What had made me buy it in the first place was the cult-like devotion that Scrivener users seem to have for the program, and who doesn't need another cult to join? Seriously, though, there were two main reasons for finally trying it:
- I can put the chapters along the side, one folder per chapter, and break it down from there, so I can really see what sections I've got and what I still have to write.
- A corkboard with index cards on the screen! How cool is that? I can't figure out yet how to get the corkboard to look like the screenshot, but breaking the chapters down so that each main topic in one gets a section (and an index card) looks like a good plan.
A highly productive colleague who's writing a book right now has index cards of various colors on her walls as an organizational tool. I tried that, but there were problems: I spent more time rearranging the cards than Martha Stewart would give to a wall display of antique plates, and, once I was on my feet, it was too easy to wander away from the computer in search of distractions. "Apply seat of pants to seat of chair" is still good writing advice, even if I can read things standing up or even walking on the treadmill.
There are all sorts of other features I haven't figured out yet-- how to use the Research folder, for example. Although my desk has a "mind-map" quality to it, with things spatially arranged for what I'm using now--the air-traffic controller model--I've never been able to use official mind mapping or brainstorming or whatever they're calling it this year. On the screen, there has to be a linear order, and what I'm hoping Scrivener can give me is a way to visualize the order even for things that are out of sight.