Scrivener 3

Fall in love with writ­ing all over again

Mac|Life - - CONTENTS -

$45 (up­grade $25) From Lit­er­a­ture & Latte, lit­er­a­ture­and­ 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

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