Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WriteWay vs Scrivener

I've been playing with some new toys recently, ones that are supposed to help me with my writing. A lot of authors on the RWA loops have been talking about two in specific: Scrivener, which just came out for Windows, and WriteWay, which was, apparently, always for Windows.

The first one I tried was Scrivener. My friend, PJ Schnyder, is working with it and loves it. She says it's really helped her keep track of her notes, her research, and keeps everything she needs in one place. I was intrigued.

Then I opened the program, and apparently I'm stupid, because I could not figure it out after two hours.

It starts by having you open a tutorial on how to work with it. Unfortunately, I found the tutorial to be utterly confusing after an hour of working with it. Scrivener was originally written for the Mac, and maybe that was my problem. I'm far more familiar and comfortable with programs written with the Microsoft Suite in mind. While the look of Scrivener, with its Corkboard, was really nice, I found the binders to be confusing. Worse, the program ate eight pages of The Hob, turning it into the tutorial's document! The good news is, the original Word document still exists, so I didn't lose my work from a few years ago, but still. I wasn't thrilled with Scrivener.

So I decided that while I liked the concept, Scrivener was not for me. What else was out there? That's when I saw WriteWay.

It was easy to work with immediately. I needed to hit the Help button once in the five hours I worked with it over the weekend (and I rarely write on weekends). I've got Angel in My Arms loaded, chapters and scenes set, research links added, all within two days. It's got a Synopsis page for when I'm ready, opens my Excel spreadsheet that I use for series work (as a separate doc), and has spots below where I'm writing for chapter and scene plot points and notes. When I'm ready to write, I click on the chapter scene I'm ready to write/edit and get straight to work. No confusion, no muss, and no eating of my document! It even keeps track of my word count in an obvious, top-of-page place. No hunting for it, no confusion. In short, it's perfect for me. Bonus? WriteWay is working on a version for Mac users.

The third program I heard of but didn't try was WriteMonkey, but the website was done in simple text, with no pics of the program. It is, however, free, which might explain the no-frills website. Some authors swear by it, but I'm happy with my purchase of WriteWay, so I won't be checking it out.

P.S.: If anyone has used Scrivener (or WriteMonkey) and loves it, please comment! While I didn't like the program for me, it looked really neat to work with. Maybe Mac users would find it more intuitive?


Nikki C. said...

I use Storyist, but it's a Mac program. I love it and it's so easy to use. I also tried Scrivener, since I kept reading about how much some authors loved it, but I'm with you. I am a Mac person, I've also used PC's, but I couldn't figure it out. I would write something, save it and then click to a different screen, but when I tried to find the stuff i had just saved, it was nowhere to be found. I think that I will stick with Storyist.

Anonymous said...

I have heard of an author whose husband designed a program for her - cannot remember who that was though and I also think that the program is for sale as well - think it was for Mac.

I like the try before you buy kind of program so that you can really see what it does and what you are getting. Were any of the programs you used try before you buy?

I am soooo glad that Scrivener didn't eat up your work on The Hob - I cannot wait for this book!!!

I have always wondered what authors used - in my work I still do a lot of writing by hand to get my ideas down. When I do my reviews I type in word documents and then revise - love copy, cut and paste!!

I just finished Maggie's Grove book one - glad to see that book two is in the works!!! Can't wait for more Dragos!!

Love your work!


Dana Marie Bell said...

Both of them had a trial period, and WriteWay was the program written by the husband of a romance author. :D

jeff pearson said...

Hi Dana, 3 years after your last post I find this on the web whilst searching for Writeway vs Scrivener. I too have bought Scrivener but find it too much of a learning curve. I'm going to try WWP - but I write fiction and nonfiction - will this work for both?

Dana Marie Bell said...

I think it will work just fine. :D

Samantha Ann King said...

Thanks for this. Just decided to make the leap from Word to WriteWay Pro or Scrivener. I'm going with WriteWay Pro. I don't need the time suck of an extensive learning curve.

Jason John Tyler said...

I use WriteItNow5 it is Scrivener without all the bloat that a creative writer will never use. WriteItNow5 has everything WriteWayPro has and more great stuff specifically aimed to suit the needs of a writer of fiction novels. For me WriteItNow works. I used Scrivener for two years and then thankfully I found WIN5. I have never looked back...

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