Word vs. Scrivener (Fight of the Ages!)

I know I’ve been hitting the freelancing post for a while, so I wanted to let you all know that I haven’t forgotten about narratives. Just as an update, I just sent out two short stories. One to Writers of the Future and one to Cast of Wonders. For those who are interested, both are pro markets, though Cast of Wonders is currently in a temporary open submission window. If you have something that fits with their guidelines (fantasy or sci-fi) don’t miss the opportunity to send them something. I’ve talked about Writers of the Future in the post in which I announced my Honorable Mention, so if you want to read more about them check out, “Finally Some Good News.


The focus of this post is not about any of my stories, but the tools that I use to write them. Up until this point, I have been an avid user of the Microsoft Office suite. I would use Word’s document map to create an outline and would use it create a Bible document and each draft.

Two Big Problems with Microsoft Word:

  1. Inconvenient Interface: Trying to juggle a hundred different windows gets a bit annoying, especially if you forget to minimize a screen. After searching for some random fact, I’ll try to find my draft but when I hit the Word icon all of my open documents appear, and my target is always buried somewhere at the bottom.
  2. The Trouble with the Revision Process: I have found that I will often cut, and rearrange scenes and chapters during the revision process. While it is possible to create individual Word files, this is tedious and pretty confusing (you have to realize that I’m not the sharpest light in the garden).

Initial Benefits of Scrivener

I have heard good things about Scrivener, but have held off until this point because I didn’t want to learn a whole new system. I finally decided to take the leap, and after a day I am loving the software. Scrivener is a bit intensive, so the learning curve is steep. Thankfully, they offer a pretty easy tutorial that takes about thirty minutes to complete. I highly suggest completing it otherwise, I probably wouldn’t like the program as much as I do.


Above is a screenshot of one of my current outlines. The system allows you to create outlines, character sketches, setting info, and pretty much everything in the exact same spot as your drafts. It completely fixes Microsoft Word’s interface problems. Also, you can drag and drop elements, which creates the ideal solution to rearranging massive elements.

For those who want to self-publish, Scrivener will autoformat your work for both paperback and ebook, though I haven’t used this feature yet, so I can’t say if it works well or not. If you have $40.00 and have been frustrated with Word, I highly recommend checking out Scrivener. They offer a free 30-day trial in case you want to try it out first. Finally, here is a video from Literature & Latte (The company who made Scrivener) to get you started.

I hope you enjoyed the post. I will let you know if anything changes, right now I’m trying to see if there is any good way to import all of my Word files, but I haven’t had much luck yet.

—Don’t Forget to Scroll to Hit the Follow button


7 thoughts on “Word vs. Scrivener (Fight of the Ages!)

  1. I’m currently moving from Word to Scrivener to edit a book. Hoping it will be better.

    One trick I used in Word, however, to make sure I could keep drafts straight was to change the colour of the background of documents to differentiate them. For instance, my master document that I kept for reference and never got changed I gave a pale green background. That way I always knew which version I was in. It helps.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s easy. Once in your document, choose Design, then Page Color, then pick a light pastel choice (from the colors across the top of the chart). 🙂

        Best to colour code documents you don’t intend to print, or remove the colour before printing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is an awesome idea. If I can’t figure out how to effectively switch my word docs over, I am definitely going to use this trick on all the work I still do in there.


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