Papyrus Author (Pro in my case) and why I use it.

People often ask me what I’m using instead of Scrivener and why I switched. I have avoided posting about it as I have always supported Scrivener (Just upgraded to PC 3.0) and love the software. It just doesn’t do exactly what I need owing to my strange workflow.

When I need to PLOT a novel, or sort out a MESS, Scrivener is still my go-to tool.

When I am writing the way I normally do, without a plot/structure or roadmap, then I switch to Papyrus Author Pro which costs me 15UKP per month. I agree that is steep, but it includes an inline grammar engine that is every bit as good as ProWritingAid or Grammarly, and better than the one in Ulysses.

My workflow:

  1. Write a scene.
  2. Go back to the start of that scene and fix errors on the way through, also correcting grammar, removing passive voice, deleting over-used phrases and cliches, changing words to avoid repetition, and finally looking for naming errors.
  3. Read through it and start the next scene.

I produce around 3,000 words a day this way, cycling back every 500 to 1,000 words as described above, and it is ‘clean’ copy. No second drafts. No rewrites. One quick pass in a grammar and spelling overview to catch typing errors, missing punctuation, etc. (sometimes my brain skips ahead and I don’t do something I thought I did.) and it’s ready for my Alpha readers.

It’s not cheap, but it works for me. The free version is totally free, and will produce ebooks and print files, but only checks spelling and word repetition, and lacks a few bells and whistles, but otherwise is not crippled in any way.

The software is

EDIT: Forgot to mention, there is a YouTube channel with their tuition videos by an Aussie author called Ben. Quite comprehensive.

Many experienced authors, myself included, do what is called “cycling” for one-and-done output. It’s nothing new or revolutionary, as I’m sure you know. That, and being capable of typing a thousand words an hour, as well as knowing story structure inside and out, will enable authors to pump out the work.

The key word is “experienced”, of course. For beginning authors, I’m not certain that would work all that well, but what do I know.

Many won’t admit it because of all the myths surrounding the “poor tortured author”, but it’s true. Their biggest problem is the Big 5 (or is it 4 now?) publishing houses that won’t publish an authors’ output more than once every one or two years (with some notable exceptions). You know, because it might “weaken their brand” or some such stupidity. But I digress to one of my many pet peeves to do with writing and traditional publishing.

As to whether I’d pay $U250. annually for a program to do what I can do without, I’m not so certain. Like you, I use the tools that serve me best. Win Scrivener has been doing that for me since I discovered it in 2011.

All true.

Also true. Just ask any prolific author how many ‘pen names’ you’ve needed. :mrgreen:

I agree - like I said; it is pricey, but it means I don’t need Grammarly, or PWA (even though my old sub on that is still running) and I never need to switch windows/programs while I work.

If I thought my old brain could still find all the errors without help, or Scrivener had a built-in grammar/style checker, I wouldn’t be using it. 8)

I’ve got a subscription for the Pro version of Papyrus Author, I’m very on the fence about it. The first item that is ALWAYS on my mind while using it, is the Price. They have it priced up in the nosebleed section (~$188 bucks/year, and no one-time purchase option!!), so I am FORCED to consider it critically when I use it, and in terms of it’s ROI (Return on Investment)

While I am not yet in a position where I’m making money off of my writing, $15/bucks a month is a pretty substantial outlay for mediocre software.

Do I like PA?

Meh – I’m kind of on the fence about it. On the one hand, as a straight accumulator for words, it’s not terrible-- in fact, that’s the portion I most like about it-- which is good, since that’s arguably the thing it needs to do the best-- and it does do a pretty good job at handling words.

I do like it’s “Readability” and “Grammar” features. That is probably what keeps me subscribed, to be blunt. And the MILLISECOND Scrivener (or some other suitable program) offers me the same (or similar) feature, I’m dropping PA like a hot rock.

They have a lot of nice-LOOKING features, which are very attractive when considering a purchase. But my experience is they’re kind of clumsy / clunky to use-- mostly from an interface perpective-- and don’t offer the features that you might expect. Such as the ability to Round-Trip between between the Navigator (Binder-like interface) and the ThinkBoard (sort of like a drawing / mindmap interface). You can pull things INTO ThinkBoard, but you can’t go the other way, from the ThinkBoard into the Navigator, for instance.

I’m going to stop here-- because my goal isn’t to bash PA-- I struggle so much with what it costs versus what it can do. If it really was truly the premier product it claims to be (implied by it’s price), I would have no qualms at all.

As it is, there are in fact a number of features about it I really like-- the Readability and Grammar elements for one, the way it can assist with characters-- POV, Who’s in the Chapter, etc., those are handy things. Having a quick Word / Page count available in the Navigator (aka “Binder”) is a nice feature.

I wish it handled highlighting a little better-- it’s not “bad”, just "different, compared to Scrivener.

And I wish it had the ability to put notes (annotations) Inline, like Scrivener does. I don’t mind having notes on the sides-- that’s nice for some things, but really clutters up the view.

I LOVE the database and ability to create forms and such.

I’m not so fond of the way it crams all of the Meta-stuff into a tiny box in the lower-left corner. But to be fair, Scrivener does nearly the same, just in the right-side-- though it’s a little easier to deal with. BEWARE though, turning On/Off notes and annotations and stuff in the PA Navigator settings can LOSE your data. It’s a bug I’ve reported to them after it happened to me a few times. To my knowledge, it’s still not been repaired-- for a program with a nosebleed price per month… just saying.

Their support is friendly and knowledgeable. They always seem happy to help, and often go above and beyond in their answers and willingness to assist. In THAT aspect, they are absolutely worth the “premium” and deserve the label.

I wish there was some good middle-ground alternative. And there may be. I have been seriously investigating a THIRD alternative which shows ENORMOUS promise, but I have not yet made up my mind about it. It absolutely has the potential, the question (to me) is simply regarding interface improvements that would push it over the top-- and make it the absolute BEST, in my opinion… Time will tell.

I also often Seen Papyrus Autor Recomended, but there is same thing permanently Bothering me. I think to write good Software the working enviroment should be based on Trust. But if you search for informations about the working enviroment of papyrus Autor you get well basicly a larg amount of bad reviews. Which speaks about people that get firred without a reason. Which brings me too a dobbel edged reason not to use it.

  1. I do not want to support bad Managment
  2. I do not think bad Managment will result in good programms.

But maybe I am Missinformed. Or maybe its just becouse writing is badly paid.

I stopped using it. Mainly because they delete (“move to a dev channel”) EVERY question or complaint that makes them look less than perfect.
The English language version is still 10.x, the German version has been v11 since February. I asked why, the post disappeared, like so many other questions or bug posts.
They ask for sample files when you report bugs, but bugs I reported over a year ago are still there.
The free version is fun for people who don’t want to spend money.
The company behaviour, customer team, etc. make it not worth buying.
An additional thought: it saves all your work in a bespoke file that only PA can access and it must connect their license server every 7 days or it refuses to run. If their licensing server ever stops working, or they withdraw the program, good luck getting the files out. :joy:

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