This just landed in my mail box. Interested in the response of the Scrivener community. (I don’t work for Mariner, btw, nor do I use any of their products, although I really WANT Monatage to be good.)

Mariner Software Announces StoryMill 3.0
Company to Republish Novel Writing Software
Minneapolis, MN - Nov 06, 2007 - Mariner Software, developers and publishers of professional and personal software and Return Self Software, today announced their republishing agreement of the popular novel writing application, Avenir. The product will make its public debut with the introduction of the new title under the Mariner brand and major update, StoryMill 3.0, in January 2008. StoryMill is the latest release in Mariner Software’s award-winning line of writing and creativity software.

Described as part word processor, part database and offering an industry-first “timeline view” feature, StoryMill provides the tools writers need to manage the creative process from inception to publication.

“StoryMill supports the Mariner software philosophy of high usability at an affordable price, while providing a new and needed service to aspiring writers. We are delighted to include StoryMill as the newest member of the Mariner Software family.” said Michael Wray, President of Mariner Software. “StoryMill coaches aspiring authors on multi- level writing methods, while seasoned professionals will appreciate StoryMill’s time saving features and its ability to manage the creative writing process using Smart Views. Built from the ground up for OS X, StoryMill 3.0 is a groundbreaking tool that unlocks the mysteries and empowers every writer.”

“With the ability to track, tag and filter characters, scenes and locations, StoryMill offers an innovative way to harness and fine tune the creative process.” said Todd Ransom, President of Return Self Software. “Combined with interactively displaying your story across time with StoryMill’s industry-first timeline view feature, we feel confident this product will become an essential tool for anyone with a story to tell.”

Pricing and Availability:

StoryMill 3.0 will be available, for sale and trial, in early January on the Mariner Software web site at http:// for more information. StoryMill 3.0 requires Mac OS 10.4 or higher.

Yes, I got this too. I used to use Mariner Calc, a perfectly good Excel-alike spreadsheet – as long as you didn’t want to export to Excel, and you weren’t sent Excel '95 files! – written in Carbon, which for a long time was the only spreadsheet I could find that would accept Chinese. I took out a life-time’s upgrades to it 'cos I wanted to support Mariner and was looking forward to them doing a real upgrade.

That hasn’t happened, in fact Calc hasn’t been updated at all for a couple of years. And in the meantime, Tables was produced, a Cocoa spreadsheet which more than does everything I need, handles Chinese well and is a pleasure to use, and it has a very responsive developer in Daniel Schmidt. So I’ve given my Calc licence to my wife along with the licence for Write.

As for StoryMill, a relaunched Avenir, I’ve found the software I want for all my writing in Scrivener, so much so that I have not even been tempted to download a trial version of Avenir, or Jer’s or WriteRoom or anything else. Keith is very generous in his openness towards all these other apps, and I appreciate that, but I’ve found my home with him and Scrivener.


I have Avenir languishing in my applications folder. I’ll happily try a program as and when I stumble upon it, but nothing I’ve tried approaches Scrivener’s style and usability except, perhaps, for MacJournal. It’s marketed as a Mariner product but, like Scrivener, it’s primarily the work of one man with a vision and, again like Scrivener, you catch the essence of that vision the more you use it. It’s where I keep my personal diary and I find that, for such a purpose, it complements Scrivener beautifully.


What you should know about me: I’m a rabid Avenir fan-boy. That said, you should definitely check out StoryMill when the beta comes out. Odds are if Scrivener really captures the way you write you won’t want to switch, but I’ve been pretty heavily involved in the brainstorming/feature requesting/forum lurking that went into the major new features in StoryMill, and they’re going to be very, very cool. I haven’t seen them implemented yet (since the beta isn’t out), but the timelines in particular are going to be like nothing in any of the other creative writing software out there.

If I remember correctly, Todd (the developer) has also taken a leaf out of Keith’s book and will have scenes and chapter text more tightly linked (so that, similar to Scrivener, the outline and the text are closer to two views of the same thing).

I think it’s important to note that StoryMill isn’t really a Mariner application. It’s completely coded and controlled by Todd Ransom (and will continue to be). I’ve personally never been all that impressed with Mariner’s offerings, but their greater resources will hopefully Avenir-now-StoryMill will get a better interface and more awareness.

Yes - Todd is another cool OS X developer and we’ve shared code here and there (he uses my word count code IIRC; the search code in Scrivener is based on his filtering code). So, as George says, it sounds more like with MacJournal - the product of one guy that is just marketed by MarinerSoft.

So, if you check out StoryMill, you’ve got no worries in terms of the developer. He is responsive and has been working on it, with regular updates, for years. Of course, I’d rather y’all stuck with Scrivener, but I’m sure it will be well worth checking out. :slight_smile:


Y’all? Y’ALL? Damn it Captain… we’re British!


P.S. Who is Keiht?

Keiht is someone who needs a signature shortcut in TextExpander. :smiley:

As for this StoryMill news, can someone clarify for me: is/was Avenir the side-project of one of the Mariner developers, or was it a stand-alone project like Scrivener that was bought by Mariner?

I think what I’m getting at is: Uh, Keith? Are you next? Is there a, say, Final Draft ChapterMasterâ„¢ in the works?

(Yes, I know ChapterMaster is a stupid name.)

Edit: Final Draft WritersWorkshopâ„¢ Story Development Environment. That seems better.

Avenir is/was developed and coded by Todd Ransom, who is also responsible for screenwriting package Montage, hence the Mariner connection.

For the rest, I sincerely hope that Keith remains independent, but who knows? There may eventually be financial inducements too great to resist - or the overarching workload may become too onerous for one person to manage effectively. Time will tell.


ChapterMaster eh? Hmmm…



Scrivener and Movie Magic Screenwriter I could go for - they are really compatible. Add MacJournal and you have got it pretty well covered. There are a truck load of time line and mind mapping apps around. I like pure, unadulterated Scrivener.

(Keiht!!!) Please don’t muck about with it too much.


I have Yojimbo as a repository. I also have a copy of MacJournal and of Journler, and I keep meaning to get into them, but I have never been a diarist, or wanted to inflict my ramblings on an unsuspecting world in the form of a blog, so, basically they are unused.


I second both the sentiment and the request.

Here’s my set-up. Scrivener for projects, with DevonThink as the catch-all data repository. The DT interface looks rather clunky and dated, but nothing beats its storage and search capabilities and I’ve found it to be rock solid, no matter how much data I throw at it. For my personal diary (and I emphasise personal) I use MacJournal which, like Scrivener, is a real pleasure to use. Yojimbo completes the line up and is reserved for personal snippets and non-work related bits and bobs.

Word processors:
Mellel - quirky interface but great for long docs.
Word - infuriating and demanding, but still the best table implementation I’ve found.
Bean - quick and neat for general correspondence.
Pages - More than satisfies my modest page layout DTP requirements.

I’m also trying Nisus Writer Pro. I’ve found that it handles images better than Mellel does, and permits text to wrap around objects, though not with the sort of flexibility that Pages provides. I rather like the built-in thesaurus too, aspirin for those cognitive lapses or ‘senior moments’.


For the record, Keiht is my alter-ego who, after spending hours trying to fix a widows and orphans bug that still causes a project statistics crash, forgets how to spell his own name and his own nationality.

Ah. That explains everything. Thike will be along momentarily then…


Tujdbred :wink:

Cap`n Hekti not gorra a hego :question:oops:

bilge rat

Juddbert, I like MacJournal too. I also like a program called Journier, which I used several years ago as a freeware product. the creator has now made it shareware. (come to think of it, it probably deserves its own thread.)

I started using Mellel, before Okito Composer – which became NWE – appeared. Although I appreciate it’s power, I never managed to get comfortable with the interface, but most importantly for me, it had one fatal flaw (which I suspect still exists) … it wouldn’t import .docs in CJK languages, turning them into hexadecimal gibberish. I had to run them through TextEdit first to save them out as RTF, which I could then read in Mellel.

When Okito/Nisus came along, I immediately felt at home with the UI, and the fact that .docs in Chinese would open directly meant that the switch was a no-brainer.

So I still have Mellel languishing on the hard disk of my Ti PB 400, but I haven’t used it for nearly 4 years, and I didn’t upgrade when asked. I keep it just in case I still have files in Mellel’s proprietary format that I just might have to re-open.


I did try Journler, but thought it felt stretched somehow, as though it was supposed to cover every conceivable need. I decided that my preference lay with MacJournal’s more focused approach. Then Scrivener came along and… well, what can I tell you? :smiley:

Whilst remaining strongly loyal to Scrivener, I’m pleased for the sake of all Mac-using writers that Avenir will continue to be developed, with a bigger organisation behind it. But I slightly regret the name change. “StoryMill” has a machine-shop feel to it; “Avenir” is much more pregnant with romantic possibility.

And as someone else once suggested, it left open the option of a future link-up to create “Scrivenir” … :wink: (No, I don’t really think that would be a good idea.)

…or even: machine shop/piecework. :cry:

Absolutely. “Avenir” = future = exciting, ambitious, anything-could-happen. “StoryMill” = run-of-the-mill, trouble at t’mill, grinding. Oh well.