Writers' software pick'n'mix

Anybody else plot this way?

Moist—do you dislike this word?

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Jay Aitch

Aug 29, 2014
West Midlands, UK
I am an Apple fan, and have been for many years. I therefore own a Macbook and use Pages as my default word processor software. I can export/convert files to Word, but I dislike Windows Office software intently.

Can anyone recommend Scrivener, or an alternative to Pages? I am reasonably happy with Pages but wonder if there is a more "writer-friendly" wp package available.
I love Scrivener, but you still have to export things into a dedicated word processor at the end. Still, it's brilliant for writing--much more stable with book-length documents than any word processing program I've used, and able to export your files in a multitude of formats with minimal fuss. It's also great for organising--once you get the hang of how to use the features, it makes seeing and modifying the structure of your book easy. You can also link your research documents (notes, websites, photos, etc) to the text, so it makes it quick to flip back to your research to check things as you write.
I've never used anything but Word. What can you do with Scrivener etc that you can't do with Word?
You can separate each scene of your novel into a separate file, and organise those files into separate folders (your chapters), all within your manuscript--Scrivener then shows you that structure as a sidebar, so you can very quickly jump around from scene to scene, chapter to chapter. You can rearrange scenes and chapters easily, just by dragging and dropping files in the sidebar. Then when it's time to print or export your document into manuscript or e-pub formats, you can tell it exactly what you want exported, and how you want it to look, without actually changing the document itself. You can quickly override fonts, rich-text features, and layout with whatever font the publisher wants--all without changing the base document itself. And it's set up with excellent pre-set formats for all sorts of writing--novels, screenplays, non-fiction books, essays...

You can also link research documents directly to your manuscript, so that you can quickly click to them as you write--those documents also show up on your sidebar. No more going back to Safari every time you want to check a fact--just link the page to your document, and it's right there for you.

You can create character sketches that also show up in your sidebar for easy reference. There's a place for notes on each chapter. You can create chapter summaries, linked to each chapter, and then print out a synopsis from them. You can switch modes so instead of all the clutter around your writing, all you see is the page (no distractions). There's lots more--I honestly don't even begin to use all the features.

The big thing for me, though, is its stability. In Word, once your document exceeds about 40 pages, or if you have tables or images or odd formatting in it, it becomes incredibly unstable--images and tables will move from one place to another. Formatting will change unexpectedly. Word will crash entirely. Scrivener doesn't have these problems. It was designed to deal with book-length documents.

No, I haven't been paid by Scrivener to rave about the software. I just really like it. I would have given up writing books a long time ago if I had to do it in Word. Scrivener makes it easy.
I use Word (PC/Windows). I can do most of what I want with it, although it does have its quirks. It very rarely crashes. My books are up to 360 pages (100 k words or so) and I have few problems. I spend loads of time with other publishing and graphical software. I've recently used Word extensively for commercial writing - very complex sales proposals with many graphics and tables, printed straight to acrobat and sent the file to Office Depot for printing and binding for clients to collect - TOC, TOA, the lot. I guess there are features with Scrivener that appeal but I've no inclination to go off and learne another package. By the way, I hate Apples, but then I hate PCs too, despite building my own in 1979.
Perhaps Word is more stable on PCs--I'm a Mac girl, so I only know how it behaves there. For graphics-heavy stuff I write the text in Word, then work in InDesign to create the layout.
I use google docs for the following reasons.

1. I prefere to use a notebook to keep any ideas / notes in.
2. Docs is backed up in the cloud, so I get some comfort.
3. I write a document per chapter.
4. It can open a single , 80k word document ok.
5. You can export to PDF, Word, everything apart from Apple Pages format.
6. My operating systems of choice are Linux / Ubuntu and Chromium / Linux.

But, saying that, I shall now see if there is a port of Scrivener for Linux.
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Anybody else plot this way?

Moist—do you dislike this word?