THE tools a writer uses for creation is just as essential as the text created. While it is true that most great works begin spontaneously, they do not end there. Hence, the quality of the tools affects the quality of the work itself. ‘Scrivener’ is precisely that tool.
Developed by Literature & Latte, the app was made by one man and his team who, being writers themselves, know the problems that anyone faces when creating text with software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
Available for Windows, iOS, and macOS (Android in development), Scrivener has a steep learning curve, but the effort is worth it. The application is aware that most long-form writing is not linear, but grows ‘organically’. As such, Scrivener allows you to merge and split your documents into as many pieces as you like, in any order you want — or not at all.
You can begin or end however you like, or leave a file or folder (they can nest indefinitely) to be completed later. You can refer to nearly any kind of file or link possible, from videos and PDFs to full webpages that can be accessed offline. The application is endlessly customisable and suited for nearly any form of text work — whether it is a novel you are writing, a research paper, a single article or just lecture notes.
Scrivener is not meant to replace a proper word processor like Microsoft Word, but works in tandem with it. You will need to compile your documents from Scrivener first into a ‘first draft’ and then finish more advanced formatting in a word processor.
The standout-feature of Scrivener is the ‘Compile’ option. Here, you can tweak the settings and toggles to your heart's content to create what will mainly be a fully-formed, near-final draft of your work. A pro tip for the users: while it is meant to complete your project, I personally go to compile long before I finish my piece — it doubles as a great way to procrastinate.
Scrivener is available from the Literature & Latte website for a one-time price of $49.99 for Windows and macOS as well as the Mac App Store, and the Apple App Store for $19.99. While this might seem like an outrageous amount to spend on ‘mere software’, the power behind that little black-and-white icon is worth a lot more.
Sarazeen Saif Ahana is a student of Independent University Bangladesh.
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