My most useful writing tools are Scrivener and Pro-Writing Aid. Most writers have heard of Scrivener, a powerful word processing program that orders and organizes the screaming voices in your writer’s head, helping you to pump out your stories. There are too many features in this program to write about, though the number of features is what turns some writers away.
But having found the most productive way (for me) to use Scrivener, I won’t write in anything else.
Pro-Writing Aid is an online program that helps you with the grunt work of editing your stories. Want a swift and sure way to edit your punctuation? Find the repeat words in your stories? Keep track of overly long sentences? Tell you how many filler words you are using? Pro-Writing Aid does it and does it well. The yearly sixty bucks I spend for it is well worth the money.
The only problem with Pro-Writing Aid was that there was no interface between it and Scrivener. You shifted between your text and the analysis to make your edits. This was a long, slow and boring process.
You could convert your Scrivener file to a Word file, then upload that into Google Docs which after some initial fiddling you connect with your Pro-Writing Aid license where Google Docs allows you to use it.
The problem with the Google Docs interface was that it took long to move from edit to edit, with Google Docs doing some funky voodoo thing in the background to take the edits. Sometimes Google Docs saved the edits and sometimes it didn’t. Plus if you wanted to turn your Word Doc back into a Scrivener file to use its e-book producing component, well, that was a headache too. Yeah, that doesn’t work for me.
People started writing Scrivener requesting a Pro-Writing Aid add-in to it marvelous program. I even added my own plea in the Scrivener forums:
…the Scrivener-Pro-Writing Aid marriage is important to me, and I’m sure to other writers. You see, Scrivener helps you write the words by helping you organize your writing. (Thank you very much for this awesome program. My productivity has shot through the roof.) Pro-Writing Aid helps you as writing guru Chuck Wendig would say “make the words not suck.” I have tried all of the online editing programs and Pro-Writing Aid is my program of choice.
It seems each of you have one half of a terribly powerful tool for wordsmiths.
As a professional ghostwriter I do not have the time to export between the programs to get my work out. Time spent not writing is literally money taken out of my pocket.
Please, please, please do what it takes to get this done.
But the folks at Scrivener seemed, ah, reluctant to do this. Pro-Writing Aid however came up with its own version to work with Scrivener and is in the process of Beta testing it.
I am one of the Beta Testers, and I tell you folks, this is how writing is meant to happen.
Now caveats. Because it is a beta program, it’s interface isn’t fancy and you don’t get the comprehensive report that the online version of Pro-Writing Aid produces. You still need to export to the online program get one one the reports like this:
No. Like all shotgun weddings, the bride doesn’t always wear a pretty dress. In the Beta version you get an interface that looks like this.
It may not be pretty, but it works. You go through which section you want to look at, say grammar, and make your changes in this file. When you save and close it, your changes goes back into your Scrivener file with your formatting intact.
This program has sped my productively by double at least. While you can’t get around editing, at least you can produce a very clean second draft to hand to your editor.
And that’s a beautiful thing.
Thanks Pro-Writing Aid!
Photo published by a Creative Commons License as assigned by Flickr user Jansen Miller