MacUser article

The new issue of MacUser lists this in the contents:

Creative writing tools
We look at six dedicated writing tools that help you to format your work for the page or screen, allowing you to get on with being creative.

Since availability of MacUser in Los Angeles is spotty at best, could someone in the UK kindly list what six tools are discussed and perhaps a summary?

Many, many thanks.

Ouch. Well, I hadn’t seen this. I just looked it up on line, though, and it seems that their August issue has at least Montage, Scrivener, Storyist, StoryMill and Jer’s in it - and Scrivener only scored 3 out of 5. I am suitably gutted, as MacUser have always been big fans of Scrivener in the past. Montage got 5 out of 5, StoryMill 4 out of 5, and Storyist and Jer’s got 3 out of 5, same as Scriv. Don’t know what the sixth is… I may pick the mag up later, but I take things a little personally and I’m a bit crestfallen at the moment. Ho-hum.
All the best,

EDIT: Just went to Smith’s to check out the magazine. The article is by the MacUser editor, who used Scrivener to write his independent guide to the iPhone, and in all fairness he says in the review that they use Scrivener internally for structuring long pieces of work and lab tests (sadly, such as the one in which Scrivener only gets 3 mice…). The review consists of a double page spread comparing three pieces of software dedicated to writing novels, and another double page spread comparing three pieces of software dedicated to software writing for the screen… Somewhat oddly, though, Scrivener is reviewed under the “Writing for the Screen” section, so the three stars is how it stands up as a screenwriting application against Final Draft and Montage. I can’t say I’m not really disappointed that it wasn’t in the novel section - which is, after all, what Scrivener was originally created for (hoist by my own petard for catering to scriptwriters too, I guess…) - or that MacUser, who use Scrivener internally, apparently, have given Scrivener a mere 3 out of 5 and reviewed it sort of “out of position”, but MacUser have always been very nice and I guess I have been very lucky with reviews in the past, so I’m in no position to complain. It’s just that, given that Scrivener is a bit of a labour of love, I take such things a little too personally, like I say… Thanks to MacUser for the exposure, though.

3 out of 5 for performing a function that’s non-prime, competing against vastly more expensive, long-standing, dedicated alternatives, can’t be bad. In fact, if I think about it, it’s bloomin’ amazing. :smiley:

However, it sounds like MacUser have commtted what used to be called a “category error”. Maybe, a gentle, temperate letter pointing out their misjudgement might be a good idea?

In this comparison there’s surely a line showing the prices of the apps … and for many people this might be VERY important. :wink:

Wait till you’ve published your novel and some guy gives you a 1 star rating on amazon. You’ll want to hunt him down and show him. :smiley:

I want to come back as St Peter in my next life.

Me [as St P]: So, what did you do with your life?

Guy: Well, lots of things but one thing, I invented this really rather good app, and coded it, and sold it to a lot of people who really, really liked it and found it useful and it helped them do their work and actually enjoy doing their work, too.

Me: Good work. Step this way.

Next Guy: Hi.

Me: Hello. What did you do with your life?

Next Guy: Well, you know the previous guy? I reviewed stuff like that. I mean people like him would invent and design and code and debug and maintain and upgrade apps, and I judged them.

Me: Gosh. The guy ahead of you was pretty exhausted just by doing one. And you mean you took all that trouble to understand hundreds of them?

Next Guy: I didn’t say I understood them. I said I judged them.

Me: Okay. I need you to just step to one side, sir… [HOLLERS] Duane? Oh, Duane


I should update this, though, as I did e-mail the editor of MacUser to ask about this (as I think I said before, he is a very nice guy and said in the review that he and some of his staff use Scrivener daily). Anyway, apparently the previous five-mice rating still stands, and the rationale behind including Scrivener in the “writing for the screen” section was that they felt that MacUser readers were already aware of Scrivener as a prose tool (and in all fairness, Scrivener always appears in their buyers’ guide at the back of the mag - I was worried that this was going to change - and MacUser were the first magazine to review Scrivener), so they were just bringing another possible use to the attention of their readers - and the three mice is specifically for Scrivener as a standalone screenwriters’ tool. The ed also said that Scrivener “remains my writing tool of choice for day-to-day large projects” and added that I could quote him on that. So, as I said before, I have no absolutely reason to complain and am very grateful to MacUser for the continued exposure they provide for Scrivener.

Hmm, at some point I really should start being more professional and aloof and avoid discussing such matters in public. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Hmm… KB becoming less human and more of a coding machine… Bad idea.

I think one of the reasons that you (KB, not scriv) have such a loyal following is the fact that you are NOT aloof, you get frustrated with us (with the occasional bugger off very nicely said) and are more of a human being than most other smallish product developers. This makes it easy to live with a perception of missing features (beer dispenser) or quirks (doc export in current version).

Of course, GR might tell me I am wrong. Again. He can get like that you know.

In the light of Keith’s comment I ought to add that I used to write a column for MacUser and was having a go at myself as much as anyone else. I frequently wrote about things without actually understanding what they were for. Or even what they were. I think the standard of reviewing has risen immeasurably since back in the day – in the periodicals, at any rate. Some of the stuff online is just drivel, and let’s not even talk about macupdate and versiontracker… But in MacUser et al, the detail and the objectivity are much better now; the only trade-off is perhaps that with the increasing professionalism of reviewers has come an occasional tendency to miss the point of whatever app is being reviewed. Just as, I suppose, you might ask the guy flying your from LHR to Melbourne what the ILS approach is like, but you probably wouldn’t expect him to know how to make [TRIES TO THINK OF LOCAL MELBOURNE SPECIALITY DISH. FAILS]… er… anyway, you get my point.

Can anyone offer a link ? I found the piece in the magazine’s table of contents, but there doesn’t appear to be any way to me to get from there into the actual text of the article.


I don’t think it will be available while the print magazine is still on sale - I think they put the articles up online afterwards, so in a couple of weeks, but I’m not sure.
All the best,

Thanks, Keith. I really would be interested to see the piece eventually. Maybe I can dig up the print edition of the magazine somewhere around here, but I doubt it. Brit computer mags somehow aren’t in much demand here in Hawaii.