Alan Jacobs:

I think it’s generally agreed, by Those Who Know, that one of the best tools ever created for writers is Scrivener. And indeed, Scrivener is awesome. But no software or hardware tool is going to write your book for you, so don’t get too emotionally invested in such things, and don’t expect more than an application can deliver. The more important thing is to make sure that, whatever tool you use, you know its capabilities inside and out. Intimate knowledge of your software enables you to get the most out of it.

I haven’t switched to Scrivener, though I admire it, largely because I am absolutely devoted to the text editor BBEdit, which allows me to create Projects from multiple files, do search-and-replace across multiple files, “fold” sections of text, view in split screens, and so on and so on. I know this app thoroughly, which makes my use of it pretty seamless — and that’s what you want from any writing tool: for it to be as invisible and impalpable as possible. So whatever tools you decide to use, stick with them until you know them very well; you’re better off with a flawed or limited instrument that you can make sing than with a super-fancy one that makes your fingers stumble.

Have any readers—er, writers—out there used either of these tools, or others you would recommend?