If you’re anything like me, I’ve downloaded and tried almost every available writing software program available in hopes of finding something that suits my specific writing needs. Being a faithful Microsoft Word user my entire life, I never realized how competitive the writing software industry was. I mean, there’s even software that claim to write the story for you. What’s that all about?

While visiting one of my screenwriting forums, I stumbled upon several people mentioning how good Scrivener was. I decided to search it, and found it was perfect for what I needed. Scrivener is an organizational writing tool, for Windows and Macs, focusing on non-linear writing, developed by the folks at Literature and Latte’. It is geared for any kind of writing, from screenplays, short stories, novels, or school projects.

What attracted me to Scrivener was that it doesn’t impose a specific structure. You maintain the ability to customize it any way you choose.

All files are easily subdivided into sub-folders for partitioning off Parts, Acts, Chapters, and Scenes, for working on each individually. After completing, you can compile them into one document for easy viewing.

Another great feature I like to use is the split screen and snapshot feature, horizontal or vertical, which allows for revisions or taking notes from my research folder in the binder.

Scrivener was designed by writers, for writers. Although there are many templates to choose from (or you can design and save your own), Scrivener won’t ask you about birth dates, personality quirks, color of hair, height, favorite food, or what side of the bed is slept on. You’re the writer, so outline and write. Oh yea, it does have an outlining feature as well.

If you need to access an on line dictionary or thesaurus, you can easily access it directly from Scrivener. One of the best features I like, is never having to leave Scrivener to search for files or research. It’s all there in one program with the touch of a finger.

If you choose, you can complete the location and character descriptions, as well as download photos of them. Like most programs, there is a learning curve. It took me about two hours to learn everything I needed, but it’s actually ready to go the minute you install it. To be honest, I only use it for what I need, but the capabilities are endless.

Other features include target word counts, and the capability to keep you on track daily, according to the days you write and total word count estimation. When I come across an idea I need for better organization, I simply type it in the help box, and sure enough, there it is.

The spell check feature is nice. You can set it so it suggests misspelled words for you, and even correct them as you type.

Scrivener provides various templates to choose from, but all can be customized in the fashion you prefer; imposing no unwanted structures. The binder and other screens are collapsible for undistracted writing. There’s even a research file to help create character profiles, location profiles, and the ability to upload photos.

If you’re a self motivated writer just looking for a program that suits your specific needs, then I urge you to download the demo which as a more than generous time period. The price for the Windows program is $40, and the Mac program sells for $45. Both prices are extremely low for what you get, and compared to other programs.

As far as support goes, they lead the pack. Depending on which part of the world you’re in, the response time is much quicker than other programs. You can also search the internet for tips and tricks from other users to get ideas how others use Scrivener.

Good luck and happy writing!

P.S. I do not work for Literature and Latte’, nor am I being paid to write this. I’m just trying to help out fellow writers.