Scrivener: Should I Do It?

I would like to hear from people who use Scrivener and love it, and also from people who have used it and didn’t care for it.

I have written novels and short stories using good old Word. How would Scrivener assist me as a writer to get things written, and how does it do it? What problems does it solve that standard word processing programs like Word or Google docs don’t?

Thanks in advance! (I hope this topic is okay).


100% okay! I’m curious what people say.

I haven’t used Scrivener yet because I’m waiting for Scrivener 3 for Windows to come out of beta releases. I may cave in and spring for a Mac just to run it eventually, though. It’s been awhile since I watched the videos and researched it to decide so I don’t recall the exact reasons. I do remember the broad strokes which is that it has great tools for organizing the worldbuilding aspects of your novel as well as scene management. I vaguely recall that where it really shines, in version 3, is when you are editing and revising your drafts. I understand that it does a decent job of formatting your writing for various print and ebook. I hear that part is not as easy to use as Vellum but, once you learn to do it, it does a nice job.

I’m going to leave this as my reply for now and go back and refresh my memory later on more specific details that stood out for me. I’ll reply again later with those in a day or so. I’ll post some links, too.

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I’ve not used Word, but I’ve used Scrivener for year and love it. From the ability to plot using the corkboard function to the ability to import webpages for research and to add notations in the sidebar of my novel when editing it’s all awesome. I also like to use the split screen feature when I’m revising a novel. It’s also really easy to change your novel’s format so you can load it onto an ereader for a read through or for editing. I haven’t looked back since I got it and can’t imagine using anything else. Now, I’m not sure how many of those features Word offers.

Hopefully the version I have works on Windows 10. If not, I guess I’ll have to buy another copy to have on the new PC.

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One day, I shall be so adept . . . I use Word only because I’m used to it and there’s really only a few things I need from a processor. Most of my pre-writing occurs in a 3-ring binder, on sticky-notes, and with my beloved pocket diary. I do; however, see the utility for organizing multiple stories or keeping up with a lot of research.

Update to my initial reply:

Alright, after a little refreshing of my memory, there are just too many awesome tools in Scrivener to detail. Custom metadata, linguistic focus, snapshots, revision mode, placeholders being just a few.

What I’ve rendered it down to is that comparing Scrivener 3 to Word or Google Docs is like comparing a screwdriver to a toolbox full of tools. If we are just comparing screwdrivers, then Word is probably just as good. The question to really ask is what other tools are you using to create your novels besides just drafting them and how much do they cost when added together?

Writing a novel involves planning, organizing research and metadata, writing, editing and revising, formatting for various print and electronic output formats for upload to various services and maybe a few other things. Scrivener has tools for almost all of this.

You could use Word plus other tools to accomplish many of the same things that Scrivener integrates into one application. ProWritingAid seems to be adding a lot of linguistic focus tools to analyze your writing as you revise to their service which might be better than Scrivener’s linguistic focus options. Vellum and calibre are other options for formatting your output. I talked about yWriter in another topic where you can enter a lot of helpful metadata for your scenes to better manage details in them. Scrivener has tools that could replace Evernote and some of the other outlining and research management tools you might use.

I’m not aware of any tools that have the split screen abilities of Scrivener or revision mode. Revision mode color codes your text so that you can see which draft you added particular sections. Along with the comment tool and Snapshots which saves a state of your manuscript before you make changes, allowing you to revert back any time, you can more easily trace back when you made certain changes in direction and continue them or go back. Someone else mentioned the corkboard for planning and outlining.

There’s a lot more.

My favorite really is the custom metadata. I believe in yWriter, the metadata is fixed but with custom metadata you can define your own categories of data to track in your documents. For example, tagging every scene with its location would allow you to quickly filter and search for every scene you might need to update if you later realized you had to change information regarding that location’s details for some reason.

Word is a word processing application. Scrivener is a box of writing tools.


Curious about this myself. I’ve been told it’s not a friendly interface for visually impaired people, but that was a while back.

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I’ve started using an app called Papyrus Author. Most of its feature’s are free to use. It’s pretty cool.


I do not like Scrivener on Windows because it has a tendency to corrupt/lose files. After the second time, I switched to yWriter. yWriter has fewer features, but it has NEVER lost or corrupted a file.


I’ve tried Scrivener but, for me, there are too many bells and whistles. It has a high learning curve and it never felt like a comfortable fit for me. I found it a bit distracting. I’m considering giving Dabble a try. I’ve heard it’s less cluttered and easier to use.


Dabble looks interesting.

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It does sort of take charge, don’t it?

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