Fall in love with writing all over again
$45 (upgrade $25) From Literature & Latte, literatureandlatte.com Features Custom metadata, Dialogue Focus Needs macOS 10.12 or later
Scrivener is an app for writers who need to write big things — dissertations, or training courses, or Game Of Thrones fan fiction, or the Great American Novel. It’s not just a manuscript editor, although it’s a very good one. It’s not just a publishing tool, although it’s very good at that too. And it’s not just a place to store all your research, although it’s damn good at that as well. It’s a writing companion that’s with you from the first spark of an idea to the final edit, a Swiss Army Knife for every writing-related activity except heavy drinking and poor life choices.
We’d used Scrivener 2 to publish a novel, so decided to give Scrivener 3 something even more meaty: 107,422 words of nonfiction across 50 chapters, hundreds of footnotes and gigabytes of background, and a brand new project that meant collating tons of research and testing different structures. Lots to love The revamped, simplified interface is superb, and superbly customizable for those allimportant procrastination sessions. There are endless stats and targets and custom metadata you can mess around with when you’re supposed to be working, too, so for example you can see how much you write each day or create checkboxes to indicate whether you’ve sent a piece to the publisher.
The templates are really great, and they too are customizable. The Compile dialog for exporting and publishing, previously rather awful, is streamlined, sensible, and speedy. The improved Kindle support and ePub 3 compatibility are great for self-publishers.
The new Bookmarks feature makes it easy to access frequently-used documents, and a “Dialogue Focus” mode can highlight all the direct speech in a block of text. The app can also do Markdown, loves Dropbox, and syncs with iOS (a separate, equally great app). Like to organize ideas using a virtual corkboard or prefer an outliner? Both are available.
Managing annoying things such as footnotes and citations is effortless, as is removing unnecessary spaces and tabs, and other important but usually tedious tasks. There’s also great Touch Bar support if you’re that rare breed, a writer who can afford a new MacBook Pro.
Scrivener 3 is also incredibly quick and stores your text as text, meaning you’re not stuck with a proprietary format.
We wouldn’t use Scrivener for quickand‑dirty writing gigs, such as blog posts or opinion pieces — our go-to remains Ulysses for that — but for anything more ambitious, especially involving managing characters or background research, all kinds of documents, and the kind of 3 a.m. ideas that have you reaching for a notepad in the small hours, Scrivener is an absolute joy. Writers: If you buy this app, your life will be better.
The bottom line. Scrivener 3 is that rare thing, a sequel that’s even better than its predecessor. It’s great. Carrie Marshall