I remember trying Scrivener a few years ago and passed it over. I can’t remember why now. Either it really improved or I missed something. I’m buying it this time.
I have used numerous brands of writing software.
Dramatica Pro - I didn’t know what the hell was going on there.
Power Structure - severely restricted word processing power - good organization though.
WriteItNow - In the PC realm I thought they were the best.
Storymill - I used it when it was Avenir. Really ambitious and flexible, I just couldn’t get my head around its database/link model. And it needed a far more comprehensive help/tutorial for noobs.
The one I’ve been working with for awhile is Storyist. It has a little of the good stuff from almost everyone (except for Dramatica). Its best feature is the manuscript-ready formatting for novels. Actually I think for my next project I’ll write everything in Scrivener, then export it to Storyist for the formatting - if that is doable. The only downside for the program is the stodginess of the categories like Plot, character, location. When and if I want to use such a section - I need to fly - jot it down as fast as possible. I have always found a plain sheet of paper preferable and sufficient.
I like Scrivener’s multimedia capabilities - that opens up possibilities I hadn’t even thought of before. The split screen is simply awesome - I could use it to compare two versions of the same scene side by side, and to actually have research notes viewable at the same time as writing instead of toggling between tabs. The full-screen looks like what I grew up writing on - a plain sheet of typing paper. That’s good when you don’t want to be disturbed by a sudden screaming urge to know the current temperature in Budapest. And, like I alluded to, I like the simpler tree structure that is not made up of preformed sheets.
So, excellent software. It comes the closest, I think, to an “organic” way of writing on the computer. That is, like the way it used to be done - paper, pen, cards, secretary/mistress.