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Scrivener for writers

Why not just use Word?
Sunday 19 January 2014.

A few months ago I reviewed Scrivener, a low-cost word processor which is aimed at writers (of books and articles rather than of memos and letters). While I liked Scrivener, I wasn’t sure that I could really break away from the word processor I’ve been using for so many years past – namely, Microsoft Word. So I decided to get a second opinion from someone who has made the beak and uses Scrivener regularly. Cathy Presland is an author and instructor who not only publishes her own books but also teaches others how to publish theirs. She leads workshops and teaches online: https://www.udemy.com/u/cathypresland/. I asked Cathy why she likes Scrivener so much…

Huw: What do you think is the most useful feature of Scrivener?

Cathy: I really began to use Scrivener because of the ability to create a mobi format for kindle. I teach kindle publishing and I’d been testing about a dozen different ways to do this. I wanted a solution that was (relatively) easy to use and also gave the best outcome - without having to know html. Hands down scrivener met both of those criteria. And of course as a bonus it does so much more!

I also love the ability to drag and drop sections around, add images through drag and drop and see the "whole book" or just parts. I really feel like I have a lot still to learn about the features but what I know so far I love.

Huw: What would you like to see improved?

Cathy: I still feel a little uncertain about some of the formatting options. I’m coming to Scrivener from Word and I know it’s a learning curve but the ability to use styles is one thing I am still struggling with.

Huw: For what sort of writing project is Scrivener more suitable than other word processors?

Cathy: Well, books of course! One of my friends just told me he is using it to create his speeches – he’s writing out short pieces of content and then moving them around. I also have a client who is creating an anthology - with up to 100 chapters and it is so perfect for him to see sections, move them around, add content as it comes in from the contributors.

Huw: Do you also use another word processor and, if so, why?

Cathy: Yes, I use Word - you know, I think it’s because I am used to it! When my friend told me he was using Scrivener for his speeches I paused and thought maybe I should try it as my default word processor. I love the programme. If anyone doesn’t yet have it I strongly recommend giving it a try - they have the absolute best trial period of any software I have ever come across.

Scrivener is available for Windows or Mac OS X. http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

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