Scrivener Revisited

Okay. I admit it. I was wrong. I'm not 100% sold yet, but I'm still playing with Scrivener and I've found some features I really like that are not available on OneNote. Word count. I love knowing how many words I have in a document. In OneNote, I had to use an Add-on to get word counts, and it still only counted the words on each page, there was no way to count how many words in the "draft" section of my notebook. Scrivener does word counts.

scrivener_text_statsText statistics (click on the picture to see it larger). Scrivener has the ability to tell me how many times I've used each word in a document. As a few people who have read my drafts know, I tend to have a LOT of bobble-heads who like to pat each other and shrug. In Scrivener, I can see that I used "shrug" 78 time in the first chapter and "nod" was used 24 times in the second paragraph.

Targets. It's nice to set a target word count for each scene and see a bar graph change colors as I get closer to reaching my goal.

Corkboard. And everyone's favorite feature of Scrivener, the corkboard, is awesome for rearranging scenes! I assigned a different color label for each of my plot lines and can visually see when all the "red plot lines" are bunched together instead of spread through the entire story. The same could be done with perspectives to see if Character A has more scenes told from their perspective than Character B in any part of the story.

Cross-platform compatibility. I can open my Scrivener projects on either of my computers and make changes. Some features are only available on the Mac version right now, but it's nice to know I can use either of my computers, as long as I keep the files up-to-date on Dropbox (or a similar online storage site). I'm currently using the trial version on both my iMac and my Windows 7 laptop.

If you have the same type of desktop and laptop, you can use the same license for both. If you have different operating systems on your desktop and laptop, you'll have to decide whether it's worthwhile to you to purchase a license for each. Scrivener does provide directions for syncing with SimpleNote on an ipad.

These are just the features that I used over the weekend and really loved. I saw some other stuff in the menus that I think I'll like, but will wait to comment on those until after I've used the feature.

Don't take my word for it, download your own trial version and see what you think. It's available for both Windows and Mac now! Just don't give up if the tutorial confuses you, like I almost did.

And if you decide to buy, S.M. Worth has a coupon code on his blog for 20% off. He also has lots of other great stuff!

Scrivener or OneNote

Are you contemplating whether to purchase Scrivener to plan and write your novel on Windows? You may already have OneNote on your computer. So which should you use, Scrivener or OneNote? I tried Scrivener again last night. I couldn't even make it through the tutorial before I was confused beyond words. I hear there are some neat features on it, but I'm going to stick with OneNote and Word.

Believe me, it's hard to say that since I'm normally not a Microsoft fan. Am I the only one who isn't impressed with Scrivener? I just might not be smart enough for Scrivener.

Edited: I've been revisiting Scrivener and may be changing my mind as I get more comfortable with it.

Microsoft OneNote

I've never been a fan of Microsoft or their products. However, I have a new laptop with Windows 7 on it because my MacBook Pro died and I couldn't justify spending a couple grand on a new MBP when I have a nice iMac (I'm quite loyal to Apple products.) Anyway, I'm quite happy with my $500 Lenovo ThinkPad, but I needed a few things to ensure I can get things done. Among those things was Microsoft Office. Whether I like it or not, there are times where it's needed (spreadsheets for my "day job", opening other people's documents, etc).

In the Windows version of Office 2010 is a piece of software I've never even heard of before, OneNote. Holy mother of God! I AM IN LOVE!

I don't even think it can be described, but it's like a 3-ring binder with all kinds of capabilities. So far, I haven't even tested them all, but egads am I hooked. So far tonight, I've created a list of scenes, which all link to separate pages where the rough draft can be typed. I have a list of characters which links to separate character profiles, and a list of settings that link to separate setting worksheets.Everything is stored in one place. If I want to see how many words I have in each scene, I just look at the master list of scenes. If I want to see what color eyes Joe Blow has, I just click on the tab that says "Character Profile - Joe Blow" which I created. I don't have to change what I keep track of to fit other people's worksheets. I just create it how I want it done.

I also found a map of the area I'm writing about, copied the graphic to another page in my OneNote program, and I can go in and mark up the map. Now I'll remember that Joe lives next door to Jane Doe, which happens to be 3 blocks north and 2 blocks west of the bar where they met.

Really. I cannot believe that I'm so in love with this software. I've tested various software specifically designed for writing novels and I've always been disappointed, or overwhelmed to the point where I give up.

I was going to buy an iPad for reading ebooks and revising electronically instead of printing tons of revisions, but because of this program, I'm leaning toward buying a Windows slate. And when my iMac dies, I'll replace it with a Windows desktop system.

Of course, as soon as I replace all my Apple electronics, Microsoft will make OneNote available on the Mac operating system.