I recently bought a new laptop, mostly to use for my writing. Up until now, I had been writing on my iPad with a bluetooth keyboard and using the Ulysses writing app. When Ulysses went to a subscription model, I decided to switch to Scrivener for iPad – in early May, I finished drafting my most recent novel in Ulysses and will start a non-fiction project in Scrivener as soon as I feel knowledgeable enough about the software and app. I bought and installed the Windows version of Scrivener so I could draft on the iPad and then edit on the laptop.

Anyway, that’s how I got to the point of reading Scrivener For Dummies (SFD). Reading the Scrivener user’s guide made my head swim with all of the unfamiliar terminology, and I’d had positive experiences with other For Dummies books, so I decided to stop reading the manual until after I’d finished SFD.

One of the things that attracted me to Scrivener was that users can perform a wide variety of writing functions without leaving the program. Notecards, outlines, and character profiles are only a few of the things writers can do within the Scrivener umbrella. However, all of that functionality brings a lot of complication along with it. But, hey, I’d taught myself Microsoft Access 25 years ago just by reading the user’s guide, so surely I could do this same thing now, right?

Wrong. Although SFD is well written and very helpful, when I finished I still felt like I didn’t have a good enough handle on all of the programs capabilities to be able to take advantage of everything Scrivener has to offer. I do feel familiar enough with things to pick the user’s manual back up again, and I’ll keep SFD around for use as a reference book if I get stuck somewhere along the line.

I gave Scrivener For Dummies four stars on Goodreads. I think maybe it needs to be dumbed down a little more, and maybe split into two books

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