I have StoryMill and I just got Scrivener (Scrivener PC). I used to use Word.
Word: Yes, it’s easy to use but I couldn’t help but wonder if the other, more specific, programs were better.
StoryMill: I was so happy to switch to StoryMill! The features were just too useful. You can write by scenes, drag and drop them wherever you want, check your timeline, keep notes, and so much more. It will also give you a count of how many times you’ve used words and check for cliches (although it’s limited in its capabilities in this area). You can keep track of all your characters’ info. Cons I’ve found: Exporting kind of sucks with it. Formatting gets all kinds of screwy when you export and you have to fix it all. No just plain old highlight feature. You can annotate but you can’t just highlight? It’s not incredibly user friendly – using it requires quite a learning curve because it’s not very streamlined. For instance, in order to export, you must first go to “Chapters,” highlight the chapter you want to export and then click export. Why can’t you just go to export and pick and choose from there?
Scrivener: I’ll be completely honest and say, I haven’t played with it yet. I’ve taken a peek at it, though and I’ll tell you my initial feelings. After that, tonight I will be setting it up for my current WIP and I’ll update this post with a full review.
So here are the initial thoughts: Holy cow! The corkboard and index cards look awesome! Great for putting together research and keeping it all in one place and looks easy to get to. From other reviews, I’m hearing that it’s not as good as StoryMill for fiction writers but I have to wonder if it just depends on what type of fiction you are writing. Mine has a *ton* of research and notes. One thing that it looks like you can do with Scrivener that you can’t with StoryMill is have the webpage/file/picture actually embedded into your notes so it won’t take you out and into your web browser to see it. Nice. I’ll find out for sure tonight. LOVE that it has just a plain old highlight feature. How could something so basic have been missed in StoryMill? Cons: Looks like this takes even more time to set up and get with the program.
UPDATE: So I have to say, I love Scrivener. The corkboard is too awesome. The embedded websites are so easy, I can’t say enough good stuff. I can even embed files like my mind maps. I do miss a few features of StoryMill and it looks like I’ll probably just cut and paste chapters into it for the few features I’m missing – word usage count especially. But as a fiction writer, I have to say that Scrivener is far better for me than StoryMill.
Do you have a particular program you like to use?
Scrivener is coming to Windows! So for all those that haven’t yet seen the light and gotten a Mac, Scivener is coming to you. Check it out: Scrivener for Windows