Update on Software Reviewed for Writers

There are many software tools that are better for novels, screenplays and research reports than a word processor alone. They provide more functionality and facility to assist the writer with those specific tasks. Because Mac users are known to be creative and artistic types, TMO has embarked on a project to formally review the major contenders in this category of software. 

Here are the Mac applications that have been reviewed to date:

  1. StoryMill Takes a Novel Approach 03 April 2009
  2. Scrivener Brings Out the Scribbler 07 April 2009
  3. Ulysses is a Heroic Writer's Application 15 April 2009.

StoryMill, from Mariner Software, received a TMO score of four out of five. It's strengths are managing the overall, strategic structure of a novel, especially when critical timelines must be managed. It has great documentation and help. However, it is a very technical program that may make some writers feel constrained. It's about average in text management.

Scrivener, from Literature & Latte, was the second app in the series to be reviewed. It has a less rigid structure, feels more friendly, free wheeling, and approachable. It's particularly strong on text manipulation. It also received a four out of five rating. If I were embarking on a novel, this one is my favorite so far, but there are many more apps to look at.

quill and pen

The most recent program reviewed was Ulysses from Blue Technologies Group. It's more ambitious than Scrivener and, as a result, suffers a little with trying to manage its own strengths. Also, the documentation was inadequate. For a variety of reasons, detailed in the review, it failed to meet expectations and received a 2.5 out of five rating. However, the publisher is readying version 2.0 and expects to solve many of the problems identified in the review. Ulysses has a lot of potential, but its style for semantic formating may not be for everyone.

Next up will be Jer's Novel Writer followed by Storyist 2.0. Storyist 1.6 is shipping, but version 2.0 is close to completion, and that's the version that will be reviewed. After that, possibly on the calendar will be CopyWrite and maybe Celtx to finish up the series.

If you have any requests for writer's software to be reviewed, especially those which are geared towards novel and screenplay writing -- as opposed to strictly technical writing with formulas, etc. -- send an e-mail to marty@macobserver.com. Technical writing software, geared to the scientist and researcher, may be covered at some future date.