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Scrivener vs yWriter - My decision

I'm going to end the suspense early: I selected Scrivener. (I'm also going to post this in the Forums at PiP's request).

So what made the difference for me?
yWriter pluses:
  • Very organized set of forms for things like Chapters, Scenes, Characters, Locations, Items ...
  • Good inter-relation between parent and child elements.
  • Can open multiple scenes at once for reference and editing.
yWriter minuses:
  • built in Editor is just too limited - deal breaker for me.
  • interaction with outside Editors is clunky.
  • cannot open child windows along with parent window (for example, if you have a scene open, and would like to open a character window just for reference, the character window is modal-- so you cannot type in the scene until you close the character window.
  • opening multiple windows is poorly implemented. They open in the same screen location (instead of offset), and the first one you open will be hidden behind the main program window when you touch it to open the second one--really bad interface oversight--ALL child windows opened from the main window should "stay on top", and should cascade.
  • I don't really like the structure of only "typing into scenes" in a scene window. I could possibly get used to it, but it's not a good match for decades of writing habits for me.

Scrivener pluses:
  • Scrivener does not have the same type of built in forms for project elements, but you can create them yourself, and you can find templates. Given this, I literally could find no permanent advantage to using yWriter over Scrivener.
  • Scrivener has a very acceptable editor.
  • I like the ease of creating a split screen to refer to one element while working on another element.
  • It is very easy to organize your project to keep your content and your notes in separate areas, so that you will eventually build your document only from your content set of folders and elements.
  • The corkboard feature is nice, although I will only use it for notes, not content. It's extremely rare for me to swap the order of scenes. I think I've done that twice six novels.
  • Lots of options for notes and references, including user-defined structures--which would let you duplicate the yWriter forms if that's your thing.
  • I really like the Typewriter Mode, where your current line of typing stays in the middle of the screen -- deal maker for me as long as I found no booby traps, and I didn't.
  • If you have your chapters all in a row under a main folder, clicking on the chapter document will show you the word count for that chapter. Clicking on the folder will give you the aggregate word count for all the chapters.
  • Really, there are a lot of other positive features, and certain subsets of the features will appeal to users individually.
Scrivener minuses:
  • Very complex software. You WILL need to take a day (or two) to work through the Tutorial, then probably struggle with a project for a while, then do the Tutorial again to lock it in.
  • Many icons are quite small, including some you'll use frequently, and not always most conveniently positioned, in my opinion.
  • There are ever present icons for some things I'll never use, and some things I'll use more often are buried in drop-down hierarchical menus--though there may be keystroke shortcuts I can learn for some or all of those features. (Splitting the editor is one example).
  • Doing global search and replace is not straightforward, and you'll NEVER find it without using the Tutorial. You have to select a folder full of documents, go into "Scrivening Mode", which places all the documents in one window, appended one after the next, and then you can do a global search and replace. This was almost a deal breaker until I finally got to the lesson about this mode.

I only got about halfway through the Scrivener Tutorial before I made the call, and purchased the software. Right now, the coupon code "REDDIT" will take 20% off the $49 price (so $39.20). It's really a trivial expense for the organizational tools included.


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