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ios Making Evernote into the killer novel-writing app - Feature request

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There are two features that would turn Evernote into a novel-writing app far superior to anything else out there and they are really simple features:

 

1. Individual notebook sorting - the ability to have one notebook sorted by date, one alphabetically a-z, one alphabetically z-a, and every other permutation. 

 

2. Manual sorting - the ability to drag notes around to change their order, and have their new order remembered. 

 

With these two features, Evernote could go a long way towards replacing Scrivener and the other novel-writing apps out there. Writers could drag their scenes in Evernote around until they're in order, format their words and include images (something no other novel-writing app that works between tablets and computers can do), and move seamlessly between their iPad, their iPhone and their computer without having to worry about Dropbox or any of the other poor solutions currently offered to novel writers. It would be absolutely incredible. You could work on your novel on the bus on your iPhone, then come home, refresh Evernote on your computer, and start writing from where you left off.

 

Add daily word count target monitoring in the notebook, visible word count on each note, the ability to select and edit multiple notes at once (so scenes in separate notes could be viewed and edited at once and their merged word count viewed), and the ability to export a notebook in a format that can be shown to publishers and no other publishing software would stand a chance.

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There are two features that would turn Evernote into a novel-writing app far superior to anything else out there and they are really simple features:

 

1. Individual notebook sorting - the ability to have one notebook sorted by date, one alphabetically a-z, one alphabetically z-a, and every other permutation. 

 

2. Manual sorting - the ability to drag notes around to change their order, and have their new order remembered. 

 

With these two features, Evernote could go a long way towards replacing Scrivener [...]

 

+1

In favorites/shortcuts you have now the possibilty to sort manually - a good start. But for longer articles I always use Scrivener ...

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You're assuming that Evernote wants to break into the struggling impoverished author market and take on Scrivener,  who have been producing a popular paid-for product for a long time..  

 

I do agree that better editing features would be good,  and Evernote have taken some steps toward these.  Maybe more will follow..

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EN does not want to be a killer app for novel writing.

While you could certainly set it up to do that, EN is about collecting, retrieving and organizing information. Writing apps (like Scrivener) are desigend differently with writing in mind.

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You're assuming that Evernote wants to break into the struggling impoverished author market and take on Scrivener,  who have been producing a popular paid-for product for a long time..  

 

I do agree that better editing features would be good,  and Evernote have taken some steps toward these.  Maybe more will follow..

 

'Impoverished' is such a cliche.

 

Scrivener have produced their product for a long time, but they still haven't made a version that syncs - text, formatting, images and all - seamlessly between devices. They say they've been working on it but they've had developer problems and they have no release date for an iOS version.

 

Evernote already has the ability to sync between devices, and notes have formatting and images. All Evernote needs is the ability to sort the notes in notebooks manually and have individual notebook sorting and it would far surpass any novel-writing software out there.

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EN does not want to be a killer app for novel writing.

While you could certainly set it up to do that, EN is about collecting, retrieving and organizing information. Writing apps (like Scrivener) are desigend differently with writing in mind.

 

I really hope you don't work for Evernote. 

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There are two features that would turn Evernote into a novel-writing app far superior to anything else out there and they are really simple features:

 

1. Individual notebook sorting - the ability to have one notebook sorted by date, one alphabetically a-z, one alphabetically z-a, and every other permutation. 

 

2. Manual sorting - the ability to drag notes around to change their order, and have their new order remembered. 

 

With these two features, Evernote could go a long way towards replacing Scrivener [...]

 

+1

In favorites/shortcuts you have now the possibilty to sort manually - a good start. But for longer articles I always use Scrivener ...

 

 

 

True. But shortcuts isn't really set up to handle tens or hundreds of notes. 

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EN does not want to be a killer app for novel writing.

While you could certainly set it up to do that, EN is about collecting, retrieving and organizing information. Writing apps (like Scrivener) are desigend differently with writing in mind.

 

I really hope you don't work for Evernote. 

 

 

Also, Scrivener is also about collecting, retrieving and organising information. It can capture webpages, audio files, PDFs, anything Evernote can. It's just that unlike Evernote it cannot distribute them between devices.

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All Evernote needs is the ability to sort the notes in notebooks manually and have individual notebook sorting and it would far surpass any novel-writing software out there.

I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen any time soon, if ever. As Gaz & Wern pointed out, this is not what EN's focus is.

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All Evernote needs is the ability to sort the notes in notebooks manually and have individual notebook sorting and it would far surpass any novel-writing software out there.

I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen any time soon, if ever. As Gaz & Wern pointed out, this is not what EN's focus is.

 

 

It's disappointing that the focus is so narrow and blinkered. The moment a software comes along that can store information like Scrivener and Evernote but also syncs to devices, I'm off. I wouldn't be the only one either.

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It's disappointing that the focus is so narrow and blinkered. The moment a software comes along that can store information like Scrivener and Evernote but also syncs to devices, I'm off. I wouldn't be the only one either.

Just because it doesn't do what *you* want it to do hardly means their focus is "narrow & blinkered". And I'm sure the folks at EN fully agree that if you find a product that works better for you that you should use it. No app is ever going to be every thing to every one.

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I think Scrivener is far more complicated and capable than the comments here suggest. You can easily sync to mobile using a number of text apps, so the lack of progress with the rumored iOS version isn't a big deal, in my opinion. And I think Evernote would need a lot more work before it surpassed Scrivener as a writing tool. For example, what are you going to do about global text formatting, printing, outlining, etc.?

That said, manual sorting would be a great help, not just for novel writing (if you choose to use Evernote that way) but also for other tasks like sharing notebooks, project development, etc. I've been asking for it for a while now, but as mentioned before, i doubt it is likely to come anytime soon. They could introduce it tomorrow! I have no inside knowledge. But since I started using Evernote, we actually have fewer sort options on iOS, so the trend is definitely not favoring this kind of request.

I wouldn't call it narrow and blinkered thinking not to have it. I would say that Evernote seems to be targeting its efforts so that it reaches and helps as many people as possible, and I am guessing some feature requests don't have the potential for mass appeal that a Business account or highlighter does. Honestly, as much as I would like manual sorting, I would rather see Evernote remain a viable and financially sound business first. There aren't enough novel writers out there to support it as a novel writing app! I often disagree with developer choices. In the end, though, they are the experts and they have the most to gain/lose by decisions, so I doubt they are blind and blinkered. We just disagree. That's all.

As for workarounds, making a table of contents out of note links and manipulating those works really well. I'd definitely suggest giving it a try,

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=488

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You're assuming that Evernote wants to break into the struggling impoverished author market and take on Scrivener,  who have been producing a popular paid-for product for a long time..  

 

I do agree that better editing features would be good,  and Evernote have taken some steps toward these.  Maybe more will follow..

 

'Impoverished' is such a cliche.

 

<snipped>

 

That's one reason why I used the word..   :)

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Personally I am trying to figure out how to use a Sync Folder in Scrivener 2 that would link to an Evernote notebook. It should not be that hard to add that and then all my research can be in one place - that which I do in Scrivener and that which I do in Evernote or on the go. Of course, that would have to be on the Scrivener side, not the Evernote side.

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Personally I am trying to figure out how to use a Sync Folder in Scrivener 2 that would link to an Evernote notebook. It should not be that hard to add that and then all my research can be in one place - that which I do in Scrivener and that which I do in Evernote or on the go. Of course, that would have to be on the Scrivener side, not the Evernote side.

 

If you manage, please let me know how!

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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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Just want to add some perspective (and my vote) for this idea. I think the title of the post was a bit strong ("killer novel-writing app") and caused some over-reactions. I don't expect (or want) Evernote to ever equal or surpass the features of Scrivener. But the things the original poster mentioned would be good steps toward making Evernote more "author friendly". I'm also frustrated by the lack of a mobile Scrivener version. The Windows version does not have an automatic syncing mechanism and manual export just produces a bunch of RTF files in Dropbox that are hard to work with on an iPhone or iPad and have to be reimported into Scrivener.

 

I don't expect to finish a novel using Evernote, but there are plenty of times I want to chip away at a chapter while I'm at the beach or a friend's house and don't have my laptop with me. Sometimes I do that now, writing some snippets in Evernote that I then later have to manually copy and paste into Scrivener on the laptop. If I think ahead, I export a PDF from Scrivener to Dropbox so I can at least see what I've already written. But what a pain switching back and forth between that and Evernote. 

 

Nothing beats the convenience of being able to pull up Evernote on my smartphone or tablet and just write. I hate to miss those inspired moments when I'm not near the desktop or laptop. That's my use case. Let me have a notebook that represents my novel and the notes within being the chapters sorted the way I want regardless of how I have my other notebooks sorted. I don't need fancy formatting, but can I at least get paragraph spacing so I don't have to remove the extra line breaks when I eventually copy the whole thing in Scrivener? 

 

Those few additions would make Evernote my everyday writing tool. Sure, I'll still use Scrivener when I'm about done and getting ready to publish, but nothing beats the convenience of Evernote for doing some writing anytime, anywhere.

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Maybe you should be trying to apply some pressure to the makers of Scrivener to build an integration with Evernote? Evernote provide what seems like a decent API and support a large number of integrations already - it seems pretty clear they don't want to get into the business of building their own integrations with other people's apps though.

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Maybe you should be trying to apply some pressure to the makers of Scrivener to build an integration with Evernote? Evernote provide what seems like a decent API and support a large number of integrations already - it seems pretty clear they don't want to get into the business of building their own integrations with other people's apps though.

 

That's not likely to happen from the folks at Literature & Latte since they're apparently hard at work on a mobile version of Scrivener (and if/when that finally moves beyond vaporware, I may care less about an Evernote solution). But, a Scrivener sync to Evernote could be a good project for one of us developers out here who's looking for an excuse to mess with the Evernote API. Unfortunately this still doesn't address the two or three Evernote shortcomings we've listed above.

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I think eventually Literature & Latte is going to have to link to a cloud seamlessly. I know it is daunting moving from the structure they have to a cloud-based one but it seems to way things are going anyway. (Adobe CS, Evernote, etc.) For me at this moment, simply being able to sync a folder or two from Evernote would be music to my ears. Bhouser I think you are right, though. I doubt that will happen.

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