mathew mitchell

Finding Older Posts

You can find old posts by using categories and archives. Each post is filed away according to one (or more) categories. To see all the past and present posts in a category just click on the relevant descriptor below.

You can be kept up to date automatically by using the RSS feed (at bottom of this sidebar).

Scrivener Blog

Posts about the amazing Scrivener 2 writing environment.

Five Essentials Tutorial

On November 1 Scrivener 2 for the Mac was released. Currently Scrivener for Windows is under development and will likely be released in January or February of 2011.

Several faculty in the School of Education are getting Scrivener and I've created a tutorial mainly for them, but anyone is welcome to download and use this tutorial. The tutorial covers, at least for me, the five essential features you want to know about Scrivener. In essence this tutorial presents why someone would use Scrivener rather than being a how to tutorial.

Perhaps the most important concept to understand is that Scrivener creates a writing environment rather than being simply "writing software." The distinction is important and I think becomes clear once you've viewed the tutorial.

Here are the five big areas covered:
  • Chunking
  • Organizational Flexibility
  • Integrated Research
  • Compiling (Exporting)
  • Meta-Data
Realistically there are several other important features about Scrivener—and what I list as the big five may not be the same for everyone. However, this 22 minute tutorial does provide a decent overview for academics wanting to get started with Scrivener. The download is about 135 Mb, and the movie will play fine on your iPad (sync via iTunes) as well as your computer.

Writers on Scrivener

Not sure if Scrivener is a useful writing tool? Then check out the Scrivener webpage that contains only testimonials from published authors. It's a long, impressive, and passionate set of praise.

When reading these short pithy testimonials keep in mind that the writers are referring to first version of Scrivener. The second version of Scrivener is a major upgrade and insanely more impressive.

Scrivener and Meta-Data

One of the very powerful and enhanced features in Scrivener 2.0 is how it handles meta-data. There are actually two categories of "meta-data" in Scrivener: ordinary meta-data (such as keywords, labels, and much more) plus custom meta-data. The link below provides a very short introduction to custom meta-data in the Scrivener writing environment:

Three Reviews of Scrivener

I'm posting links to three reviews of Scrivener. Two of these reviews are specifically aimed at people doing non-fiction or research writing. The first link looks at Scrivener for academic writing.

This second post is a review of Scrivener published in the Chronicle of Higher Education. It was written in March 2010 so it does not address the new features included in the 2.0 release.

The third post is simply titled, "Scrivener might Change Your Life." Check it out:

Scrivener 2 Preview

Scrivener, the wonderful writing software program, had the very big 2.0 release yesterday. To be fair, it wasn't a final release but a pre-release so those participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) have a version to use now through December 7th.

The final version, with a full set of project templates, will be released on November 1st.

Just as exciting as this pre-release of version 2, is that there is now a early beta version available for Windows users!

I've only played around with version 2 for about an hour, but the improvements are really fantastic. This was already first class software, but the new enhancements make this an amazing writing environment for storytellers or researchers or teachers. Check it out:

Scrivener 2 Coming Soon

Keith Blount (developer of Scrivener) has just posted some more news—specifically about the new features in version 2. This is a must read post, though parts may not make a lot of sense if you haven't already started using Scrivener version 1.

If you are a faculty member in the SOE you should download a trial version of Scrivener 1. It lasts for 30 days of usage (real usage, if you use 3 days a week then it will last 30 weeks).

In this post Keith officially announces that Scrivener 2 will be released in late October, and that all copies of Scrivener bought on August 1 or later will be able to upgrade for free to version 2.

Check out the full post here:

Scrivener Updates

The wonderful (and inexpensive) writing software Scrivener will soon be moving into version 2. This will be a paid upgrade and the best estimate is that it will be released sometime in October. In addition there seems to be an imminent announcement about Scrivener for Windows (currently it's a Mac-only product). So, perhaps sometime in 2011 this product will be cross-platform.

Recently the developer (Keith) wrote a long-ish essay on what Scrivener 2.0 won't do. Check it out here:

Finally, I ran across a review of Scrivener at ProfHacker written in March 2010. It's a very thorough review and covers a lot of details relevant to those who work in academia:

Scrivener and Writing

Scrivener is a Mac-only software product that is fantastic for constructing more complicated writing products such as novels, dissertations, research articles and more. The product was created by Keith Blount who lives in the Cornwall region of England. Scrivener is both inexpensive ($40) and powerful. Currently it is at version 1.5.4 with a major upgrade (2.0) due around June/July/August. The 2.0 version will be a paid $20 upgrade.

If you are a School of Education faculty member (who uses a Mac), you already know the good news: you'll be able to get a free version of Scrivener sometime over the next few months. If you're simply a Mac-user, the still-good-news is it only costs $40 to get your own copy. If you're a Windows-user, we feel your pain, but a program that is somewhat similar (and is recommended by Keith Blount) is PageFour.

I love the Scrivener software program, but instead of me writing a review I wanted to provide links to others who have already written thoughtful and complete reviews of this product.

First, check out Julia Altermann's review at AppStorm and published on March 12, 2010. This is a very thorough introduction to Scrivener:

An older, but still useful and funny, review was written by Merlin Mann in 2007:

There are plenty of other reviews out there in addition to the two I posted. If you're a Mac-user and do intensive or more complicated writing, then do yourself a favor and check out the Literature & Latte website (Keith's name for the company that makes Scrivener):
See Older Posts...