January 14th, 2008


Scrivener Assessment

As noted in an earlier post, I finished the Doe synopsis yesterday. What I didn't mention was that this is the first document I've created using Scrivener, which I'm testing to see whether I want to use it instead of Word.

One point in its favor is Keywords. Start your keyword list at the project level, say the folder that contains the various documents you're creating for your novel (synopsis, chapters, notes) and not only can you track and reference the spelling and punctuation of characters, places, and people, you can (a) group them according to those categories and (b) change the spelling and punctuation and Scrivener will change the keywords throughout the project to match. Add a keyword at the project/folder level and its added to the interior document. At least, that's my experience, and it's better than Word in that regard because I'm also able to set keywords at a document level, bookmarking what characters are in particular chapters so I can reference those sections through searches.

A second point in its favor that I foresee will be the various view modes. Outliner and Inspector will let me to flag chapters with a synopsis and labels so I can track what's happening. I can create character outlines and view them as separate pieces in Corkboard, easily tracking their development and who they've interacted with throughout the narrative.

There won't be a complete changeover. I still need to export from Scrivener for output. Though that went smoothly last night as I've only one document, the synopsis itself. It retained its formatting (Courier 12) and opened without issue in Word.

The word count is a bit off. The synopsis shows as 1900 words in Scrivener, but the manuscript word count is 2250 words. So it seems to count actual words rather than space. Dialog will throw things off more, but I can probably guesstimate it at a page short.

Not bad with most things considered. And it's only $40.