Sunday, January 28, 2007

Scrivener first week, 1.01 and Xbox 360 distractions

Well, the first week of Scrivener going on a 1.0 release has gone way better than I could have hoped. Thank you to everybody who has purchased a copy or just taken the time to give me feedback so far. Notable events of the past couple of weeks include:

- Michael Marshall Smith wrote his new novella in Scrivener!
- The BBC show Spooks just started shooting in London, some of the treatments of which were drafted in Scrivener.
- I bought myself an Xbox 360 to celebrate the launch; my eyes are now sore and dry after too much Gears of War.
- I met up with a writer who works for the Financial Times at an exclusive media club in Covent Garden - and managed to spill water all over his PowerBook. (The Universe proving I do not belong in exclusive clubs in Covent Garden.) Paul - if you are reading: sorry. How's the PowerBook?
- A senior Apple guru got in touch to ask about Scrivener.
- MacFormat asked if they could put Scrivener and Scrivener Gold on one of their DVDs (so look out for it in a future edition).
- I completely failed to start The Novel.

All in all, a good start.

Anyway... I have also been dealing with a gazillion e-mails. Many of these are students asking for discounts (there isn't one! Scrivener is cheap already! Though I sometimes give them a coupon anyway if they're really polite, although that will probably stop now that eSellerate are taking a bigger cut). Many more are support e-mails. Lots are really, really nice "thank you" and "great app" e-mails: an especially big thank you to all the authors of those, as they always make my day. I've also had a considerable number of "Will there be a Windows version?" mails, which makes me feel good to have produced something Windows users want. To those Windows users: Sorry, but no. Not because I have anything against PCs, but just because it is so difficult to port software between platforms and I haven't got a whole team. PageFour and Rough Draft are great PC programs, though. Oh, and I did - just this very moment - have one e-mail telling me that Scrivener was useless because it didn't act like a word processor and show page layout and invisible character, which just goes to show that you can't please all of the people all of the time.

And in amongst all of that, I have been hard at work on 1.01, honestly. Here's a screenshot:

Thanks again for all the support for Scrivener. And an especially big thank you to Merlin Mann for bigging it up on 43Folders.


Blogger Clark Nova said...

Don't know if you know about this plug as well:

10:14 pm  
Blogger sergey samokhov said...

I'm still a Windows user (Scrivener got me thinkin though), and I'd like to share my choice of apps for writing. Just in case.
I've tried the two apps you suggested, btw. Rough Draft looks and feels like a bunch of semi-related, badly-interfaced utilities. Page Four is more solid, but its outlining and text-formatting are nothing much. The only feature that stands out is the 'Smart-edit' which scans the part of text and comes out with the list of most often repeated words and phrases. I'm not sure it's a godsend, though. It cannot catch bad alliterations or bad rhythm or whatnot, so human proofreading is still a must.
Now, to my choices. For data collection I use EverNote. It is tag-based and got pretty innovative concept, compared with traditional tree outlining. But, it's a very powerful and flexible app, and it lets you read a lot of short notes without having to click every branch of the tree (Far as I know, OmniOutliner for Mac does it too, none the less gracefully).
For writing per se I use a text processor called Atlantis. It has a rich set of features for text-formatting (including styles wich can be customized, say, for easy screenplay formatting), it has a full-screen mode, and it comes with typewriter sounds. Does Scrivener have typewriter sounds? To me, it's even more important than a corkboard texture :)
Better yet, it supports document reordering in a headers pane. You can promote headers, demote headers, move them around - all this together with a text they caption.
On the dark side, Atlantis doesn't support versioning. And it's still two apps instead of one.

9:14 am  
Blogger IanT said...

Hi there,
I came across Scrivener via Neil Gaiman's blog. Looks really, really nice, but sadly I, too, am bound to the PC (for work reasons).

However, I am an experienced developer (and head up a development team). I have no idea what you've used to write Scrivener, but if you're seriously interested in a port to Windows, I'd be interested in chatting about the possibilities for collaboration. Bizarrely, Scrivener isn't too far removed from an application that's been on my company's 'write this app' list for a couple of years now - it'd be a shame to have to reinvent the wheel.

Drop me a line on ian (at) eirias (dot) net if you're interested. (I don't use Blogger regularly, so might not spot comment responses).

1:21 pm  
Blogger Nadreck said...

Looking solid, and I hope to write it up over at AppleGeeks once I've had a bit more time to play with it.

Not sure if you've looked at other merchant systems than eSellerate, but maybe it's worth looking at Kagi instead? I'm a big supporter of independent developers, so any method I can find to help you keep a bigger cut for yourself...

10:57 pm  
Blogger Nadreck said...

Scrivener review up on AppleGeeks on Monday.

I must say, I'm quite impressed with your app, and look forward to using it well into the future!

2:30 am  
Blogger Jalpuna! said...

I'm just starting to dabble with Scrivener, and so far, I really love it. Here's a question: Is there an easy way to export to a blog?

When I copy/paste from Scrivener to Movable Type, I get what looks like one big paragraph.

5:12 pm  
Blogger sergey samokhov said...

Speaking of Windows apps, if you're really looking for something akin to Scrivener, StoryView looks like one. They got index cards, they got outlining, they got filtering, they even got a timeline. I know, you might even like using some of theirs features for Scrivener :)

7:06 pm  
Blogger Ethan said...

Just found out about Scrivener and the website is down!

Did the author disappear? Are you still around? I am considering purchasing a license, but if the website is gone, I don't want to put $40 into the store that is hosted elsewhere and never get the license key.

I'll check back in a few days...

8:37 am  
Blogger kayembi said...

Curious - the web page should not be down. I just checked and everything is fine. Did you hit the right link? -

I can assure you that I have not disappeared. Well, I have just returned from a week in lovely Norway, but I didn't entirely disappear...

4:32 pm  
Blogger Hippalus said...

Great app! Last week I migrated all data related to my thesis into scrivener. It took me half a day, but I've won the same in productivity already!
One request: better integration with Mellel. It would save me lots of work if I could define (Mellel-)styles and outline in Scrivener before importing into Mellel.

11:53 pm  
Blogger kayembi said...

Thanks! Unfortunately I would have to reverse-engineer the Mellel file format to add outline export to Mellel and so forth, which would be a lot of work - and then they could modify the file format which would mean I would have to play catch up. And RTF doesn't really have styles, which means that part would be even harder...
Thanks again,

8:25 am  
Blogger sergey samokhov said...

RTF does have some kind of styles. At least, styles in .rtf files made byAtlantis are easily read by Word 2003 for Windows - and Atlantis is not that popular to induce some special compatibility effort from MS. And, yes, the custom-made styles are readable too.
The style definition looks like this:
{\s14{\*\keycode \ctrl W}\snext15\f227\fs24\b\scaps\expnd2\expndtw14\fi0\li0\ri0\qc\keepn\widctlpar\sb200{\*\stloverrides\b\scaps\expnd2\expndtw14\qc\keepn\widctlpar\sb200} ;sezWho;}

And the paragraph itself looks like this:
\pard\qc\keepn\nowidctlpar\widctlpar\sb200\s14\f227\b\scaps\expnd2\expndtw14 Mr. Hamlet\

("sezWho" is the style name, "Mr. Hamlet" is the paragraph text)

I don't know what Mellel can read though.

1:17 pm  
Blogger Nita said...

Must admit I now have MAC envy. I'd love to be able to use Scrivener on my PC. I use a free program called yWriter and have pretty good luck with that.

10:10 pm  
Blogger Taylor said...

sigh . . .

I have no choice but to use a PC. A fellow grad student recommended this to me, but failed to tell me it was Mac only.

While Scrivener looks more useful than most of the junk out there that I've spent hours looking through, I'm still hoping that someone will make a writing program specifically for serious humanities/history writers and researchers. We need to keep track of tons of notes, with serious bibliographic notation AND search and organization features . . .

Not everyone is trying to write novels or screenplays!!!

12:02 am  
Blogger Brian T. said...

I just came across Scrivener and it looks like a great app, I think I might go that route. Thanks for the info.


3:21 am  
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12:54 pm  
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9:42 am  

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