Scrivener and MyWritingNook reviews

Having completed the NaNoWriMo challenge last week, and had a bit of time to contemplate the accomplishment… Now I’m pondering the upcoming editing challenge. In a standard delaying tactic, I was reading through the NaNoWriMo blog (how did I miss that there was a cover competition? And how did I not get picked?!) and discovered an entry about a past participant whose NaNoWriMo novel has been published.

The interview was interesting enough, but she pointed me in the direction of Scrivener, which, until October had only been available on Macs. Since I’m a reluctant PC user, though, I didn’t get excited until I discovered there’s a public Beta version available for several flavors of Windoze–including mine.

One tool that had helped me cross the NaNoWriMo finish line was the MyWritingNook platform-independent app and website.  All it requires is a hook-up to your Google account. I loved that I could sync and save to the cloud, and even typed a few hundred words of my story into my iPhone (as little as I would recommend that experience, it is useful when sitting in interminable waiting rooms). My one concern was that I couldn’t get a handle on chapters and structure in just a text file.

Enter Scrivener. Now I’ve broken everything down into scenes that can easily be shifted, organized, and displayed either cork-board or outline style (according to your preference). Since it’s in public beta, it’s free for now, and the company will give any NaNoWriMo winners a half-off coupon reducing an already reasonable price to no-brainer status. The beta has been remarkably stable, too–at least on my desktop… My laptop won’t even let me start it up after two install tries. (According to the Scrivener bug-reporting forums, this issue has been “noted” so I’m hopeful that there will be a fix in the near future.)

In any case, for those who are willing to tolerate the uncertainty of beta software, this is already in remarkably good shape, and I foresee great things in this program’s future. MyWritingNook is already stable and should prove a great work-horse for those who are frequently underway, and always want a handy spot to jot notes that can easily be integrated into future writing projects.

Update: Version 1.4 of Scrivener was released 12/12, and I can already see that one of the bugs I reported has been mostly fixed. So the company just went up another notch in my estimation: They actually listen to their customers and try to address the issues reported to them.

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