Writing with Scrivener 2

This November, Literature and Latte has a special offer for NaNoWriMos: a preview of Scrivener 2 that will run until December 7, as well as discounts! 2.0 has also been officially released yesterday–you can buy it straight off or try the 2.0 demo. I’ve played around a bit with 1.0 before, but have never got around to really using it until now: I’ve opened the previous Scrivener version only a couple of times, which meant I had a lot of leftover demo time (Scrivener counts the number of days you actually use the application for the demo, not the number of days installed in the system.)

I was suitably impressed with the earlier Scrivener, so I was looking forward to use Scrivener 2–the list of new features sounds pretty nifty, not the least of which is syncing to Dropbox (which I mentioned briefly yesterday).

Scrivener Binder

My NaNoWriMo Scrivener binder

I’ve only started using Scrivener with my NaNo novel, but I’m liking it quite well so far. Before I sleep, I repeat to myself what the scene I would be writing tomorrow would be, and when I wake in the morning, I bring up my machine and start writing in full-screen mode while I’m still half asleep. How far I get to has usually depended on what kind of scene/writing I was doing, but I get to at least 500 words this way. I go through the text quickly when I’m more awake to week out sleep-drunk misspellings (I might not remember what words were if I waited!), but otherwise leave the text intact.

I sync to my Dropbox folder, and leave for the rest of my day. Throughout the day, when I have spare moments, I write a little more: either via the iPhone app Plain Text, or using TextMate. When I get home and ready to write again (usually after dinner and whatever chores I need to do), I sync quickly and make sure the new files are at their correct locations before I start writing again.

The application is suitably unobtrusive when needed, and very customizable in terms of what font I’d like to see when I’m writing. The full-screen mode is wonderful–I’ve used apps with similar capabilities before (WriteRoom, for example) and I’ve always loved it, being someone relatively easy to distract.

To be honest, though, I was quite surprised at yesterday’s release, given that while using it for one whole night adding research materials, Scrivener 2.0 hung on me thrice. Three times in one night while doing something elementary–adding an item to the binder–does not feel to me as something entirely polished. Granted, there are always bug fixes and upgrades to correct things–but honestly, if I wasn’t quite determined to like Scrivener by now, I would just as likely have quit the application and deleted it off my system altogether. I would not like it to happen when I am actually writing.

(There is autosave, of course, but thankfully I have been trained in the Art of Always Saving Lest Something Bad Happens. Sometimes to my own detriment.)

I have mentioned this issue to the @ScrivenerApp people, and have been invited to email them about this, which I did as promptly as I could. I sent the email (a thorough report for bug-squashing purposes) two nights ago, and have yet to hear back from them. It’s not a show-stopper, but certainly a damper to my otherwise wonderful experience with the application.

If you’re doing NaNo, or just doing a lot of writing, give Scrivener a try. A beta for the Windows version is currently ongoing as well, so it won’t be long before this wonderful application gets shipped over to the sad people stuck on Windows ;)