Maybe a common question...

Is this like a Windows version of Storymill? What does it do better or how it compares? What I’m looking for.

Found you folks via a simple search for a Windows alternative to Storymill. I found their software quite handy to use but I’ve found Mac hardware of the last decade to be disappointing. Yes I’m a Mac that went to PC unlike the ads. They won’t support PPC/RISC Macs anymore which is all I have aside from PCs. So I’ve been researching alternatives.

So far I like what I’ve seen with Scrivener. Going to give it a trial. Just want to ask in here anyways. Any insights I can gleam based on where I’m coming from vs just poking through the software and likely missing something Scrivener does exceptional. Thanks!

The short answer is: kind of, but not really, in a few key ways.

If you’re coming from a StoryMill background, the main difference that I think you’ll run in to is that the software is much less rigid in terms of how you organise things. StoryMill has a very concrete chapter/scene style of working, where you create chapters and scenes and assign the latter to the former. Scrivener is fully freeform, and is thus considered a general purpose writing tool rather than one that is specifically for fiction. People use the software for just about any form of writing you can think of. So that’s going to be the main philosophical difference between the two. You’ll find more features for manipulating the “outline” than you will in StoryMill, for that reason. Since structure is defined by a freeform outline rather than set components that are glued together, it works more like OmniOutliner or even Word in outline mode, where the structure on the left side is a direct correlation to your manuscript rather than the more database/piecemeal approach of something like Super Note Card or StoryMill. So there are a lot of menu commands for manipulating that structure and working within it.

Additionally, I would say there is more in Scrivener that you do not need to learn. It’s not like StoryMill where learning the program from top to bottom is of benefit. Scrivener is a big program and you’ll most likely only ever need subset of what it does (for instance, if you have no interest in scriptwriting you can just ignore all of that, just like you can probably ignore footnotes, unless you are writing a non-fiction work, etc.).

If you’re concerned about the lack of a clear framework as there is in StoryMill, try starting with one of the provided templates instead of a blank project. You might eventually prefer to start with Blank, as many do, but during the learning phases the example templates can provide valuable workflow guidance. For example, the basic novel template uses a folder = chapter; file = scene setup that is quite a bit like StoryMill in terms of structure, only you won’t have a separate list for each.

Beyond that the functional philosophy of working in small pieces and merging them all together into a single word processor document in the end is much the same, so you’ll have the advantage of already being familiar with that way of working. I’ve heard from many that the difference between the two comes down more to the frameworks which I discussed above, and that beyond that the two offer a very comparable experience and it is easy to go back and forth between them for different projects. So in general I’d say you wouldn’t have a huge learning curve ahead of you. You already have the principles down. It’s the learning how to think of a work in smaller pieces rather than word processor friendly slabs that takes the most learning for new users, and you’ve already got that. It will be the adjustment from a more rigid framework to a fully freeform environment that might take a little calibration. Like I say, if it gets overwhelming, try one of the templates and see if that works better for you. The nice thing is that if there is something you’d rather do differently with the template, you usually can.

Wonderful, just what I was wanting to know. I loaded the trial on and messed a little with it. Seems similar enough to Storymill so I won’t have a huge learning curve. I did notice the other features that I likely might not use.

Certainly has my interest more now. I did like the rigid factors of Storymill to a degree. Certainly was helpful in compiling. Got used to knowing where everything was. Interface was simple. But so is Scrivener which I like. Used to do all my writing in Appleworks. Then Apple dumped it for Pages which was just awful. Worst, needlessly complex interface I’ve ever worked with.

Price is decent too. Guess I’ll play around with it a little more. Want to see if I can transfer all my work easy enough. Thank you very much for the help!

You might play around with StoryMill’s export template feature, and set it up so that a unique separator is used in between scenes. In Scrivener, you can use the File/Import/Import and Split... menu command to search for this separator and automatically cut everything back up into pieces for you. You’ll want to do some sorting afterwards, but that saves you the long trudge of breaking a long document back down to the scene level

I think “Import and split…” is Mac only? You’ll need to import and then use regular old split at selection. You can still use the find dialogue to search for the relevant text string, though, and then just keep pressing F3 to find the next one and Ctrl+K to make the split.

Thanks rog, that’s true. I had it in my head that StoryMill user = Mac user, and lost track of the original premise. :slight_smile:

Don’t think my Storymill version has that. I have the last one for the RISC Macs. The version after mine I remember them adding export features and a lot of nice tweaks but it was x86 only. I could maybe attempt to hack OSX to run on my lappy but as I just bought it, I’m not up to really digging into that yet. Give the hacking community time to tweak things for the new Ivy chipsets and such.

Storymill is Mac only so you aren’t really wrong. Although, Mariner does make Windows software but not with Storymill.