is a Find function in Scrivener, but it’s not exactly the same.)

4) I’m freaked out that my formatting is off.

I was surprised how much this bugs me, but when I drop in a section of text, it sometimes doesn’t hold the format. A lot of this is because I don’t know the formatting end of Scrivener very well, and haven’t really bothered to learn it since I’m planning to export this project to a Word doc to do formatting and final clean up. But I didn’t realize how much it would bug me when looking at a section of text that didn’t appear exactly how I wanted it. Even with the Pilcrow on (which is how I compose in Word), I still don’t know how to fix everything.

All of the above? They’re not issues with Scrivener. They’re actually issues generated by my expecting Scrivener to -look- exactly like Word, at which it fails because….oh, yeah, it’s a totally different program.

I’m pressing on with this draft of the book in Scrivener. I’m trying to keep an open mind. This is not much different than, say, changing from PC Write to AmiPro, from AmiPro to WordPerfect, from WordPerfect to Works, from Works to Word….or even from Word 2003 to Word 2010. Learning to use a system takes time.

But when I get to the exporting point, we’ll see how I feel about Scrivener. I don’t know if the above issues are constraining my writing. I certainly hope I can get over those things!



ETA: I also miss the auto-correct for spelling. My fingers often type all the correct letters, but not necessarily in the correct order, and Word often fixed that for me (although the results were sometimes in error.) But more often than not, the Autocorrect As You Type saved me time.


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