Saturday, November 12, 2011

Scrivener for Windows Finally Released

At long last, it's finally here...
I've been waiting for the Windows version of Scrivener to come out for well over a year now, having received outstanding reviews from a number of writer friends who are fortunate enough to have used the Mac version for several years. With Word becoming increasingly bloated with features few novelists would ever use, and none of those they really need, Microsoft's Office suite has become more and more a business person's tool and far less helpful for creative endeavors. I actually deleted my copy of Office 2010 (version 14) in favor of the far more streamlined and efficient Office XP (version 10), albeit with an added plug-in to allow me to read .docx files I get sent. Scrivener is what Word should have become. And for those of us who are Windows-bound it's been a long time coming.
Scrivener is a "complete writing studio" - an all-encompassing creation tool and project manager that houses a wide range of disparate elements all geared toward the organization and development of creative writing projects, with particular benefits for those that are long and complex. As you can see from the image above, there is a corkboard which replicates an index card system, but with the benefits of electronic manipulation of both content and order: they can be rearranged with ease, blown up for easier viewing, and customized to your heart's desire.

There are linked outlining tools that access and compile all your research notes and files, including audio/video and web documents, creating a central hub where all your reference sources are readily available. Scrivener can even temporarily combine multiple documents for viewing and editing as a single cohesive whole, while saving each piece separately. Using the outline tools allows you to rearrange these pieces easily using drag and drop. These organization tools are far more powerful and useful than those in Word, with visual elements that let you color-code and see the bigger picture at a glance.

At its heart, of course, is a simple, but powerful word processor with all the formatting options you'll ever need. It will even convert your story into script format, or mix formats for writing rough draft treatments. Statistics show your progress for both overall and session word-count targets. It even has a name generator to help with character creation. And finally, it will export your document to both ePub and Kindle formats, as well as Word, RTF, PDF and HTML for external editing or file sharing.

My current "organization system"
I'm looking forward to importing my current notes and outlines into Scrivener and getting down to work on that final draft, but I sure wish I had had it six months ago when I was working on the outline and the first draft.

You can download a free trial version of Scrivener for Windows or Mac OS X here.