Scrivener vs Storyist: Specialist Writing Software for Writers

Scrivener vs Storyist

I recently discovered a little tip that I wish I’d known sooner about tin snips. Their handles are color-coded to indicate how they are designed to cut best. Tin snips designed to cut straight are yellow-handled, snips designed to cut counterclockwise in tight curves are red-handled, and clockwise cutting tin snips have green handles.

Had I known this tip in advance, I could have bought the right tool for the project I was doing and saved myself a ton of time and frustration! It’s much harder to get a job done when you are using a tool designed for a slightly different purpose. Now, if you’re wondering how this nugget of information relates to writing, read on.

Scrivener vs Storyist

When it comes to writing tools, it’s easy to be confused by the choices available on the market today. Just like with those tin snips, writing tools may visually look the same, you type and the words appear, but each one is designed for a particular purpose. If you are clear on what you need as a writer, choosing the right writing tool for the job makes the process of writing a whole lot easier.

Unbeknownst to many writers, you have a choice between text editors, novel writing or creative writing software, word processing software, or story development software to help you get words onto the page. If you’re seeking a software program that will guide you and offer suggestions and advice on how to write better, you need to invest in software with a story development focus. For those who just simply want to get words on the page without much worry about visual appearance (headers, footers, footnotes, etc.), a text editor fits the bill.

Word processing software such as MS Word, OpenOffice, or LibreOffice, was originally designed with more focus on formatting and presentation or sharing your document with others. Novel development software such as Scriver and Storyist are two modern word processing programs with extra functionality designed specifically for writers.

Novel writing software is designed with the purpose of helping writers to organize their writing. When it comes to Scrivener versus Storyist, they are word processing software programs, but they have additional functions in their design, specifically for organizing writing.

Basic Features of Scrivener vs Storyist

When you begin to compare Scrivener versus Storyist, you will find they are writing tools with the same purpose. In fact, in addition to being designed to help writers organize their writing, the two programs have several additional features in common.

Both Scrivener and Storyist are intended to lift the burden and the frustration of formatting out of the way. Both programs also offer distraction-free functions that help the writer to reduce distractions and focus on writing. The third common feature when it comes to Scrivener versus Storyist is they both have an all-in-one repository for research, notes, image files, and any other materials you need to reference when writing.

Both programs are available for Mac, and iOS devices, but only Scrivener is available for PC. Both programs can be used for any writing project that is getting unwieldy. File saving features in both programs allow for import from Word and other word processors as well as exporting to multiple file formats.


Scrivener works well with OpenOffice for formatting and even track changes. Also, you can export your final document to additional file formats such as PDF, ePub, and Mob formats which can eliminate the need for a third-party conversion software for publishing. NaNoWriMo participants and other coupons are available which make this software less than $30 to purchase. Scrivener can be setup to autosave, and you can schedule backups to Dropbox or other cloud storage services.


Storyist allows you to export to PDF, RTF or plain text and includes a rich text editor and even a formatting Inspector feature that allows a writer to customize document styles. Formatting your text is more intuitive in Storyist than in Scrivener. Storyist also offers an on-screen keyboard or wireless Bluetooth keyboard for mobile devices. Storyist 3 for Mac will cost you around $60 following the free trial.

Features Writers Will Love

With Both Programs:

  • Break writing into organized, manageable chunks
  • Distraction-free interface options
  • Get formatting out of the way
  • All-in-one writing organizational tool

With Scrivener:

  • Index cards on a corkboard feature is perfect for brainstorming
  • Split screen either vertically or horizontally as you prefer
  • Cursor stays in the middle of the screen while you type—reduces scrolling while writing
  • Session word count goals with indicator noise when complete
  • Statistics include word count and estimated number of pages
  • Automatic back-ups file in a zipped file at either open or close and store in the cloud.
  • Mac users view videos right in Scrivener; PC users video opens in new window
  • Color code and Label capability, allows you to track characters, scene progress, etc.
  • Collections allow for revisions to specific chapters or scenes with specific characters, so you can quickly make alterations involving just one character, one location, etc.

With Storyist:

  • Index cards that can be color coded and displayed in split-screen with your notes
  • Novel template with sample manuscript
  • Story sheets to track characters and settings
  • Display document in page mode including footer and header
  • Style Tab –format your work
  • Navigate by chapter, scene, etc.
  • Style Tab for easy formatting
  • Integrates with Dropbox, sync iPad, iPhone, and Storyist for Mac
  • Open project from iPhone or iPad to make comments about what’s needed

Groan Factors of Scrivener vs Storyist

When working with agents, editors, or publishers, it’s common to get Track Changes revisions in MS Word. Ths is popular in the publishing industry. The track changes feature doesn’t always transfer seamlessly between Word and Scrivener. Most users export their final Scrivener file to Open Office or MS Word and keep it there during final revisions with an editor.

Another complaint from users of Scrivener is the PC version is missing some features included in the Mac version. And Storyist has no available release for PC users yet.

A common complaint from users of both programs is the steep learning curve when switching from word processing only software. Users who conquer the learning curve with Scrivener or Storyist rave about the difference it makes.

Scrivener vs Storyist: Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a more organizational emphasis for your writing projects, and you don’t need the guidance with story development, then novel writing software such as Scrivener or Storyist could be the right fit for you.

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