An interesting question I hope

I can’t believe Scrivener is so much fun, and so helpful. I’m writing a Persuasive Argument and this program is at long last seeing to it that my thoughts are finally organized. Maybe this project will get done after all!

But my question is this. I have a friend who wants to write a fantasy fiction story and she’s got all the ideas in her head for the story. But she doesn’t know ‘which’ writing program to buy, Scrivener or Story Mill. I hear Story Mill is good for the tpye of writing she’s doing (fiction), but I downloaded it and so far have found it a little confusing, with bits and pieces of the story all over the place. One feature people seem to like is the Character and Scene features, special textboxes just for those kinds of things. But as I see it, the split screen of Scrivener could be used for that. She’s going to download the trial version of Story Mill and work with it for a week, then we’re getting together and I’m showing her what I’ve been able to do with Scrivener. Then she’ll make up her mind.

Do any of you have any advice to give as far as which program may be better for her type of writing? I know as for myself, if I was writing fiction, I could make Scrivener work well for that purpose. But then I’m prejudiced.

Decisions like this always end up being a matter or preference.

But, it is worth pointing out that Scrivener was written specifically with Novel writing in mind, but is equally well-suited to scripts, non-fiction, thesis, etc. as well. It just does so in a more flexible manner than StoryMill.

I use Scrivener for fiction writing. I have downloaded StoryMill and played with it, but in the end, I just seemed to click with Scrivener better, and preferred its flexibility. That isn’t to say Scrivener is necessarily better, it is just the one that worked better for me.

I expect you will get pretty similar responses on this forum, and the opposite response on the StoryMill forum. We are here, because we made that choice.



Yes, as Matt says, I built Scrivener to help me write my own novel. Early versions of Scrivener even had “Characters” and “Locations” folders. However, in the re-design stages, I decided not to limit it only to fiction writing as its flexibility means it can be turned to other purposes too; users can create their own “Characters” and “Locations” folders anyway. (Scrivener 2.0 will even allow you to assign your own custom icons to different folders for this sort of thing.)

If you take a look at the main product page or the testimonials page you will, in fact, that the majority of Scrivener’s testimonials come from novelists (including science fiction novelists).

I would recommend your friend download the trials to both programs (and other programs listed on the links page) and give each one a fair try out (go through Scrivener’s tutorial and the equivalent in other programs) before making her decision.

All the best,

Thank you for both of your opinions. Yes, in the end I think it’s personal preference, but you guys can help point out the benefits of the program you like best which may persuade a purchase in that direction. I shared your responses with my friend and sent her the testimonial page link. Thanks again.

As one of the novelists around here I can confirm you can easily build character and location folders into Scrivener if you want and use them pretty much as in Storymill. My own preference is to have the left brain stuff of the book somewhere else at the moment so it’s separate from the creative right brain stuff. So character, ideas, locations and a regular project diary now sit on my left hand screen in MacJournal and all of the writing happens in Scrivener in the right. But this may change at some stage I don’t know.

Then you should reverse your screens … right eye to left brain, left eye to right brain :wink:

Character,s ideas, location and diary are left brain stuff in my opinion. They’re in the right (as in correct) place. The right brain stuff is the book - Scrivener, right screen.

I bought both StoryMill and Scrivener. I initially thought StoryMIll would be just the ticket but then after playing with it, I realized it was too restricting and confusing in terms of workflow. It also doesn’t support footnotes or headers. The biggest thing for me that turned me off of StoryMill was the fact that is doesn’t support manuscript formatting. According to Mariner, it never will either because they don’t think there’s a standard and that people should do it manually based on what an agent or publisher wants.

StoryMill is good but lacks a lot of the intuitive shine and versatility of Scrivener. I think you would quickly outgrow StoryMill and wind up buying something else like I did. I was having trouble getting my voluminous non-fiction piece going in StoryMill. Since using Scrivener, the writing process has been like cutting butter with a hot knife.



Boy, that’s a great testimonial! I didn’t have to look at Story Mill long before I could see it would confuse me. My friend and I are meeting on Wednesday and we’ll compare what each program can do. (She’s working with Story Mill, I’m working with Scrivener) That should be fun. Thanks again for your opinions!