Thursday, April 5, 2018

What I Love about Scrivener 3.0

by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

Are you familiar with Scrivener? If not, you can check out this quick video. Scrivener, according to their website, is a writing software “tailor-made for long writing projects.  Scrivener banishes page fright by allowing you to compose your text in any order, in sections as large or small as you like.”  It was first made available to Mac users, then to PC users, and for the past seven or eight years, has been trucking along with a few updates here and there, but no major changes.

Until November 2017, when Scrivener 3.0 was released for Mac users (3.0 for PC users is coming!). 

Unlike previous updates, Scrivener 3.0 is a major upGRADE—which means it isn’t a free automatic download. You have to purchase it to get the new features.

For writers on a budget (which is pretty much every writer I know) it’s important to think long and hard about your writing expenditures so I understand when writers ask me if they should upgrade. 

Here’s my answer.

Do it. 

Skip a few lattes and upgrade.  

Here’s why:

1. Change can be good. Hear me on this—I hate change. I’m the biggest “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” advocate you’ll find. But sometimes, it turns out that even when something isn’t broken, it can be made much, much better. 

2. It’s $25.Not $250. The people who make Scrivener, Literature and Latte, are not part of a huge corporation with greedy fingers trying to pluck your hard-earned cash from your wallet. L&L is a small business with a passion for helping writers succeed. I’ve had Scrivener for my PC since 2010 and for my Mac since 2014 and this is the first time I’ve had to pay for anything to keep it going. I can’t say that about the $100 I drop EVERY SINGLE YEAR to keep my Microsoft products up-to-date. I can’t say that about my iPhone 6 which I’ve had since 2015 and is going to have to last FOREVER because have you seen how much the new ones cost?

Technology is always changing and a $25 fee for a massive upgrade is a drop in the bucket compared to what we are conditioned to paying in other areas of our lives. 

And here’s the thing . . . this $25 is SO WORTH IT because . . . 

3. This upgrade is no joke.If you aren’t familiar with Scrivener, then the next few lines may sound like Greek to you. But if you already use Scrivener, then you’re in for …
  • an improved layout and appearance
  • an improved search function that I didn’t even realize I needed until they gave it to me
  • writing tools and linguistic focus that can show you every stinking adverb in your scene (and a whole bunch of other cool stuff)
  • a writing history tracker that will once and for all answer the question, “How long, really, did it take you to write that book?”
  • a true “style” function that now compares to styles in other word processing platforms
  • a crazy cool timeline feature on the corkboard
  • a vastly improved compile interface that once you get it set the way you want it you will never have to figure it out again. Y’all, the compile in 2.0 made me cry more than once so this is the biggest of big deals to me.
  • tons more subtle and not so subtle features that demonstrate that the folks at Literature and Latte have been listening to writers and are trying to give the people what they want.

All for $25. It’s a steal.

Now, will there be a learning curve? 


I’ve spent about ten hours watching videos (all free) online (links below) as I’ve wrapped my mind around the new features in Scrivener 3.0. I think of that time the same way professionals in other fields treat continuing education. 

It’s not time wasted. It’s time invested in my career. 

I’ve been using 3.0 since December of this year and I love it. If Scrivener is part of your writing process, don’t hesitate. 


By the way—if Scrivener isn’t part of your process and you want it to be, Scrivener can be downloaded for a completely free trial for 30 days of use so you can see what all the fuss is about. 

And if you’ll be at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conferencein May, I’ll be teaching a continuing class on Scrivener. The Mac class is full, but there’s still room for those of you with a PC. 

So, are you a Scrivener fan? Scared to try it? Can’t write without it? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!

Recommended viewing: 


Scrivener can be a valuable tool for writers - @LynnHBlackburn on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lynn H. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, Covert Justice, won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, Hidden Legacy, released in June 2017 and her new Dive Team Investigations series kicks off in March of 2018 with Beneath the Surface. The second book in the series, In Too Deep, releases in November of 2018. You can follow her real life happily ever after at and on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.


  1. I’ll definitely have to check into Scrivene. Thanks for the review.

  2. Hi Lynn! Thanks for the review. I currently use Scrivener but confess I don't know all of the features. There's so much to know! I do like using it though. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. There is SO much!!! :) That's true. But the basics that make it functional aren't too difficult to master. Then it just takes time. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I'm impressed by the new version, particularly the ease of compiling. It's definitely worth upgrading to (or buying for the first time).

    There are two things that bug me now, though. One is that they changed the inspector. I used to have project notes (which was my outline) at the bottom and individual scene notes (a beat, or a detailed explanation of that scene) at the top. Now I can't; I can only have one or the other. I'd like the old version back, but I can work with this. The second is that, as wonderful as the new compile interface is, I can't for the life of me get anything other than an empty line for scene breaks in the eBook formats. (I can for Word, but not for eBooks.) I've found a workaround for this, too, but I wish I knew the correct way to do it.

    1. I don't have any experience with the ebook compile so I'm afraid I'm not much help for you there other than to say that the longer it's out, the more free videos and tutorials are available on YouTube and various blog posts so check for them every so often. Maybe someone will answer your question. As for the notes - yeah - that one threw me for a loop as well. But they are still there - in the "bookmark" instead of the "notes" - you can toggle from "document" bookmarks to "project" bookmarks and when you do, the "notes" will be there! It's different from before, but I'm starting to get used to it. :) Hope that helps!

  4. Thanks for the great info, Lynn. I'm looking forward to seeing you and learning more about Scrivener in the Mac class at BR. :)

  5. I've heard quite a bit about Scrivener, but don't know if I'll ever change. It took me forever to get where I'm at with Word. I remember the days before computers and how wonderful computers were. You didn't have to use witeout, you could move words, sentences, even whole paragraphs around on the page...I digress. I'm open to the idea, but not rushing out to change right now. This is good information at any rate if I ever do decide to change. I have wanted to go to the Blue Ridge Mountain conference for years. At first it was a bad time of the year for us. The last HAWCN conference I attended made it overwhelmingly clear I'm not physically able to do conferences. However, like I tell my family and friends, life is what it is. Do what you can and don't fret about the rest.

    1. "Do what you can and don't fret about the rest" is some of the best advice ever! :) Thanks!

  6. The timeline feature intrigues me. Have you heard when this version will be available for PCs?

    1. They are still saying "in 2018" - but there's been no announcement of the date. (drums fingers expectantly!) :)