A Scrivener user just e-mailed me to let me know about a new competitor, and you might want to check it out:

(Yes, I’m not very good at the whole “competitor” thing - I’m quite happy to advertise competing products. :slight_smile: ) What’s interesting to me is that these guys seem to have looked at Scrivener, given that they have a “Manuscript” folder in the browser that works exactly like Scrivener’s “Draft” folder (i.e. that is what gets exported etc). That’s nice - it’s usually me looking at the competitors. :slight_smile: Over all, it’s probably more like Jer’s than Scrivener, but on first glance it certainly looks like a polished piece of software with an attractive interface. Good luck to them.


I participated in the beta program for Storyist, and while it’s a nice program in the class of Avenir, it can’t hold a candle to Scrivener’s flexibility. Scrivener is a very good blend of structure and freedom. It doesn’t try to be plug and play, it tries to be something you can mold to your style/needs (and succeeds).

Keith (aside from liking your name :wink:), I very much like and respect your open attitude towards competition. Don’t change…

I looked it over, as I’m always interested in new software (much to my Applications folder’s dismay, I might add) and, while it’s a decent piece of software, I have to agree that it’s far less useful than Scrivener. Plus I don’t think I could ever bring myself to choke down that $60 price tag.

Ditto. It lacks much of what I love/need in Scr. It is also a bit too structured for me, even for novel writing, or maybe especially for novel writing. I much prefer to let my own system evolve, and Scr. allows me to do that, plus gives me what I need for other types of writing. The only thing it says it has I sometimes wish Scr. had is some kind of wiki links, which would allow me to automatically link things to a central file. But that’s really the only thing I sometimes wish for and it’s not a huge deal since if I really need links I can create them.

So while it’s nice for some uses, I suppose, it doesn’t hold a candle to Scr. IMHO. I mean that quite seriously. And I find it interesting that it’s almost double the price. That might make Keith rethink what he is asking for Scr.?? Or maybe it’s best not to reopen that particular can of worms!


PS I too appreciate your openness to the competition and your commitment to helping your users find really good writing software. In my book, it’s still Scrivener all the way, though it’s always fun and interesting to look at these other programs.

I emphatically agree with this. There’s as much to admire in the man as in his software. :slight_smile:

As far as Storyist - I agree with others here: decent but miles apart from our beloved Scr. in every way that matters. 8)

I tried this out for a few days and the templates were nice but it’s no Scrivener in terms of functionality. With Scrivener out of the picture entirely I’d probably prefer Avenir over this one though. It does look nice though.

Okay, no disrespect, but any program that comes with story templates is suspect. (Did I see “Hero Adventure” in one of Storyist’s screenshots?!?) I wonder how good their manuscript formatting is, though. It would be nice to not have to export drafts to word processors…

You did. It’s straight out of Joseph Campbell. Do you suppose George Lucas used Storyist? :smiley:

I’m not sure why people are comparing this to Avenir, though. I guess it’s more structured than Scrivener as far as laying out the different parts of a novel (as is Avenir) but the comparison ends there. As a die-hard Avenir user, I’d actually say Storyist is much more like a structured Scrivener than like Avenir (because of the way it deals with the sidebar). :wink:

I’m frankly astonished that they’re charging $60 for that software. I guess they’re just hoping that their users have never heard of either Scrivener or Avenir, which are both cheaper, more flexible, and more powerful.

I have to chime in with the others and appreciate your attitude towards, competition, Keith. Friendly competition (where you rely on the quality of your product to keep users rather than vicious marketing) is so refreshing, and your obvious interest in helping people find the best software to fit their needs (even if it isn’t yours) is great. If I remember correctly, Todd Ransom once told me that you’ve even contributed code to Avenir, which makes me pretty amused, I have to admit. :slight_smile:

George - and vice versa; check out Scrivener’s help file and you will see Todd’s name there. The search feature in Scrivener’s toolbar is all based on code by Todd. Jesse Grosjean of Hog Bay Software is another one, like Todd, who is happy to exchange code; and Martin from Nisus is always helpful in a similar way, too. When the developers are so cool, it’s not difficult to recommend WriteRoom, Avenir/Montage and Nisus (and following a recent discussion with Kirsten Thayer from Final Draft, I’m very happy to sing their praises, too :slight_smile: ). Anyway, I certainly wouldn’t want frustrated users whose methods of working are better suited by another application (as yours are better suited by Avenir). I spent too long looking for my Perfect Software (and ended up writing it!); I’d rather help others find what’s right for them than pretend that Scrivener is all there is.

Casper - what sort of manuscript are you writing? If you are writing a novel or short story, there is no reason you should need to export it to a word processor from Scrivener. You can set it all up and print it from the Export Draft sheet. For scripts, academic writing and suchlike you will certainly need to export to a dedicated word processor, but for novels and short stories you shouldn’t have to.

All the best,

Keith - I’m currently writing a long work with some embedded graphic elements. I’d also like to write my dissertation on Sir Thomas Browne and Charles Lamb on Scrivener, but I think I’d better stick to the boring word processors. Thanks for the wonderful program.

Crikey: … e-Full.jpg

Or, even more striking:

I suppose emulation is the sincerest form of flattery… :open_mouth:

EDIT: I just want to clarify to prevent any misunderstanding here. In no way am I accusing Storyist of being a rip-off of Scrivener. It’s not! It works quite differently and some users will prefer Scrivener, some will prefer Storyist. I created this thread initially because I think some writers will love this program. My above comment was only into the corkboard that has just been introduced to Storyist, which bears a striking resemblance to the one in Scrivener. Not that I claim to be the first in having a corkboard in a computer program, of course. :slight_smile:

Storyists use of indexcards is still very imature compared to Scrievener.
The cards cant be resized only maginfied (including the corkboard) so you can have some very big cards with little text on or you can have small cards with so tiny text on that you cant read it.
Im sure indexcards in Storyist will have to be reimplemented.

Storyist is a very nice app though :slight_smile:


Hmm, the only thing that Storyist seems to have that Scrivener lacks is the ability (in screenplay/script mode) to take characters, scenes, etc. that are typed in and then autocomplete them after their first entry.

From the site:

But wow. The corkboard and index cards are… uh… familar to say the least.

The only new feature in Storyist that seems useful is a page-layout display, which gives the writer a sense of how the formatted document will look. If added to Scrivener, that would give us another “mode” of viewing the same data.

On VersionTracker, Storyist has two comments so far: one praising it for integrating word processing and database management, and one attacking it as a steal from Scrivener. I admire Keith’s benign attitude toward competitors.

I should say that I have nothing against Storyist at all. It looks like a nice app, has a clean interface and a clear purpose. And I make no bones that I borrowed a lot from Ulysses, CopyWrite and Mori. But I also e-mailed the other software vendors to say “hi” and to make sure they knew I was taking ideas from them. Likewise, when Jesse Grosjean thought about giving WriteRoom’s interface a control panel and some other features similar to Scrivener’s, he e-mailed me (he took things in a different direction after all, though). All I’m saying is a nice, friendly, “We liked your corkboard so much we just had to have it” e-mail would have been welcome. :slight_smile:

Anyway… As far as a page layout view in Scrivener goes, this is an FAQ, and here is the FTA (frequently typed answer): a page layout view in Scrivener would just not make sense. Firstly, the export settings in Scrivener allow you to type in one format and print/export in another. Thus, what you see on the screen may not look anything like what you see on the page. Secondly, Scrivener handles footnotes and annotations inline. Were a page layout view to be added, it would have to handle them differently (inline annotations and footnotes in a page layout view would not be tolerated). Which would mean starting down the route of writing the code for a full-on word processor. Next, people would want headers and footers displayed in the page layout view. And page numbers… Honestly, adding a bog-standard page layout view a la TextEdit is not too difficult. But that would start the ball rolling along an entirely different path (I love mixing metaphors).

AmberV! Another FAQ copy-and-paste for you! Thanks. :slight_smile:


Yay. If only the entire thing were this easy to write. :slight_smile:

I’m a little sad to see the direction this thread is taking and the comment that appeared on VersionTracker (“flagrant theft”) after Keith posted the links to the Storyist site yesterday.

Hi all. I’m Steve Shepard, the author of Storyist.

I know I’m a guest here, but I hope you’ll let me correct some misconceptions.

Like Keith, I was frustrated at the lack of good tools on the Mac and decide to write my own. I started development of Storyist in 2003 (I registered the domain in 2003 and the trademark in 2005) and published the first beta for friends and co-writers on September 2, 2005.

The new visual storyboard features in Storyist 1.3 (index cards and Polariods) have been in development for some time and as I wrote Keith in a personal email yesterday, the design inspiration was the iSale corkboard, which helped win equinux the Apple Design Award in 2005.

As a writer, I’m delighted to see the number of options available on the Mac platform, and I think Scrivener is a worthy app, so much so that I proposed to Keith that we support each other’s file formats and possibly collaborate on Final Draft support (which Storyist supports unofficially). It would be great for our customers and I believe it would make our apps stronger.

Anyway, thanks for reading and good luck with your writing!


Hi Steve,

Welcome to the board. You are more than welcome to set things straight here, of course. I’m very sorry that my post here inspired someone to accuse you of “flagrant theft” on VersionTracker - that was not my intention and I’ve replied there in an attempt to clear things up a little and avoid any escalation. I hope you understand that I was in no way accusing you of theft, though I did assume you took the idea at least in part from Scrivener.

I’m afraid I have never received any of the e-mails you sent - what address did you use?

As for the corkboard - well, I still think it looks a little familiar, and it really does seem to have more in common with Scrivener’s implementation than iSale’s (for instance, index cards, the look of “stacks” and suchlike). But honestly, I wouldn’t mind even if it was partially inspired by Scrivener. It was mainly just a surprise. (And your forum does give the impression that the index card feature was implemented in response to user suggestions from those who had tried Scrivener - i.e. … =scrivener. I also took some inspiration from iSale, though, so fair enough.) I’ve certainly never made any bones about the fact that I took from Ulysses, CopyWrite, Mori and others. As you note, like you, I liked those tools but they didn’t quite work how I wanted, so I took the bits I liked and did want and used those and then did other things differently. Storyist clearly does the same, and I like the way that it seems to be coming a sort of Final Draft for novelists.

I would definitely be interested in the cross-support of file formats.

Anyway, I hope you do see that I started this thread in the first place to bring Storyist to people’s attention because I think it’s a great piece of software that some writers will prefer, and Storyist also has a description and link on my links page. From this I hope you realise that no ill will was intended at any point; I was merely commenting on my own surprise and didn’t mean it as a call to arms for forum users to harangue you!

Certainly, the last thing I want is to incite a petty flame war or to engender ill feelings.

I wish you the best with Storyist. As I said before, I do like the clean layout and the interface. (Oh, and I added the “fixed width” mode to Scrivener just because I liked the look of the white “paper” having a shadow against a light grey background when placed against the blue list in Storyist. I hold my hands up to that unashamedly. :slight_smile: )

Best wishes,


Welcome! Storyist is actually a beautiful piece of software and I’m pretty sure I would have used it had I not discovered Scrivener first. As I mentioned, the character, location, etc. autocomplete is fantastic. It’s one of the reasons I still turn to Final Draft (though I’ve written my last two scripts in Scrivener. Yay!) is the fantastic autocomplete feature.

I hope you and Keith do get to work together on the Final Draft export. Maybe some of that autocomplete will make it’s way to Scrivener :wink: . I will continue to check with Storyist to see how it develops.


Robert, you can hit opt-Escape to bring up auto-completion, and you can enter character names for auto-complete via Edit > Auto-Complete List.