"A whole way of doing things..."

to
tonyc5000
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:04 pm
Location: London & Kent UK

Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:09 pm Post

Amaru, in the pricing debate in the Announcements forum, wrote earlier today:

"what you buy with Scrivener, as with any piece of software, is not an app, but a whole way of doing things."

I feel I have only scratched the surface of Scrivener at the moment, but I'm still not sure if there is a single Scrivener way of doing things.

As mabe happens with many people working with a new tool, I've tended to use Scrivener for the things I had to do at the time and it'll only be with experience that I start to use more of the features and adapt my methods in the process.

With that in mind, here are the three biggest chunks of writing on my desk at the moment and how I've handled them so far. I'd like tips on how I could have / could still use Scrivener with them.

1. Manuscript of the last novel
It's going out to an agent at the end of this week. I might add a few tweaks first, but it seems to me it's almost certainly not worth putting it into Scrivener to add them.

2. A report at work
The powers on high give a format as a blank Word document with section headings. As last year, I converted it to an Appleworks outline and then filled in, cut and pasted and moved it around until I managed to say what I wanted to say whilst still using the corporate format. Then I save as Word and submit by e-mail
It seems to me that I could - probably should - have done this in Scrivener but somehow collapsing and expanding an Appleworks outline seemed more familiar - but maybe that’s an “at the momentâ€

Online
User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20822
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:35 pm Post

Hi Tony,

Scrivener is designed so that it hopefully does not force you in to one way of doing things - I would like to think that it accommodates many different ways of working. I think it is definitely a good idea just to use what suits you for now, and see what else helps as you play around.

As for your three projects... This is what I would do, but others may have different ways of doing things:

1. Manuscript of the last novel
It's going out to an agent at the end of this week. I might add a few tweaks first, but it seems to me it's almost certainly not worth putting it into Scrivener to add them.


Like you say, it is highly unlikely to be worth putting this into Scrivener at this point. Scrivener is really good for drafting and structuring, so if you've already got the draft and just need to tweak it before you send it out, it will be less work - and a lot easier - just to do that in whatever app it is already in.

[quote]2. A report at work
The powers on high give a format as a blank Word document with section headings. As last year, I converted it to an Appleworks outline and then filled in, cut and pasted and moved it around until I managed to say what I wanted to say whilst still using the corporate format. Then I save as Word and submit by e-mail
It seems to me that I could - probably should - have done this in Scrivener but somehow collapsing and expanding an Appleworks outline seemed more familiar - but maybe that’s an “at the momentâ€

to
tonyc5000
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:04 pm
Location: London & Kent UK

Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:12 pm Post

Thanks for the tips!

Ma
Maria
Posts: 614
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:47 am

Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:19 am Post

del
Last edited by Maria on Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

Online
User avatar
AmberV
Posts: 24324
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:30 am
Platform: Mac + Linux
Location: Ourense, Galiza
Contact:

Thu Feb 01, 2007 3:27 am Post

As the others have said, the flexibility of the program is in my opinion one of its strongest aspects, and thus no single method should be expected. There are some great writing programs out there, but many of them are heavily geared toward fiction. In my explorations, I have found Scrivener to be remarkably adaptable to different projects. One unlikely example is the FAQ, which can export a document that this forum can understand as formatting (and perhaps the only drawback with using Scrivener for the FAQ is that I end up being far too wordy; it has really turned more into a series of how-tos than the traditional terseness one has come to expect from FAQs, but oh well!). Its ability to handle small pieces of larger sections is exceptional for the task. In my current research project, which is of a much larger scale, it ramps right up to that task without complaint. With many programs, you can do a wide variety of things in them, but it often takes a lot of exertion and forcing the program to do things it was never meant to do. With Scrivener I never get that feeling of running up against a software wall; in fact it is quite the opposite. I always get the feeling that I am not tapping certain tools to their full potential -- and no matter which way I stretch within the application, at that.

In practice, I agree with Keith on keeping #1 where it is. I did move one of my older projects from Ulysses. It was an unfinished project, and it took quite a lot of work to do so, and that is coming from one who is skilled in the ways of writing scripts. I was able to convert annotation types between programs and such. It would be a lot of work to have done that by hand; but I wanted to because it is a project very much in progress and I have lost my gleam for Ulysses and large projects. For a few tweaks, that much work would not at all be worth it unless you intended to revisit the draft very heavily in the future. Personally I would wait to see if I jived at all with Scrivener before I went through that much effort.

#2: Keith gave an excellent example of how you could use Templates to achieve this. While I have absolutely no recollection of how AppleWork's outliner works, I'd be surprised if it offered the same level of data management that Scrivener does. Given that I consider its implementation superior to pretty much any other program out there for writing, I would be inclined to say it is all a matter of acclimation, as you speculate. Play around with Edit Scrivenings. If you are used to a word processor style of editing amongst many sections at once, you may find that a more comfortable route into the Scrivener world.

#3 I think, is well settled. The usage you are describing is what Scrivener was made for. Even though it accommodates the more systematic writer (more of that wonderful flexibility), its design concept was coming from a person who wants to turn a pile of disparate forms of information into a book. I'd say you are in good hands on that one.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

User avatar
alexwein
Posts: 1063
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:30 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Ashland, Oregon, USA
Contact:

Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:23 pm Post

Yes, I too have started using Scrivener for almost everything. I have a db for just writing ideas and early development until something becomes an actual project. I have one Scr. db that houses all of my shorter essays or articles, including research. Then I have one Scr. db for a novel I'm working on. And I also use it to house my research, class, and study notes for a training program I'm involved with, which involves access to pdfs and other media. It's incredibly wonderful to use Scr. to do such research (with the reference and note panels available, split windows, the project notepad) and to have everything ready at hand.

As soon as my dissertation is complete, I will be hard at work turning the material into something accessible to all audiences, not just academic ones, so that will all take place in Scrivener as well.

I also plan to get more familiar with Scr.'s exporting features so that I don't even have to use a word processor to polish things up in most cases. My thinking has really changed in that regard. Scr. has definitely changed the way I work on a conceptual level as well as practical--I think about the whole process differently since I switched to Scr. and stopped using a word processor.

Alexandria
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
-Chuck Close
http://alexandriapallas.com

Ma
Maria
Posts: 614
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:47 am

Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:52 pm Post

del
Last edited by Maria on Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

li
linn
Posts: 91
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:30 pm

Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:08 am Post

alexwein wrote:Yes, I too have started using Scrivener for almost everything. I have a db for just writing ideas and early development until something becomes an actual project.


Alexandria,
I'd be interested in knowing in more detail how you (and other Scriveners) use the program "for almost everything." I liked your notion of putting writing ideas and early development in one Scr file, and then breaking it out when it's assumed some identity of its own. If it's not too much trouble, could you tell us how you use Scrivener's other features to give you the "whole new way of doing things"?
Right now, I use Mori to keep a list of projects, library requests, odds and ends and keep my (encrypted) journal and homeless non-academic things in Yojimbo. That seems inefficient. However, the number of Scrivener files I've started is proliferating, which has its own inefficiencies.
Thanks for your posts--not just this one, but all of them. They're very useful.

Linn

li
linn
Posts: 91
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:30 pm

Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:11 am Post

alexwein wrote:Yes, I too have started using Scrivener for almost everything. I have a db for just writing ideas and early development until something becomes an actual project.


Alexandria,
I'd be interested in knowing in more detail how you (and other Scriveners) use the program "for almost everything." I liked your notion of putting writing ideas and early development in one Scr file, and then breaking it out when it's assumed some identity of its own. If it's not too much trouble, could you tell us how you use Scrivener's other features to give you a "whole new way of doing things"?
Right now, I use Mori to keep a list of projects, library requests, odds and ends and keep my (encrypted) journal and homeless non-academic things in Yojimbo. That seems inefficient. However, the number of Scrivener files I've started is proliferating, which has its own inefficiencies.
Thanks for your posts--not just this one, but all of them. They are quite useful.

Linn

User avatar
Lord Lightning
Posts: 652
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 4:58 am
Location: Somewhere else!

Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:49 am Post

hi linn,

The really BIG trick with Scrivener is to understand the Binder and the role of the Draft folder. I mean REALLY understand them. When you get that and how you can split the Scrivener screen vertically and horizontally a whole bunch of problems just disappear and the possibilities and sheer power of Scrivener opens up.

linn raises another reason for screengrabs on this site.

Pictures of Scrivener employed in multiple ways would be so helful to new users. One informative picture related to their work - academic, theatre, radio, film, novel, article etc would allow new users to 'come down running'.

Worth a thought?
:?
Lord Lightning

I'm a writer. I create worlds!
When I make a declarative statement it applies to ME. Not to everyone.

Ti
Timotheus
Posts: 440
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:35 pm
Platform: Mac

Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:47 am Post

@ Alexandria and Maria:

I can understand you think the time has come to say goodbye to wordprocessors in general, and perhaps to Mellel in particular. Yet thanks to its perhaps unrivalled stability Mellel seems still a good choice for very long documents with a host of footnotes etc. etc. I still use it for academic readers, for instance.

On the other hand, using a styles-based application for binding and polishing up documents that were created with a non-styles-based application like Scrivener has some serious drawbacks: for instance, as soon as you decide to make some fonts bigger or smaller, italics etc. created in Scrivener disappear. That's why I sometimes wonder how stable a wordprocessor like Pages might be, and if as an output-companion to Scrivener it might be a better choice than Mellel.

Ma
Maria
Posts: 614
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:47 am

Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:34 am Post

del
Last edited by Maria on Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

Online
User avatar
AmberV
Posts: 24324
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:30 am
Platform: Mac + Linux
Location: Ourense, Galiza
Contact:

Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:21 pm Post

Maria, check your Mac OS X installation disk. They started shipping an iWork demo quite a while ago. It is good for 30 days I think.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

User avatar
alexwein
Posts: 1063
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:30 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Ashland, Oregon, USA
Contact:

Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:36 pm Post

Timotheus, yes, I tend to agree regarding projects with lots of footnoting, especially with multiple streams, which is why I never imported my dissertation into Scr. On the other hand, Scr.'s footnoting method is growing on me. Having them be inline took a little getting used to--now I like it because I find it makes the footnotes more part of the idea. It has kind of shifted the way I think about footnotes, and it also forces me to really think more about how relevant the footnote really is.

Also, I don't know that I'll have all that many more projects requiring really complex note systems. I'll still keep Mellel around. However, I think from now on, the final form will really be the key, since many of those I send things to and will send things to, have Windows environments, Word, etc. So I'm definitely interested in whatever it is that will give me the best Word compatibility, which may end up being Scr. itself, at least for what goes from me to them.

Like I said, I plan to play around with Scr.'s exporting capabilities more (once the dissertation is done!) so I can see what can and can't be done. I also plan to try out Pages and Nisus et al, to find the best solution possible. There are things about Mellel that drive me buggy and can really stop the presses in terms of my work flow (while I stop to have to figure something out--usually something really simple!)

Ultimately, I doubt I'll be able to totally get away from a word processor altogether, at least not yet! But I can dream!!

Alexandria
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
-Chuck Close
http://alexandriapallas.com

User avatar
alexwein
Posts: 1063
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:30 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Ashland, Oregon, USA
Contact:

Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:04 pm Post

Hi Linn,

Thanks for the nice words. I'll try to answer your questions. Yes, I have a central file for all nascient writing ideas, most of which remain that way (I have a lot of ideas!). The ones that develop into something substantial go one of two ways:

1) 90% of them will be short works, so they go into another central db that houses ALL of my shorter works, organized according to subject matter, type of project, etc. Since I tend to write about related issues, my research folder houses a lot of different but related materials. At some point I may run into db size issues, but so far, it's working well. Primarly because I don't keep too much in it in the way of media or pdf files. I house all of those in the Finder (media in iTunes, pdfs in a central folder called "Digital Editions"). That way I can alias them where I need them--DT Pro for warehousing, Scr. files for project development. The one thing I do tend to keep in Scr. that adds to size are web archives. I do a lot of Net research and it either goes to DT Pro (as my central info warehouse) and then to Scr. or straight to Scr.

So that's kind of how it's organized. The great thing is that, since I do use a lot of different media, Scr. gives me an elegant and efficient way to work with this. Before Scr., I used to have different programs and windows open to, say, watch a video about something I'm working on (the final chapter of my dissertation was based on a PBS Frontline special, along with the full text that went along with it). With Scr. I can use the reference pane to attach whatever file I need to research, use the split pane view to have the media file running in one window and my notes on what I'm watching (or hearing when working with audio files) in the other. I also have the notes pane for further noting, and now a project-based note pane as well. I can adapt these as needed while I'm working and it's so organized and fantastic I can hardly stand it! :) It was the first real blast for me when I discovered Scr., since a good deal of my research material was, at the time, visual (still is).

Same thing with pdfs. Having all this material tucked away wherever they are stored is great, because I can use the reference pane to attach whatever I need, even web page links, etc. It's so flexible. And being able to read a pdf, watch a video, listen to an audio file, and have all the tools I need to work with these files and then some right at hand, well, it's beyond great!

2) The other way a project will go is a longer work, and that is when a project gets its own, special Scr. file. By housing all my shorter works together, I have the advantage of having a lot of my own work as well as my research material in one place for easy searching and generating ideas as I go. It also prevents having a whole lot of bitty Scr. files!

But every so often a project earns its own file, and it works pretty much the say as I already described, save that it's all relating to one project.

I always TRY to have everything go first into DT and then into Scr. I still haven't been able to get around my need for Dt to house all the possible reference materials I may possibly need at some point in time! I have finally broken down and split my DT db into two. I'm doing what I think I remember Maria saying she did at one point--bringing only what is currently relevant into the new db and letting all the other stuff stay in the old one. My interests have definitely sharpened and focused, so, while I sometimes want to dump something into Dt just because it's interesting, it may not be something I really care to use as actual research.

The one last usage I referred to before was the training program. I'm doing a three-year advanced study program in yoga, and we are working with all aspects of yogic practice and philosophy. There are class notes, assignments, postures we practice, lots of reference material for study, etc. All of the same things apply there too--I do all that referencing stuff I mentioned, for example, if we are studying the Bhagavad Gita, I have an entry with references attached that have different translations as well as the original Sanskrit for study and note-taking.

I don't use Scr. for two things, however--as I said, I warehouse information in DT pro because it's designed to do this and I have huge dbs full of stuff that only it can handle. I can alias/index just about anything in my Finder. It works well for me.

And the other program I use is MacJournal for all personal journalling. I love MJ for this. I also use it for letter-writing (which I hardly do with email these days!), or for storing other totally personally related things.

I use a host of little aid programs, like iClip, which is very handy, Sidenote, which I also like, even Stickies at times.

So when I say 'almost everything,' that's pretty accurate. When not working on the dissertation, (which I started in Mellel before finding Scr. and which will be completed by the end of this month, btw) I'm in Scr. about 90+% of the time doing something! I'll stick something in DT or pop over to MJ to write some thoughts, then it's back to Scr. I have yet to find its limits as to how I can adapt it to my workflow!

I hope all of this helps. Thanks for asking, and thanks too for offering such a pleasant diversion to working on my dissertation revisions. I'm pretty darn sick of it by now! Hey, come to think of it, here's that Scrivener forum bug again!!!! See, Keith!! See!!!?? :)

Alexandria
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
-Chuck Close
http://alexandriapallas.com