Scrivener for Windows First Impressions

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Scrivener for windows has been out for a week now.  I have had a good week to work with it and give some first impressions.

To sum up the first week in a nutshell, it is clearly an initial beta.  There are bugs, but it is going to be perfectly usable for NaNoWriMo..  The way I set things up actually avoided a few of the bugs people reported.  Since it is a NaNo project, I didn’t do a lot of importing.  Also, didn’t use the pre-made NaNoWriMo template, but started with a blank one.  The beauty of Scrivener is that it is very flexible, so I could set it up like I wanted to.

As far as the beta process is going, I have been quite impressed.  Lee the Windows developer has been extremely active, helpful, and just a downright friendly guy on the forums.  He has already released two updated versions of the program exe with bug fixes.  The only real downside has been the forums seem to get a little cluttered with reports and duplicate reports.  Though there is a vibrant active community forming around the windows version, so a few (myself included) are helping out as we can.  It has been great being part of that and I look forward continuing to do so.

A few tips if you are using the beta version of Scrivener for Windows:

1) Watch the bug hunt part of the forums.  Particularly watch for “Lee’s Daily Update.”  It hasn’t been quite daily, but dang close.  Lee has been doing a great job of letting everyone know what critical issues have been fixed or how progress is going.  Also, on those posts, so far twice he has released updates that fix a few of the initial issues.

2) Take a look at the settings and options.  Some easy tweaks can make Scrivener more customized and comfortable for you to use.

3) If you are going to report a bug on the forums, two things.  First, take a look around see if someone else has reported the same or similar issue.  Not just because it prevents duplicate threads, but someone may have posted a workaround or suggestion for how to deal with it.  Second, post the version of windows you are working with and the version of Scrivener you are using.  It will help us troubleshoot if possible.

4) Backup – backup – BACKUP.  It goes without saying, but frequently back up your work.  It is betas and quirks may crop up.  Plus it is just good practice even if nothing happens with the application itself.  Myself, I use the backup option in Scrivener and have it create a zip file in my dropbox folder.  That way its locally backed up and on the cloud as well.

Those things being said – I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  With NaNo off to a start, I anticipate a lot of users joining in on the testing.  I really think this will help stress test the program.  When it is released in Jan/Feb of 2011 – we will have a great and solid product.

Play around a little bit with your project setup.  Some folks like a highly structured approach with chapters and scenes.  I do that myself with some projects.  This year for NaNo I am going to make a more concept approach – which I think when finished will develop into logical chapters.

The best post I have seen on the forums actually came from Lee, the Windows developer.

LAP wrote: It’s not just the software – it’s all of us chasing our crazy writer dreams and having the guts to live out our passions, we just happen to congregate in a community around some great software.

Lee is helping us chase those dreams.  He deserves a big pat on the back, a good nights sleep, and encouragement to keep up the great work.

About Jakob Barnard

I live in Jamestown, ND where I work for UTC Aerospace Systems, working on my masters degree, a firefighter with the Jamestown Rural Fire Dept, and keep rather busy.
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2 Responses to Scrivener for Windows First Impressions

  1. Lee says:

    Jakob, thanks. I enjoyed reading this post.

  2. No problem Lee – the beta has so far exceeded my expectations.

    It is beta so still has quirks, but so far is exactly what I have been wanting to use in my creative writing process.

    Take care and once again – great work!