I finally downloaded Scrivener. I’m not one of those “early adopters” described in Geoffrey Moore’s landmark marketing book, Crossing the Chasm. The book examines the technology adoption lifecyle (early adopters, early majority, late majority, and late adopters). Early adopters like to try a product before everyone else does, before the product itself is even stable or really usable, they love the idea and want to try new things.
I’m not one of them. And since I work in high tech, I’m surrounded by them, technophiles who’ll pick up a Tungsten (email and cellphone all in one) and all its imperfections long before it became the Palm Treo phone, long before the debut of the iPhone. I think I might be a late majority person, and I get mightily derided for it–I’m prodded along by all the early adopters around me.
But I like to think those early adopters are “QA’ing” the product–I get to hear their thoughts on the product, get used to the concept of the product before dipping my toe in. “The water’s fine!” I’ll need to hear, before I’ll try a new piece of hardware, technology, or software out.
And so it is with Scrivener, a piece of software focused on people writing novels–a word processing software with a specific audience in mind. I’ve known about it some time, first hearing about it from Fog City Writer about a year ago. Hrm! I was fascinated! It was free to download, but I still didn’t download it. I wanted to hear how it went with people.
I didn’t hear definitive raves. So I circled the edge of the pond.
Just a few weeks ago though, a good friend of mine waved me over. “Have you seen this?” He showed me Scrivener. I was excited–this was just the recommendation I needed to hear! He showed me the ins and outs of the product, showed me how he was using it for several of his writing projects. I was SOLD. I told him I’d been thinking about it for some time, but hadn’t downloaded it.
He looked at me like I was crazy. “Just try it! It’s free! And if you want it, it’s not expensive–it’s thirty-nine dollars!”
So I downloaded it, excited to see how I would organize my own novel.
Run through the tutorial–while it’s similar enough to many word processors, there are a few features and ins and outs that you want to spend a few minutes to discover. Like the note cards. And the outline, etc., etc.
I love this for the purpose of writing my novel. I’ve been horrible in organizing my manuscript in Word, haphazardly saving drafts and portions of the novel without any definitive names, so that if I want to hunt down a scene I’ve written, I HAVE to have remembered which draft I wrote it in, and also remember which chapter that scene belongs to. Ack!
But in Scrivener–its all there, clearly outlined–even the chapter titles can be organized so that I can see the story trajectory without opening a file. My one beef is that if I want to convert a file into a Word doc, there’s some footwork involved. And if you’re doing something collaborative (probably not a novel, but maybe you’re writing a book with someone else? Or working on a long writing project with someone else), there isn’t a way to track changes like Word offers. Otherwise, it’s perfect for the lonely novelist making her way through the mountain of ideas and words and pages.
But not a dealbreaker–I give Scrivener a thumbs up!
This all comes just in time for me–as I re-immerse back into novel-land.