Please note this post is about Scrivener version 1.9.16 for Windows.
When I made my first serious attempt to write a novel, many moons ago, I did what a lot of young and inexperienced writers probably do: I roamed the internet looking for the perfect piece of writing software (we didn’t call them apps back then) that would make my novel fall together with ease and grace while I sipped tea with one hand and typed airily with the other.
Needless to say, such a miracle app does not exist, but after a few false starts I did find something that came pretty close: Scrivener by Literature and Latte.
I don’t know how long I’ve been using Scrivener for. Years, anyway. Occasionally I’ll look around to see what else is out there (mainly so I can review it here!) but I always come back to Scrivener for any writing project that matters to me. Here’s why:
Scrivener is very flexible
While marketed for novelists, it’s easy to use Scrivener to organise and write just about anything including essays, plays, poetry, song-writing, sermon prep, recipes, blogs and just about anything else you can think of.
Scrivener’s got your novel covered from the cradel to the publisher’s desk
Seriously, you don’t need to use any other apps or have other files stored anywhere else. You can accomplish everything you need to write a novel write here in one single project file. From brainstorming your original ideas; to plotting, outlining and creating character profiles; to maintaining a story bible; to writing out that first, second and third draft and finally compiling your completed manuscript. I even like to keep my writing journal in the same project file.
With just a little work, you can create a template that perfectly suits your own method of writing which you can use again and again.
Scrivener is easily accessible for new users
If you’ve just downloaded it for the first time and want to get stuck right into your novel without having to do a PhD in how to use the app, Scrivener makes it easy for you to do just that with a selection of easy to use default templates.
it’s easy to keep track of your progress
This is a biggie for me. With an app as powerful and complex as Scrivener, it is easy to lose track of how much writing you’re actually getting done and if you’re anywhere near achieving your goals. Fortunately, Scrivener makes it easy to see how many words or characters you’ve added to your manuscript each day (with the option to include or not include other documents in the count) and how close you are to achieving your overall target. Scrivener also keeps a word count on individual documents if (like me) you’re someone who likes to keep each chapter to roughly the same length.
Scrivener’s Virtual corkboard makes storyboarding simple
Each scene can be displayed on a virtual corkboard, making storyboarding easy. The individual scenes are displayed with little cards showing their titles and a synopsis of each scene.
Scrivener is affordable
You’ll get the full package for a one-off payment of £47 (correct at time of writing). No nasty subscriptions, no having to fork out again every time the software is updated. For my money, it’s the best value you’re going to get on a writing app.
Scrivener lets you Import files from anywhere
It’s a doddle to import files and web pages from other places. Very handy for research or if you want to include images (click here to see what I use this feature for!).
Scrivener’s Binder helps you keep stay organised
Scrivener’s virtual binder makes it easy to never lose a single page of notes or manuscript ever again, no matter how bloated your project becomes.
Scrivener’s scratchpad is ideal for jotting down quick notes
The scratchpad is a thing of beauty in its simplicity. A small notepad that you can easily pop up whenever you have a sudden brainwave, without having to come out of whatever chapter or character profile you happened to be working on at the time.
Compiling your work is a breeze
When you’re finished writing, it’s easy to compile your work into just about any format you like using pre-defined formats (e.g.: e-book, paperback novel, proof copy, standard manuscript) or, if you don’t like any of those, you can make your own.
And of course, all your favourite file types are available at the compiling stage as well, including but not limited to pdf, rtf, epub, mobi, markdown– even ODF (for me and my fellow Open Office users).
Please note this post is about the Windows version of Scrivener. Different versions of Scrivener are also available for MacOS and iOS.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoyed it, why not help support Penstricken by buying me a coffee? You can also follow Penstricken on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and like Penstricken on Facebook.
Looking for a gift for the author or fiction lover in your life?
Check out the Penstricken Zazzle store!
Due to a recent surge in interest, I am presently committed to a significant number of reviews/interviews over the next couple of months. If you would like an interview or review, I would still love to hear from you, though it is unlikely that I will be able to begin work immediately.
You can check out our previous interviews here:
- Sharleen Nelson, author of The Time Tourists 
- D. Wallace Peach, author of the Shattered Sea duology 
- Jacob Klop, author of Crooked Souls
- H.L. Walsh, author of From Men and Angels 
- G.M. Nair, author of Duckett and Dyer: Dicks for Hire
- Georgia Springate, author of Beyond
- S.E. Morgan, author of From Waterloo to Water Street
- Megan Pighetti, author of Fairy-Tailed Wish 
- Nancet Marques, author of Chino and the Boy Scouts [VIDEO]