A one-tool toolbox?

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Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:23 pm Post

I also use Scrivener for academic writing. For me, it would depend on what final corrections consist of precisely, and how long the manuscript is. If it's only polishing (phrasing, perhaps some additional details and references) I'd do it in word. As soon as any tampering with the structure is involved, I'd definitely want to get the manuscript back into scrivener, because Word is horrible for that sort of thing. Especially if we're talking about a book-length manuscript here.
I know this thread is somewhat old - but as a fellow academic, my perspective is that all that word is ok at is... track changes (although that can get unstable) and using a file format that my colleagues can read. I don't use Scrivener for everything, though; my 'bucket' for information is Evernote, I manage references in Bookends... etc.

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Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:05 pm Post

Excellent question and thread. Scrivener has gradually expanded to consume more and more of my writing world.
• Long form writing. At first, I used Scrivener primarily to write my nonfiction book and long form literary journalism, where its unparalleled ability to organize smaller chunks of info into bigger structures was most valuable.

• Short form journalism. When the iOS version came out, I found to my surprise that I wanted to use my iPad Pro for shorter journalistic stories I create each day, and as Scrivener is even more comfortable to use than my previous writing apps for that task, Pages or iAWriter, providing basic two-level outlining that’s useful in almost all my writing, I’ve recently moved that journalism into Scrivener as well.

• Note taking, I tend to use iAWriter (I suppose I could use Apple’s Notes and/or TextEdit, but since I already have iAWriter, which I used to use a lot more before iOS Scrivener, why not use it? ) and then import those notes into a Scrivener project.

• Research storage & organizing. I long resisted using Scrivener for organizing info tidbits that don’t belong to a specific project, first using DevonNote and then (when Spotlight improved) the Finder/Dropbox for that purpose, later importing the notes into the appropriate Scrivener project. But that’s changing too. Most of my daily short journalism work now relies on the same set of constantly arriving notes (press releases and research), used in different stories. Those might be text files, pdfs, rtf or .doc files. Even with iOS 11 and Files, I find it more comfortable to just import them all from Safari or Mail or Spark into the Research section of a single continuing Scrivener database that contains all the info I’m currently using in daily or weekly projects. That way I have all the info in one place, including previous stories that I might re-use in other publications. And its easier to organize on screen than using Finder/Files/Dropbox plus Pages or IAWriter. I just love writing in Scrivener!

For now, I’m still importing research into the Finder/Dropbox as well (where they show up as TextEdit files or PDFs) but I may soon eliminate that step and just start importing all incoming info destined for my daily short journalism directly into that continuing Scrivener database. (Note: to keep that project from swelling, I trash the Research files when I know I won’t need them again.) It somehow seems a little easier to get info from Mail and Safari into Dropbox.

It would be really helpful if I could clip info directly from emails (both the body and attachments) and the web directly into that Scrivener project on iOS — using the Share menu from the source app, not Scrivener. At the moment, I mostly have to use copy and paste or drag and drop. Maybe I should note that request in the wish list forum, although maybe that’s something that has to be handled by the developers of Safari, Mail and Spark?

I wish I could use Scrivener for all writing, but I still have to rely on other writing apps for some of my work.

• Web publishing. For posting on the journalism website I help direct, I paste directly from Scrivener into the WordPress editor and then add images, keywords, batch-transform rtf style characters <i> and <b> to WordPress’s <em> and <strong>, etc. I realize I could save a little time by writing in Scrivener and exporting into Markdown, and I’d appreciate any advice on that score, but really, the WordPress prep time is minimal in our usage.

• Editing/Collaboration: Pages and Google Docs are the easiest way to track changes and leave comments on stories I’m editing. When I write stories myself that require editing or sharing, they usually start in Scrivener and then are imported into Google Docs or exported as .doc or rtf files and emailed to editors directly from Scrivener. I barely use Pages these days, now that I don’t need to use footnotes as I did while writing my book. (I also have the free version of Word on my iPad Pro, but Pages seemed easier for handling .doc and rtf files.)

It still seems so silly to use so many applications (Pages, Google Docs, iAWriter, TextEdit ) for what are essentially the same functions, writing and editing, and I hope to pare even further eventually. But for now, the best tool for the job of writing about 90% of my work is Scrivener. Someday maybe it’ll be only Scrivener and Notes, or just Scrivener including a general Notes depository project. Hmm....

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Location: Hilo, Hawai'i

Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:41 pm Post

What, no love here for the great DEC text editors like EDT and KED? My first few published pieces were created with EDT. I believe my fingers still remember the keypad shortcuts.

Scrivener's my main tool, because it suits the way I work perfectly. Not long ago I wrote a 8500 word piece that had about a dozen named sections that didn't need to be in chronological order. Everyone here knows the joy of Scrivener rearrangement, so I won't go on and on about how easily I moved my sections around, trying different orders.

However, like most writers, at some point I have to send Word documents around for comments, and most of my writer friends use Track Changes to make those comments. When it's time to deal with suggested changes and/or comments, I shrink my Scrivener window to about half my 27" screen and put the Word document up so I can see them both and either correct by typing into Scrivener, or by copy/pasting from Word.

For me, it's all about what tool I'm comfortable (and adept) with, and which one seems appropriate to the task at hand. When I was writing that 8500 word piece in Scrivener, I didn't do much careful formatting (it had texts and interview transcripts, for example, that needed to look distinctive). I don't make much use of Scrivener's formatting tools because I never felt the need to, beyond basic stuff. I do the final formatting in Word (not that there's usually very much to do).

When I was preparing that piece for submission I exported it from Scrivener and then faced the task of doing more formatting in Word than I was used to. So, because I design books on the side, I imported the Word document into InDesign and did all my final formatting there, and exported a PDF and submitted that.

My point is that for me at least, I select a tool because I'm comfortable in it and am adept at certain operations in that tool (and not in others). A Word expert would have had no trouble doing my final formatting, but I'm not a Word expert. I judged it not worth the hassle of learning to do some things I wasn't sure how to do. I'm an InDesign guy, so I did it there.

And how did I get my final back into Scrivener, so as to synch all my versions? Copy/paste from InDesign.

For me, Scrivener is my single creative tool and I couldn't do without it. But I'm content with doing the other writing-business tasks using other tools.