So today Scrivener is running a 50% off promotion for their writing software. I've been using Scrivener for the past two years and it has been a complete life saver for my writing.
One of the main reasons I love it is because Scrivener provides a great workflow to follow that matches the way I process my writing. It's set up into folders that you can add a great amount of detail to - whether you want each folder to be it's own chapter, scene, or whatever. I use each folder as a chapter. The benefit of this is that as you are writing, if you decide you want to reorder the flow of your book, you just drag the folder to where you want it in the outline. This makes it incredibly easy to add, move, or takeaway chapters. There is no menial cut and pasting happening as the program handles all of that for you in a visually appealing way. The organization is incredible.
It's also very easy to edit. Before Scrivener I would write in Microsoft Word or Pages, and although I liked the track changes feature, many times I'd find myself with several different chapter documents that had many different versions in it. Sometimes I would have four or five documents of the same chapter with only slight edits on them up on the screen at the same time, and I'd find myself wasting valuable writing time referencing what I changed. Scrivener has a track changes option, but also allows you to take snap shots any time you want. It keeps these snapshots and it's very easy to reference them. That coupled with the folder system keeps all my files in a central location so making edits is organized and simple. It's great.
Another reason I absolutely love it is for the compiling process. Scrivener excels in this area in two ways; universal formatting and publishing final products.
The nice thing about formatting is that Scrivener either allows you to format as you go, or do it universally during the compile process. The benefit to having these options is that if you enjoy formatting and want to see it formatted a specific way while you write, you can. But if you think you've missed formatting somewhere along a 500 page novel--which is highly likely--Scrivener will universally format at the very end. It's wonderfully simple!
In addition, once a work is complete you'll need to turn it into a .mobi, .epub, pdf, etc. in order to have it ready for the different publishing options. This is a very manual and painful process if you only have a word document. With Scrivener, they do it all for you! In addition, their compiling process is so effective that if you are publishing via Smashwords, Scrivener's .epub will pass the meat grinder test and you'll be published on the Premium Catalog. No need to go through the Microsoft Word formatting guide...which is awful.
As a result, if you've been looking for a wonderful professional writing app, go get this while it's on sale. It's well worth it for the full price, so it's a complete steal right now. Even if you aren't looking to write the next great novel, Scrivener would be very helpful for any and every kind of writing, from journaling to research papers, to a place to jot down thoughts.