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Is there any reason that an editor should know how to use Scrivener?

I generally see manuscripts after they're out of draft but before proofreading. (I'm an editor.) However, I see a lot of talk about Scrivener on this site, and I'd like to know more about what it can do.

I've read the developer's website. I suspect, given the love I see for the program, that this is an oversimplification, but it looks to me like a cross between an outliner, a note organizer, and a word processor.

However, what happens when you have to send the writing off to the editor? Do you compile the project into Word format? What happens when you get changes back? If you want to keep going in Scrivener at that point, can you do so?

I spend a lot of time on the notes I write authors, sometimes explaining why I made a change. (If they don't like my changes, then at least they know what the problem is.) Is there some way to Scrivener-proof my notations, or is that a non-issue?

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Excellent answers! I wish I could accept both. – Neil Fein Feb 15 '12 at 16:29
I downloaded the trial version of Scrivener and began toying with it in the fall of 2011. I initially used it for outlining, I loved the corkboard feature. I then decided to give it a try for NaNoWriMo 2011. It was the first year I finished. Attribute it to the intuitive interface, great tools or just having all your writing, characters and research in one program. I love writing in scenes and being able to drag and drop these as I need to rearrange my story is priceless. – user3397 Mar 12 '12 at 0:31
Actually, sending a Scrivener project back and forth isn't a big deal. Just compress/zip the whole thing and send it as a .zip file. Recipient decompresses/unzips and proceeds to work with it. – user8325 Mar 27 '14 at 20:47
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Scrivener does have a Comment or Sticky-Note function. You can also use a Highlight to mark big swathes of text, change the color of inserted copy, and Strike-Through to cross things out.

As John Smithers wisely points out, Scrivener isn't just for writing the draft. It also allows you to gather notes, keep audio and video with your story, create outlines, and cross-link your ideas (rather like a mind-map, as I understand it). So if you give your Scrivener file to an editor, you aren't just handing over the file with the story, you're handing over the entire file cabinet.

As a writer, however, I would never turn over my sole original file to an editor, and as an editor, I would never expect to receive such a file from a writer. It's partly because that's the original, and partly because the editor just doesn't need all the slush material. The editor's job is to polish the final product, not to fact-check the universe. So while an editor can work in Scrivener using commenting and markup tools which are similar to Word's, there isn't a compelling reason to do so. (Other than hating Microsoft, which I totally get.)

When I have handed off my work for editing, I have exported as Word (you could also print to PDF) and the editor has used Word's markup tools for comments and corrections. I then manually move those changes to my Scrivener document, because as the writer, I get the final say about what changes do and don't get made. It is a little tedious, I agree, and if the writer really felt strongly about it, you could make editing in Scrivener work. It's not a workflow I'd recommend, though.

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I've had writers who took my changes and moved them to a different Word file, one at a time. It's an error-prone workflow, and I agree that it's not recommended. But all this has helped clarify to me what Scrivener is and what it's not. The program does look pretty awesome, and if I download the application and go through the tutorial (which is not short), it'll be to satisfy my own curiosity, not to check out a potential tool. – Neil Fein Feb 15 '12 at 1:26
It's an awesome tool for writing, to be sure. Editing... not so much, no. – Lauren Ipsum Feb 15 '12 at 11:13
@Lauren, are you around? I'm misusing this for pinging you. If you could join chat. You could convince Jed of Scrivener ;) – John Smithers May 15 '12 at 17:40
@JohnSmithers: I'll drop in later on after work. :) – Lauren Ipsum May 15 '12 at 18:52

Before Lauren shows up, let me provide an answer from a non-evangelist ;)

... it looks to me like a cross between an outliner, a note organizer, and a word processor.

Yes, more or less. Scrivener is an all purpose writer tool. It tries to replace all other tools an author would need to write a book, or better: to finish the first draft.

All other drafts can be done with Scrivener also, but it is not a "communication tool". You can compile to the Word format and use Word for your notes, but then the writer has two tools (Word and Scrivener) where he has to sync his work.

Working with the Scrivener format is not an option here, because Scrivener does not use just one file what would be easily exchangeable. A Scrivener project has a bunch of files for the chapters, scenes, notes, etc.

So communicating efficiently with an editor is out of the scope of Scrivener. It was just not designed for that work. Maybe you should ask a question if someone knows a good tool for that. Ok, Lauren will suggest Scrivener :)

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"Working with the Scrivener format is not an option here, because Scrivener does not use just one file what would be easily exchangeable. A Scrivener project has a bunch of files for the chapters, scenes, notes, etc." Clearly this person isn't as familiar with Scrivener as she/he thinks. Yes, a project is made up of many files, but so what? (continued) – user11148 Nov 11 '14 at 14:15
They all get sent to the editor as a complete package as a .scriv folder that can be as easily worked with by an editor as any Word document. It has everything an editor needs or wants. I write in Scrivener, and the day is fast approaching that Scrivener replaces Word. Editors would be wise to get on board. – user11148 Nov 11 '14 at 14:15

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