Scrivener vs MS Word Posts

Soap DishI came upon two posts today discussing Scrivener. This is a word processing program that is aimed at writers. Some writers have embraced the program while others find the learning curve too steep to bother with.

If you’re me, you simply prefer one over the other. I didn’t want to spend more time learning a program to replace a program I already knew well and gain very little benefit. So opted to stick with Word. Scrivener appeared too disjointed for the way I see the world.

Also, the many things people praise Scrivener for are things I’ve already learned to do in MS Word. Except it was easier to figure out in Word.

The first post today comes from The Book Designer: Scrivener, Is it Really Worth the Bother?

This is actually a post leading up to a post for a later date to explain how the author solved his issues with Scrivener. You see, the author didn’t exactly embrace Scrivener either. The reason: too steep of a learning curve. I could write a book for the amount of time it would take me to learn Scrivener.

The second post appearing in my in box today comes from Beyond Paper Editing: How to Make Word Behave Like Scrivener. The author of this post explains how she organises sections of her manuscript by dragging around the headings. This is exactly what I’m doing as I write my first non-fiction book. The process is easy to understand and easy to execute.

Has anyone else discovered this wonderful feature in Word? Do you use it? Do you fully understand the explanation at Beyond Paper Editing? If not, let me know and I’ll create a post to help you understand.

13 thoughts on “Scrivener vs MS Word Posts

  1. Though there are lots of things I have never liked about Word, being originally a Commodore Amiga user (kind of like a Mac), I’ve always thought that anything other than a standard word processor to be a little bit of an unnecessary extravagance.

    The most important aspect of any written work is the actual content and writing. Who cares about the format until you are ready to publish? Just concentrate on writing instead of learning new software. That’s my philosophy anyway!


  2. I purchased Scrivener during NaNoWriMo at a discount, fortunately. I currently don’t use it. I’m more comfortable writing on Pages (mac), then, formatting it manually when needed. Scrivener seems like a useful tool for the lengthier projects, but learning how it functions proved daunting in itself.
    Enjoyed the post!


  3. I’ve used Scrivener for writing plays (a very basic knowledge was fine for that), but went back to Word for books. Although never a great fan of Word (I use Macs) the most recent version for Mac is a vast improvement and in fact I’ll even say I quite like it. Though I do have to restrain my hands when it insists on respelling any Scottish words I use — almost came a real cropper when it changed a word in a chapter heading. I can do without programmes having a mind of their own. Getting my own mind tamed is bad enough without have to tame a load of machine code.


  4. Fabulous article Diane! I just noticed your comment on the BookDesigner’s post. I had commented just before you. I’m with you. Scrivener confuses the heck out of me. I even read the book “Scrivener for Dummies” and couldn’t get my head around it and also found it was sucking too much of my concentration. It is interesting to see how many here are happy with ‘Word”, as I am. I will admit that when I began writing books, even Word became something to master and I am still learning some of its capabilities. I am going to check out ‘Beyond Paper’ article and I may have questions for you. Thanks for great info!

    PS. I decided to visit your page because WP hasn’t been showing me anything in my reader here from your site and I also do not even get notifications of your posts even though I signed up for them. I also subscribed to your newsletter a few months ago and never received anything?


  5. I love scrivener, but couldn’t get used to it on my PC when I changed to Mac, it was like everything fell into place. Wouldn’t be without it now, and all my work for TSK is in one file. Not one hundred files all totally organised, but still chaotic!


  6. I also prefer Word, and I only write fiction. It’s possible that Scrivener would be a better choice for non-fiction, I really don’t know. I’m looking forward to your next post because I do find Word has a lot of really useful features, and even though it’s what I’ve used for years, I still don’t know all of them. Just the ones I regularly use.


  7. I, too, try to utilize Word in writing my novels. I figured out the outline feature, but I’m not aware of the heading dragging. What is this feature called? Thanks for the informative post Diane!


    • I’m not sure what the feature is called. I sort of stumbled upon it by accident several months ago. I was reading a tutorial for something, and my mind raced ahead and I thought, ‘can I do this?’ I tried it and I could.

      Next week I’ll write a more specific post about dragging these headers. It’s certainly handy when organising information in a non-fiction book. I never have to rearrange chapters in a novel. I write everything in order.

      Thanks for visiting, Jet.


  8. I’m one of those writers who tried Scrivener (Even took a one-month course in it). Maybe because I’ve been writing in Word for so long (and I’ve been a freelance writer for 11 years), Scrivener just seemed to have too many “shiny parts” to distract me. I thought I might use it to store research, but I even gave up on that!

    Here are the short links to my blogs on Descrambling Scrivener, Part I and Part II:


    • Thanks for providing the links, Judy. If a program works for writers, then I say give a try. I’m just not one of those writers. Like you, I’ve used MS Word a long time. I know my way around it. It doesn’t baffle me. I’ve been writing freelance since 1998, and I’ve managed to keep everything organised. I’ve also published several books and short stories using Word. It’s what works for me.

      I think if I picked Scrivener apart, I could probably find that MS Word does everything it does. You can use a split screen for writing while viewing an outline or research, and you can even split the document you’re working on to see two different sections if you need to. I using a filing system for research, so everything is a click away. But when I write, I like just the bare screen.

      The ‘shiny parts’ of Scrivener get in my way. They’re unnecessary since I can retain a lot of details in my head with regard to a story, even a lengthy 160,000-word fantasy novel.

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.


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