So, my friend Vicki Pettersson has raved about this awesome software for writing novels for years now, Scrivener, but it's Mac software. And sadly, I don't have a Mac--YET. The other day, VP casually tweeted Scrivener might be available for Windows. So I checked. And they're working on it. But they have a beta version for Windows available for trial. I downloaded it anyway --it's FREE, people. They would like some feedback, though, so here, I will be chronicling my thoughts on this awesome software. my operating system: Windows Vista (Scrivener will also work for XP and Windows 7)
my usage: I will probably use Scrivener more when I'm ready to start my next project. I'm currently neck deep into a rewrite, and once that's done, I will be ready to move on to the next project. I would love to import my current project, but to do so, I would have to cut and paste every chapter. It would be nice if Scrivener could sense my chapter breaks, but a feature like this is not available in the beta. It may be something that's in the release (or Mac) version, though.
For now, my usage will include following the tutorials and writing a short story or whatever else I feel like as I get to know the software.
Day 1: Downloading the software was pretty quick for me. The file is roughly 45M and took only minutes to DL. The installation also took mere minutes. Within about twenty minutes of finding the beta, I was able to use the program. (Once you use this awesome software for yourself, you'll have a better appreciation for this.) Your mileage may vary depending on your ISP, computer speed, and whatnot.
Next, I viewed the video tutorial. While I had the program up and running, and I could have just started plugging away and using it, I quickly realized there are many features here that are unlike any word processing program I've ever used. I'd like to know the capabilities of the program so I can use it to its fullest, so I started with the video tutorial. It took about ten minutes, but walked me through the basics. The video tutorial is well done. It strips Scrivener back to very simple basic uses without making me feel like an idiot. The narrating voice is very pleasant, as well.
Finally, I imported a document just to see if it would screw up. The import lost the header-- the tutorial warned of this-- and tinkered with the margins, but otherwise the story imported nicely. No garbled text, no bizarre characters from another language. But this is one reason why I would rather start a project from scratch: I can see myself tearing my hair out trying to fix the margins and put in a header. At this stage, it's not worth it. I would also like to take advantage of other features of Scrivener-- the characters, the locations, the research folder-- and this also was not intuitively extracted from my imported text. I can see myself spending a week setting it all up, but at this stage, like I said, it's not worth it.
Stay tuned for Day 2.