What would you find at Smith Street and Wesson Avenue?

For those that have got the hint, that is part of the British humour that you would find embedded into the various Scrivener videos. It is subtle and embedded. Now before you ask me three questions. 1. What Humour, 2. What's scrivener videos and 3. What am I on about? Let me, for the benefit of the ones that did not get it explain this.
Smith and Wesson are an US Gun Manufacturer found at ( httpp://www.smith-wesson.com/ ) and no we are not reviewing any firearms or offering any to one lucky reader.

Scrivener is however the magic bullet, if not the gun. In short it is everything that one would expect from a writing tool. Be it a Novelist, a Researcher, a screenplay writer, a comic book artist, a technical writer, in short, if you have to write, this is the tool. Now why would I say something like that, don't I know that if I need to write something, I start Word. Word is the writers tool. It even has a W in the front.

Well, I have been a word user since the days of Word 2.0 when it used to be distributed on Floppy disks. I have seen the changes in Word and Office, yes it has become better for writing, It introduced in Office 95 the concept of Binders which could incorporate various file types but then it just faded away as people did not know how to use them properly. There was the Outline view, the Normal View, and so on. Features that were added to Word but more often than not unused or forgotten.

Scrivener on the other hand is relatively a newer software, but still it has been around since 2006 and has gathered quite a fan following by delivering what is most important to the users. Scrinever started off as a tool to help Keith with his writings and it was a good thing that Keith could write and to be more precise, write code on a Mac OS X that today we have the product Scrivener.

Scrivener is like an iceberg, it is all ice but the whole iceberg cannot be seen and it is known that there is a lot more beneath the surface than the visible tip. Similarly, Scrivener is a tool that helps writers and many would mistakenly compare it with Word or similar products. Every day that I use scrivener I learn more and more about it, tips and tricks of getting things done faster and more efficiently.

It's a shame that Scrivener cannot be used to write software, but to think of it, with Agile methods, and user cases, Scrivener is the perfect tool to create user scenario cards and cases.

1. It has a 3 paned window which is common to many applications, It has the Binder, the Composer and the Inspector (Sounds like three characters out of a story) The Binder is where all scraps or short notes are kept. This is the place where the thoughts and words are put into a meaningful context and ordered appropriately. The composer is the window where the text is entered either in Synopsis mode or in full detail text mode. The Inspector is where all details about the scrap/writing are held, so Notes about the text, synopsis, dates, document references, etc can be stored here.

2. The composer can be split into a single view or a two pane view (organised Horizontally or vertically) Which can further be viewed in three different modes, the Corkboard view, the Outline View and the Document View. The screens when split can be used to compare two different portions of text or to view a reference to another text. The outline view can have additional fields which provide control on what can be seen on the screen.

It can manage Websites, Images, multi-media content under References. Which can be viewed quickly from Scrivener.

Scrivener is in simple terms a very powerful tool for writers of any type of a document. On start up it offers the choice of selecting pre-made templates, that include templates for BBC Radio or Taped Drama, Comic Scripts, Screenplay, stage plays, Thesis for undergraduate, research proposals, Novels, short stories, Poetry and Lyrics, or the all might Blank template that resolves a lot of confusion.

For someone that has *attempted* to write a couple of academic articles and papers, I know how difficult things can get. It is a nightmare organising the references, the images and text, keeping track of articles and excerpts from them. I had to literally give up on writing. I *tried* my hand at writing a story, I got a plot outline ready, but could not proceed as I could never organise the whole thing characters and plots together.

I know of someone that had a room full of Post-it notes and pages trying to organise his book over a period of about a year. All of that can be avoided with the wonderful Cork-board view where cards can be used to piece together the larger story while managing them in smaller manageable chunks.

In the corporate environment or being a developer using SVN, it is common to use versioning. Where the changes are track-able and the text can be reverted or committed. Scrivener calls this feature "Snapshots". Screenshots are useful and can help in reverting back to an older draft or save the current one for reverting back if any changes are unwarranted or mess up the text.

One thing that a lot of users could face little confusion the first few times around when thinking of Scrivener as a word processor. While Word and other apps work on a document basis and has a document per window, Scrivener collates all of the text together as a collection of documents and folders all together in a binder. The different modes even allow viewing the entire set of documents as one complete document.

After finishing writing, the entire document can be printed or compiled, compilation is into many standard formats like PDF, ePub, FinalDraft or Markdown formats apart from the host of Word Formats.

For those that are a bit like me, get distracted with things easily, specially if they are tweets and emails. The facility to hide the background and keep typing is a good feature. Much required as my twitter and emails keep distracting me every so often.

For those that love to work on their writing while on the move there are a couple of options, Scrivener syncs with DropBox, SimpleNote. Though there is no iOS version of Scrivener as yet, there is the functionality to sync the Index Cards with the standard Notes app. There could be an iPad version coming soon in the near future but then I would not hold my breath for that.

Lastly, for those that want to learn all the features of Scrivener, something that exists, but one would not have thought is the Interactive Tutorial under the Help Menu, This runs through the entire feature set of scrivener in a series of tutorials and exercises. This is available in addition to the huge library of How-to videos on scrivener. In addition to the software, the presence of all the extras for the user to get accustomed to the software shows that the software was not created by Engineers but users that understand the issues faced by other users.

There is no OneNote for Mac Office 2011, but in the windows version of Office 2010, there is Word and One Note, but both are separate applications and work as such too. after having worked with quite a few software, it is easy to recognize features that are seen in a particular software. So far, none come close to offering the features offered by Scrivener. Some special software that help in screenwriting or writing scripts are in the range of $250+. In comparison, Scrivener is a very fluid multi-functional application, which means it can be used in many scenarios not just a specific one. It is priced at $45 which is a steal by any standards. If the main task is writing then this is the best $45 investment one can make.

This is one of the few software titles that has won more awards than letters in its name.

Another point that I must make and this gets me worked up a bit. The Australian Dollar was above parity with the American Dollar. SO for a single Australian Dollar one could get more American Dollars. Still a lot of sites would charge an Australian Dollar tax of about 15% above the USD cost. Which was shameful. Scrivener's merchant that processes the transactions works on a dynamic rate, so $45 USD is offered at $48 as of today's rate (which sounds about right) Last week it would have been only $43. So special marks to Literature and Latte for not trying to rip off users in foreign currency transactions.

The folks at Literature and Latte started an organisation that created a writing tool which stemmed from a personal requirement. Writing they have done, not only fiction but a lot of code, some bonus for developers, there are some good code snippets and controls available on the website which are being used in Scrivener.

Software : Scrivener
Version : 2.0
Publisher : Literature and Latte
Website : http://www.literatureandlatte.com/index.php
Platform : Mac OS X or Windows
Demo : 30 days
Price : $45

And we have a copy of "Scrivener" for one lucky winner, all you need to do
1. Follow @whatsin4me
2. Retweet the message "Read reviewme.oz-apps.com, follow @whatsin4me and RT this msg. You might win a copy of #Scrivener from #Literature&Latte"


  1. Excellent review!
    Comprehensive overview of a valuable tool for writers. You have helped to outline the basics about Scrivener!

  2. I recently discovered scrivener as a wannabe writer - it's fantastic. Unfortunately the features of the MAC version are greater than the 'catching up' windows version I use (I love the look of the mac version's sync feature). Windows version is currently in beta testing release but it's still a great piece of software.
    I can't wait for the full release - but will then be anxious for the next release (with sync????).


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