2012-06-21

Scrivener

I have recently heard some good things about a writing program called Scrivener.  I downloaded the '30 day' free trial to give it a try.  I spent two days reading the comprehensive user's manual and found it to be confusing and unclear.  Pressing on, I loaded up the program and discovered that my 30 days was up - it had been only 2 days!  I fired off an email to Scrivener and received a reply in less than 20 minutes.  They acknowledged the error and gave me a free activation key.  Essentially, they gave me a free copy of the program.  That's a point in their favor.

I had hoped to use Scrivener to solve my multiple format issue.  I have to generate a PDF to send off to Createspace for the printed version of the book.  This requires different formatting for odd/even pages as well as ensuring the page count starts on chapter 1.  I also have to generate a strictly formatted Word document for Smashwords along with a Smashwords specific cover page.  Finally, I must generate a Word document that can be fed into MobiPocket Creator to generate the input file for Kindle.  Scivener seemed like my best overall solution.

After downloading a revised version, I fired it up.  Within two minutes I found an error.  I reported it and got an immediate feedback that it was a known issue.  I also tried for about an hour to figure out how to get it to generate odd/even formatting as well as how to start page numbering on chapter 1 without result.  I found a page numbering work-around but one should not have to resort to work-arounds.  The formatting options for a compile are unclear, counter-intuitive, and buried beneath layers of program interface.

The program has promise but at the moment it is not a polished product.  I can do everything I need to do in Word.  I will keep checking to see if the development team makes any improvements but for now Word is my program of choice.

Now I am going to get back to work on Peacekeeper!