Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Writing Tools: Scrivner vs. Writeitnow

    I sit here looking at my newly formatted draft of my current work in progress (possible title Mademoiselle Durand and the Accursed Box,but still not 100% on that)and realized that I wanted to post on this blog, so as not to lose all of my writing momentum. So, as I mentioned in post number one, I am going to speak about the writing tools that I own, and transferring between the two.

Let me begin by saying that I found Writeitnow back in about 2007, I believe. I had just barely decided that I wanted to write, and was looking for a tool that would work for me and work better than MS Word. Word is an effective tool for basic word processing, but for anyone working on a novel-length work, it just does not work at all. I like to occasionally revisit certain sections and verify that my plot is coming along correctly and that I have not forgotten any key details in my story. Word is not conducive to this.

I fell in love with Writeitnow for the simple fact that you could split your work up into smaller pieces. Chapters work well, but I like smaller sections still. So the scenes were just what I needed to keep my work manageable.

In addition, the character tab was a wonderful surprise. I was able to track my characters by name, their relationships with other characters, their personalities, and I could even link back to their name, so I could double check things like their physical description, or to make sure that two enemies were not suddenly laughing and joking together for no reason.

I would have been perfectly happy to stay with Writeitnow for years to come. But then along came Scrivener. It does much of what Writeitnow does, except it does it with style. Panache. Is that really necessary in a word processing tool? Probably not - but…pretty! 

See, I'm even using it to write this very post.

Each tool within Scrivener is much more intuititive to use than in Writeitnow. The storyboard in Writeitnow is similar to the Corkboard in Scrivener, for example, but Scrivener made it all so much more attractive, and easier to navigate. The fact that without leaving my current page, I can change the view from the text screen, to the corkboard, then the outliner, and then back to text, is a wonderful thing. Plus it can all be done without losing my place in my current document. Add to that the fact that Scrivener is being actively updated, and I have definitely been won over.

Really, the only area that Writeitnow has the upper hand, in my own humble opinion, is in the character generation and tracking. Scrivener has a simple worksheet where you can input character details, but that is it. I do not know if there is anything resembling Writeitnow’s character tools in the more up-to-date Mac version, but if not, maybe that is something that could be enhanced in future versions or updates.

With all of the Scrivener-love I’ve been feeling, there was one downside to the process that bears a small mention - the transfer of my files from one format to another. My short story was not a big problem, as it is still in the early stages. However, a novel that is already over a hundred pages, already split into Writeitnow’s scenes required a long copy and paste session to get the transfer completed. Of course, now that I said that, I am sure I will learn that there was a simpler way.

Either way, I am happy with my purchase, and am pleased as punch to be a Scrivener user.