I have been taking the last week or so to convert all of my novels to Scrivener. It’s been a learning experience.

First, let me explain something. I don’t have one file for each novel. If that were the case of things would have been so much easier.

No, the novel I was working on today had nine separate files. The nine files happened over the years as I switched from Lotus, to Word, to RTF, and between three or four different PC’s. Each file had different parts. Two of them had nearly the whole thing, but each was missing some part.

I finally figured out the fastest way to compile these into one file was to open nine subsections in Scrivener, and paste each file in a separate section. Then I compared and compiled the sections together until I had each unique section, and could separate everything into chapters.

It was time consuming, but worth it. I am sure that I missed some minor things, or basic edits that I will have to redo, but all in all the time spent doing this was worth it.

Next I will have to compile this into one file so that I have a back up. But a single backup is much easier to handle then nine.

Why Scrivener?

Over the last few years there have been a lot of people who suggest Scrivener as a writing platform, so I decided to use the free trial and see what all the hub-bub was about.

I actually didn’t get a computer until I was 21. Before that it was always pen and paper. My first computer came with an old program called Lotus Word Pro, and (of course) Word. For years I refused to leave Lotus because it had one feature no other program had.

With Lotus, you could click a little button at the top and it would show each section of your file as a little tab above the ruler. You could then group the tabs and/or move the whole tab/section around. Each section was denoted by a pagebreak.

It was awesome. It made flipping through sections, color coding and marking which were finished easy. Then I could have other sections that where just for notes, crits, maps, or random info. On the flip side, it was really difficult to convert any Lotus file over to Word, or vice versa. They just really didn’t like each other. (It is actually how I got into the habit of saving everything as RTF. Almost any program/computer is able to read RTF.)

Scrivener takes this basic premise and goes much farther. Its organized better. You can open two tabs at once and compare them. Easier to use. Intuitive. And then there is the COMPILE button. Scrivener will compile all of your sections into one file, any file you want. Doc? Mobi? Ebook? Sure… anything.

Best part? 30 (non-consecutive) day free trial (So go try it right now!). Tutorial Videos. And only $40 to keep it. Cheaper then anything else I know of, and far more useful.

After using it just for the 30 uses I realized just why so many people suggest it. So I use it.

Side note: There will soon be a “Scrivener for Dummies” book out soon. Here is an interview with the author.