To Scrivener or not to Scrivener

Ah, the blank page. That’s what’s facing me down right now as I prepare to start a new novel. I’m super excited about this book, which has been living inside my head for the past few weeks, percolating away. But at the moment, I have not committed a single word to the page and though I’ve been here many times before, I always forget how intimidating this writing process is.

I have my basic manuscript template, which has served me now through five published novels, but I’m thinking of mixing it up for this one. So now the big question is, to Scrivener or not to Scrivener. I know writers who swear by Scrivener and I know others who swear at Scrivener. And having viewed the tutorial and then trying to go it alone, I can see why.

The features and capabilities of Scrivener are many and impressive. The thought of having all my research right at my fingertips and the ability to move a chapter or scene with a single click is oh so tempting. But the corkboard continues to baffle me as well as some of the other sophisticated Inspector offerings. And then there’s my own personal process and my silly romantic notions of what organic writing is supposed to be. How does that fit in with something so calculating and systematic as some cold, impersonal software designed to make me writer faster, better, easier?

I’m not an outliner. I will start this book—as I have with my previous novels—having a vague sense of what the book is about. I will write myself into 20,000 word corners, I will create and destroy secondary characters, I will establish and abandon sub plots and secondary story lines. And when I turn in the final manuscript I will go back and look at the proposal I submitted to my editor and hardly recognize the original concept. That for me is the magic of writing and I fear that I might lose some of that fluidity by going the Scrivener route.

So here is the question I throw out to you—should I or shouldn’t I?