Scrivener - A Book Review and A Contest! | The Armchair Genealogist
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Scrivener - A Book Review and A Contest!


 I’m not the kind of gal who takes to reading a manual, there's just too many great books in the world for something so dry. And honestly, if I needed a manual to learn the basics then I will surely pass on the program, that much I’ve learned about myself. I like to learn hands on and quickly.  This is why I started using Scrivener as my primary writing software program.

After having used Scrivener for about a year and not really venturing much further then the basics, I decided it was time to expand my knowledge. I purchased a couple of books to take my learning to the next level. Now, Scrivener comes with a 500 page manual, and while to some degree it might seem perfectly reasonable to use it then to purchase another book, it was is in my opinion not as wonderfully user friendly, like the program it was detailing. I’m ok with that because I found Scrivener For Dummies.

Now let’s make something perfectly clear, anyone can use Scrivener and if you never looked at a manual you would be perfectly good to go. However, after passing by many of the features of Scrivener for over a year, I decided to take some time to go beyond the basics and get to know Scrivener better.

Scrivener for Dummies is written by Gwen Hernandez, and published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd. She began using the program in 2009 and writing about it on her blog, The Edited Life. Before she knew it she was writing a book to help her fellow writers. I purchased the book this past summer and immediately it became my desk reference for Scrivener.

This is how I used Gwen’s book. I never sat down and read the book from cover to cover (Sorry Gwen). I got acquainted with the table of contents. Scrivener for Dummies is divided into 7 parts and 23 chapters making it very easy to zoom in on any given topic straight away. It also has a very complete index. I flipped through the book a couple times and got acquainted with the design and style of the book. I then flagged some chapters with particular elements of Scrivener that I knew interested me the most and  I thought would definitely appeal to a family history writer. With Scrivener and Scrivener for Dummies open in front of me, I began learning one or two new things and started putting them into practice. In 10 minutes, I could find, read and utilize a feature of the Scrivener program.

I can’t tell you how many times I remarked to myself “Cool, that’s how you use that!”

There are so many hidden treasures in Scrivener and Scrivener for Dummies is a wonderful companion to help you uncover them with little effort and in the most efficient manner possible. The design of the book with it's bite-size manageable pieces of information make it the perfect reference manual.

Scrivener for Dummies has given me a more in-depth  knowledge of the program that in turn allowed me to create the Scrivener for the Family History Writer Video series. The more I learned about Scrivener the more I knew it was a perfect fit for family historians. Gwen agrees with me and tells me genealogists make up a considerable portion of her Scrivener classes that she now offers online.

The Scrivener program is so affordable that I recommend spending a few extra dollars and picking up Scrivener For Dummies as your desk reference. On the other hand, you could win a free copy.

I’m giving all of my readers an opportunity to win a copy of Scrivener for Dummies. As an added bonus, Gwen is throwing in registration to her Scrivener online classes.

The winner of the book will receive a signed copy of Scrivener for Dummies from Gwen and a registration to Gwen’s next 4 week session of Scrivener classes set to begin in 2013.

How to do you enter? Simple. In comments below, tell me how you are using Scrivener or plan to use Scrivener in your family history journey. What kinds of projects do you plan to use it for, a book, short stories, ProGen, articles, blog to book or anything else family history related or not. If you're shy, you can drop me an email with the same info at
Gwen will be checking into comments today so if you have any questions for her fire away!

I will enter all names into a hat and pull a winner on November 30th, at 7pm EST. The winner will be announced on the blog the following day. This contest is open to all Canadian and US residents. 
That’s it. Easy peasy.

Now explore Gwen’s website, take a look at the book here or check out the Scrivener for Family History Writer Video Series. Really, what are you waiting for, with so many resources for Scrivener available to you, there’s no need to hesitate, it's time to make Scrivener your newest family history writing tool.

(The above post contains affiliate links.)