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Evernote + Scrivener to write a book?

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I would appreciate tapping the wisdom of this group in reacting to the patchwork solution I am zeroing in on to write my book. Will my proposed solution work smoothly? am I missing anything?

Here is what I am seeing as a solution:

* Capture research information in multiple notes using Evernote. Evernote has ability to capture text, graphics, pdf, etc. There will be hundreds of notes that will be the research to support my book.

* Export individual Evernote notes to .html files. Evernote has the ability to export multiple individual notes as indivual html files. Evernote provides the capability of selecting specific notes for export.

* Import these .html files to Scrivener for Windows. In playing around with Scrivener so far, I tried importing 3 .html files simultaneously as a test. This was a test, so I am assuming Scrivener would not hiccup in being able import hundreds of html notes originating from Evernote.

* Use Scrivener to 1) filter and organize the notes, 2) as needed use the research to create an outline and write text for the book. fyi, Scrivener for Windows has been in beta for about a year, but is scheduled for a v 1.0 release on October 31.

Can you help me spot any problems before I spend many hours learning the software and reading the 200 page user manual for Scrivener?

* Will this solution work? am I missing anything?

* can you spot any problems that I am not anticipating

* Can you suggest other options?

Much appreciated,

Vince Kuraitis

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  • Level 5*

Hi - I'd be a bit worried about your proposal which I read as exporting some hundreds of HTML files into Scrivenor to sort them into an outline structure. I imagine you would start with a humungously long document with a seemingly endless list of content - not totally unmanageable, but really bad for the motivation and morale!

(Also: I don't use Scriv, but editing HTML files in Evernote is a bit hit and miss, depending on the source formatting. You might want to check how easy it is to edit the files you imported as a test..)

I suggested somewhere else in the Forum that Evernote could be used to at least start an outline, by using one note as a "master" for a page, chapter or book; and copying into it links from other notes that are part of that element, with some summary of the content of that note. The links and comments can be cut and pasted around until you're reasonably happy with the order, and the individual note content can be copied or cribbed across to selectively and gradually pad out the master document.

At some stage you obviously move to something else for more specialised formatting; but during the R&D process it's diamond.

It's a technique that works for me (haven't written a book with it yet though) - but as with naming / tagging and notebooks, the only rule in Evernote is really "whatever works for you.."

Good luck with the book!

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  • Level 5*

I am a researcher at a university. I am working on my dissertation right now and I rely primarily on three applications.

1. Evernote for gathering information

2. Elements (iOS app) for writing

3. Scrivener for organizing

Evernote is an Elephant (see the logo). It does a great job of gathering information (content accumulation). I can "remember" anything I come across, from sources on the Internet to sources in PDF format. I use it every day and I am a very satisfied premium member. Evernote is not a Monkey (you know the old saying about an infinite number of monkeys banging on a keyboard could produce Shakespeare's work), though. It has only a rudimentary ability to create and arrange materials in any sort of order. And, it isn't very sociable. It takes but doesn't give back, so it has no ability to connect with Scrivener.

Why does this matter? During the writing process you need to move parts around a lot, and while possible (the linking suggestion above), it is cumbersome to do this in Evernote. I have done something similar with personal wikis. As a project grows larger and larger, though, it becomes quite unwieldy. The real problem comes when you try to move back and forth between Scrivener and Evernote. Ugh. What a nightmare.

Elements is just a text editor. It is not terribly fancy. However, it is very well-built and syncs with Dropbox. What this means is that I can set up Scrivener to sync with those files so that any changes I make in Scrivener will automatically be reflected in Elements and vice-versa. As a result, I can do all of my writing with just an iPad and an external keyboard. When I get home I tinker with the organization using Scrivener (a great program). There is very little work involved and I can concentrate on what I want to do: writing.

The seamless syncing is crucial. Basically, I cannot imagine regularly moving hundreds or even thousands of files back and forth manually from Scrivener to Evernote. I would suggest you don't force Evernote to go beyond its design: a great place to store stuff.

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gazumped, Thanks for your perspectives. I can understand your concern of potential overwhelmedness. That said, Scrivener seems to be built to allow for highly iterative, back and forth workflow -- from researching, to outlining, to writing. I will share problems if I run into any. Also agree that w/ Evernote whatever works for you must be a guide -- we are paving new pathways in moving from hierarchical to non-linear organization and workflow.

GrumpyMonkey, you raise interesting, useful perspectives that I had never thought about. First, my mental model of workflow has been simply to use Evernote for gathering and storing research info, then selectively to import to Scrivener with no further need for syncing. Had not thought about value of getting edited info back into Evernote via Dropbox. Will have to mull over this. Agree, Scrivener seems to have strong abilities to outline and manipulate information... Thus, for my purpose of writing a book, help me understand what are possible advantages of syncing info BACK to Evernote?

Also, I am not clear on the value add you see in using a text editor outside of Scrivener (except for final clean up)?? Scrivener documentation acknowledges likely need to import a final draft into a text editor for fine tuning, but I get impression that you do not do ANY text editing in Scrivener? Yes? Why not? Scrivener seems to be a tool that does have a lot of text editing and manipulating capabilities -- at least enough to get to first draft.

Many thanks for feedback!

fyi, I also put this question up on the OutlinerSoftware forum and have received additional useful feedback here: http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/ ... ite-a-book

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  • 2 years later...

I know it's a bit late on this string, but I was wondering this myself.


So far my work around is the same thing I do for Evernote if I need to preserve the integrity of the site I am clipping. Print>Save as> Save as PDF. Much of my research is government and scientific documents and what tends to happen is something is posted (in this case at the FDA or EPA) then the companies complain and it is either pulled or altered. This happens routinely. By saving as a PDF I can store it in Evernote and/or in Scrivener.


What i am looking for is the ability to create a Sync folder with Evernote within Scrivener. 


Surely some techy writer has come up with a plug in or method of doing this?

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  • 1 month later...

Just in case this is helpful, this is the best work around I figured out for the issue so far. (Still working on it, but maybe it will help others).



Syncing Evernote with Scrivener is important to me. Yes, I find Evernote difficult to organize on the iOS app, but it is easier in the desktop app (for me OSX). Still not perfect, but there you have it. I use Evernote to store just about anything I come across with my phone. I usually come across things while on my phone that I would not come across on my desktop and use it most of the time. Today I played around with storing a local Evernote notebook in a synced archive (go figure - I am not a coder, so there you have it) and that pretty well failed. But I did use export>HTML and created a folder on my desktop. That folder is a Scrivener Sync folder. Quicker than copying and pasting multiple notes. Not great and doesn't let me use Scrivener on the fly, but gets my research and notes into the place I need them to be. So far, once in Scrivener, I have to organize the info and it seems media files prefer (for some reason) to stay in the Research folder. Not sure why that is, but I packed it in for the night.
Just thought I would share in case it would benefit anyone else.
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  • 3 weeks later...
But I did use export>HTML and created a folder on my desktop. That folder is a Scrivener Sync folder. Quicker than copying and pasting multiple notes. Not great and doesn't let me use Scrivener on the fly, but gets my research and notes into the place I need them to be. So far, once in Scrivener, I have to organize the info and it seems media files prefer (for some reason) to stay in the Research folder. Not sure why that is, but I packed it in for the night.



I've tried the same thing, but I can't quite get it to work. When I export an Evernote note as html it does it in a folder, but Scrivener will only import a file that's on the top level of the sync folder. So, to get it to work I would then have to go into the folder and move the actual .html files out of the folder Evernote created and into the top level of the Scrivener folder. This seems like it's more complicated than it needs to be. How did you set it up to work?


Also, I wonder if the files are stuck in your research folder because of the type of file they are - Scrivener has some limits about what file types can go in which folders.

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