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Scrivener Windows Beta - makes we want alternatives

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Posted by dan7000
Dec 23, 2010 at 08:26 PM

 

I started a new, substantial writing project this week, and decided to try the first draft in Scrivener for Windows.

Before this, I never understood what the advantage of Scrivener was over MS Word for drafting—but so many people think it’s useful that I thought I’d see for myself.  I still can’t articulate exactly what makes it better than using Word, but there is something about it.  Maybe it’s the fact that you work on isolated sections of text, rather than inserting text into a whole document. 

Unfortunately, Scrivener for Windows has some flaws that make it very hard to use.  Common paragraph styles are totally missing or require multiple menu items to apply (bullets, numbering, block text quotes).  Heading styles are totally missing.  Cut and paste from Word is hit-or-miss and sometimes yields bizarre results.  Also - and I’d like to know if this is the same in Scrivener on Mac - when you “compile” into a full document, you lose the outline levels from the binder - everything ends up flat and headings are indistinguishable from sub-headings. 

Overall, I find myself spending about 1/4 of my time formatting, instead of writing.  And after I compile, I expect to spend another couple of hours re-formatting.

So now I am at the point where I see the value of Scrivener, but I want something that actually works—on Windows.  Any suggestions?

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Dec 23, 2010 at 11:21 PM

 

>So now I am at the point where
>I see the value of Scrivener, but I want something that actually works—on Windows. 
>Any suggestions?

I am happy to recommend Whizfolders Organizer, where you can do some similar things. However, I am also looking forward to a working Windows version of Scrivener. I am also new to it and I only had a couple of occasions to play with it. I did find the outlining features very clunky (as I mentioned it in a previous post), and so if organising topics in a hierarchical structure is similarly important to you, I think Whizfolders is superior on that.

One feature on Scrivener that had emerged as a killer feature for me however is the ability to work on the document in full screen, where you can block out the rest of the desktop and all distractions whatsoever (by making it black). I’ve been dreaming about something like that for years (basically to simulate a typewriter environment, by just having the keyboard and a white piece of paper in front of you, and the words that are on that paper). This feature is absolutely brilliant. I wonder if any other writer’s software can do that. Unfortunately that’s where Whizfolders falls down, as the whole interface is overcrowded with various icons and functions (which are useful but I just wish I could switch to a blank paper at some point).

So if Scrivener could (1) make it easier to manipulate the topic and folder hierarchy (dragging and dropping or indenting/out-denting and moving up and down), (2) could have an EndNote add-on for academic referencing (rather then the current workaround that is needed to do what takes just one click in Word), and (3) work with Dragon Naturallyspeaking (which I haven’t had a chance to try that), then Scrivener would be an absolute winner for me.

If anyone out there is aware of any other software which can do this typewriter simulation (white paper, black background, and absolutely nothing else on the screen), I would be very interested in and grateful to find out about.

 


Posted by Wojciech
Dec 24, 2010 at 10:58 AM

 

>So now I am at the point where
>I see the value of Scrivener, but I want something that actually works—on Windows. 
>Any suggestions? 

Word add-in called Writing Outliner:
http://writingoutliner.com/
It is at quite early stage of development, but the developer is very friendly, responsive and engaged in adding new features.

 


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Dec 24, 2010 at 02:40 PM

 

Dr Andus wrote:
>If anyone out there is aware of any other software which
>can do this typewriter simulation (white paper, black background, and absolutely
>nothing else on the screen), I would be very interested in and grateful to find out
>about. 

Check out
Q10 http://www.baara.com/q10/ (also mentioned in another thread)
and WriteMonkey http://www.writemonkey.com/

 


Posted by critStock
Dec 24, 2010 at 09:11 PM

 

In all fairness, Scrivener for Windows is still in beta. The newest version (beta 5) was posted today. They are also keeping a comprehensive of bugs and missing features at

. As others have mentioned, the developers intend eventually to bring the Win version up to the Mac version (currently 2.0), but the first non-beta Win release will be 1.1, in February, with features corresponding to the Mac version 1.1. I am definitely keeping my eye on this one!
Cheers,
David

 


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