Links for Writers

Book-Writing Software

We understand that the writing process is different for everyone. We love Scrivener because we built it to work the way we do, but if you’ve tried Scrivener and found that it isn’t the best fit for you, then we hope you’ll find something useful from this list.


Scrivener

macOS | Windows | iOS

Oh wait, that’s our software! You probably already know about Scrivener if you’re reading this, but if you came to this page from an internet search or another site and haven’t tried Scrivener yet, be sure to take the free trial for a spin. Scrivener contains everything you need to craft your first draft and is used by writers of all stripes—novelists, screenwriters, biographers, journalists, students and more. Be sure to check out Scapple, too, which lets you write notes anywhere and make connections between them.


Atomic Scribbler

Windows

Atomic Scribbler lets you edit and organise your writing in a tabbed interface. Providing integrated word processing and outlining, it is perhaps the app closest to Scrivener on this list. The “Snapshots” feature of its predecessor, PageFour, was one of the inspirations for Scrivener’s own Snapshots feature (and yes, we shamelessly borrowed the feature name). Definitely worth checking out.


Dabble

macOS | Windows | Web

Dabble is a new (at the time of writing) and attractive novel-writing app that, like Scrivener, allows you to work on your manuscript in smaller sections or as a whole. It’s simple to use and has some nifty and innovative planning features. Dabble is available on a subscription basis.


Liquid Story Binder

Windows

The developers of Liquid Story Binder had a similar idea to the one that inspired Scrivener: allow writers to store and view their research in the same application as they do their writing. It lets you view pictures and multiple files, and features a decent labelling system along with various other tools aimed at the creative writer. Sadly it has not been updated for several years, but since it represents a unique approach to writing software, we figure it is still worthy of a link.


NewNovelist

Windows

Unlike most of the other apps listed here, NewNovelist is based on following a rigid story structure—Chris Vogler’s twelve-step interpretion of Joseph Campbell’s work on the “hero’s journey”. We list it here mainly because it was one of the initial sparks of inspiration for Scrivener—upon trying it, Keith, Scrivener’s creator, realised that he wanted something with a similar structured sidebar, but which made no assumptions about the structure itself.


Ulysses

macOS | iOS

Ulysses was one of the first programs on the Mac aimed specifically at creative writers, and was also among the first to offer full-screen writing. It’s a beautiful piece of software based on a strong design philosophy of simplicity and plain text editing using markup. Ulysses is available on a monthly subscription basis.


WriteItNow

Windows | macOS

WriteItNow was one of the earliest apps aimed specifically at novel writers, being built around a chapter-and-scene structure. It provides hierarchical organisation of your work and some powerful research tools.


WriteWay Pro

Windows

WriteWay Pro is a designed to be a professional writer's tool, and was among the first apps dedicated to novel writing. It restricts you to using Acts, Chapters and Scenes, but other than that it is fairly freeform, with a "scratch pad" for storing ideas or scenes you don't know what to do with. It has decent word processing capabilities, although it is fairly rigid in its approach to structure. WriteWay Pro is available for free these days, and is no longer being actively developed. We wish the developer a happy retirement.


YWriter

Windows 

yWriter is a free application which helps writers organise their work into chapters and scenes. A freeform tool that doesn’t impose plot ideas, yWriter focuses on helping the author keep track of characters, locations, point-of-view, notes—and more—all in one application.

Word Processors

While the applications in our “Book-Writing Software” links section are more about developing ideas and getting words down, word processors tend to focus on the way text looks on the page. Many writers will want both types of app in their arsenal. You already know about Word and Pages, so we’ll focus here on independent and lesser-know word processors.


Bean

macOS

Bean is a lightweight word processor which provides the main features required for creating everyday documents. It’s fast to open, well-designed, easy to use—and completely free. Although development of new features ceased some time ago, the developer makes an effort to keep it up to date with modern Macs. If you're looking for a simple and free alternative to TextEdit, Bean might be a good choice.


LibreOffice

macOS | Windows

Although we generally don’t link to major well-known programs, many people don’t know where the majority of OpenOffice's development went. As with OpenOffice—its predecessor—this office suite has no qualms about being big and bulky, but if you want to make a spreadsheet or open a .docx file without subscribing to Office 365, LibreOffice is a workable alternative. Developed by volunteers from all over the world, it's one of the more active open source projects around.


Mellel

macOS | iOS

Mellel has its own way of doing things (such as in its use of styles), making its learning curve a little steeper than much of the software on this list. It is this uniqueness that is its greatest draw, though—many academics swear by Mellel. It is well known for its stability when handling very long documents and for its superb multi-language support.


Nisus Writer Pro

macOS

Nisus Writer has a great reputation that goes back long before OS X; its fans have have been calling it the best word processor out there since OS 9. At first glance it doesn’t look radically different from Word, so switchers will be right at home—but Nisus does everything in a very “Mac” way. It’s beautifully designed, easy to use, and has all of the features you would expect from a top-tier word processor, including good tables support, margin comments, footnotes and change tracking. If you’re looking for a better word processor, you would do well to give Nisus a test drive.

Text Editors

The line between text editors and word processors is often a little blurry, but the apps listed here all focus on simplicity, deliberately omitting many of the formatting and presentation features found in word processors in favour of getting your words down with as few distractions as possible.


Q10

Windows

Q10 is a free, lightweight, full-screen plain text editor with many useful tools for writers. Its features include live text statistics, customisable page count calculation, writing goals, autosave, timed writing sessions, inline comments, and more. As a place for focusing on single documents, its isolated full-screen implementation is great for blocking out distractions.


Writemonkey

Windows

Writemonkey is a free app that presents a stripped down and isolated space for pure writing. Although plain text, it supports Markdown, making it easy to export formatted documents. Its focus is on writing rather than editing, based on the idea of reducing distractions to increase writing quality and speed.


WriteRight

iOS

WriteRight makes text editing easy and beautiful while you're on the go. In addition to offering the basic features you would expect from a text editor, it can also recognise synonyms and antonyms, conjugations and tenses.


WriteRoom

macOS

WriteRoom is dedicated to distraction-free writing using a beautiful full-screen mode. If you want to work on a single document without any distractions, WriteRoom is where it's at. (And if the idea behind WriteRoom seems familiar, that’s because it has a number of popular imitators.)

Scriptwriting Software

You can write all sorts of scripts in Scrivener, including screenplays, stage plays and comic books. When you’re done, you can print or export to popular scriptwriting file formats such as FDX and Fountain. At that point, professional screenwriters may wish to add some finishing layout touches in a dedicated screenwriting package—which is where the apps below come in.


Fade In Pro

macOS | Windows | iOS

Becoming ever more popular among screenwriters, Fade In Pro works with FDX and Fountain files. It can even import Scrivener projects directly, meaning that you don’t have to compile your screenplay in Scrivener to add the finishing flourishes in Fade In Pro.


Final Draft

macOS | Windows | iOS

Final Draft has long been the industry standard when it comes to screenwriting. If you’re developing a script in Scrivener, exporting to Final Draft is the still the conventional way of preparing for submission or production.


Highland

macOS

Highland is a distraction-free screenwriting app designed around Fountain, the plain text screenwriting format that has gained a lot of traction in recent years. It’s basically a beautiful Markdown-like app but for screenwriters.


Movie Magic Screenwriter

Windows | macOS

Although Final Draft remains unsurpassed as the industry standard, Movie Magic Screenwriter is well-established and has developed a strong following in the industry too.

Planning & Research

For your writing projects, planning tools such as a fully-featured outliner and corkboard are integrated right into Scrivener. If you want to supplement these, though, here are some other great planning and outlining packages.


Scapple

macOS | Windows

Scapple is our own freeform-thinking app. Ever scribbled ideas on a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts? Then you already know what Scapple does. It's a virtual sheet of paper that lets you make notes anywhere and connect them using lines or arrows.


Aeon Timeline

macOS | Windows

Aeon Timeline started life as a discussion between users on our forums. One of our users wanted timeline software that he could use to support his writing in Scrivener, but it soon became a lot more—Aeon Timeline is now a popular and fully-featured app that supports timeline creation for creative writers and businesses. It works well with Scrivener, too.


ConnectedText

Windows

This research, information manager and creativity tool brings the power of wiki-style connective thought to your computer. Its unique features can be used as a research assistant or even as a standalone writing program.


DEVONthink

macOS

DEVONthink is a robust database for organising research with basic writing tools built in. If you need a system that can wrangle thousands of sources or gigabytes of material, this is definitely worth checking out. Many Scrivener users use DEVONthink as their research repository, bringing research and notes from DEVONthink into Scrivener when they are ready to begin a writing project.


Gingko

All platforms—online app

Gingko provides a unique and powerful way of outlining and noting down ideas, allowing you to develop your thoughts using a combination of an outline, lists and cards. Unlike traditional outlines, which work from top to bottom, Ginkgo works from left to right. You create cards for your ideas in a column, each of which can sprout related cards in an adjacent column, forming a sort of horizontal tree of ideas. Gingko is free for a limited number of cards, and then subscription-based after that.


OmniOutliner

macOS

OmniOutliner is probably the most powerful—and certainly the most popular—outlining tool available for the Mac. It’s so good, that at one point the basic version even came free with new Macs, and it provided inspiration for some of the outlining capabilities of Scrivener. It’s a great staging area for new ideas, and using the OPML format you can easily move your outlines into Scrivener.


Outline 4D

Windows

Outline 4D (previously StoryView) is an intriguing app and is potentially very powerful. It is essentially an outliner & timeline, except that as well as being able to view your story synopsis in a traditional outliner, you can also view it as a hiearchical storyboard. So at the top, you have a very wide box that may be a description of your book as a whole; beneath that, you might have three boxes describing the three main sections of the book; and beneath each of those, you might have several boxes describing the chapters in each part—and so on. Definitely worth trying out.


TaskPaper

macOS

TaskPaper is an easy-to-use and beautiful to-do list app that takes a similar approach to Markdown-based writing methods in how it stores your lists as simple plain text files. It’s incredibly flexible, making it simple to jot down and manage anything from minor tasks to major projects.


Things

macOS | iOS

Things is a beautiful task manager that allows you to collect your thoughts quickly, organise them into projects, and work out your goals and the steps needed to achieve them.


TinderBox

macOS

Tinderbox is an app that almost defies definition. It’s a personal information assistant that’s a little like a mindmap, timeline and outline on steroids, allowing you to track relationships between ideas using a visual approach. Its incredible flexibility means that it can be used to plan almost anything. The more technically-minded can even set up automation and take advantage of its built-in programming language. TinderBox has excellent support for Scrivener projects, so if you need to dig deep into the components of your draft or research, this might be the tool for the job.

Other Apps to Support Your Writing

Grammarly

Web service

Grammarly is a popular web-based service that boasts a comprehensive grammar and spell-checking system.


iTextEditors

This community-built list offers exhaustive feature comparisons between popular iOS text editors. If you're looking for a specific set of features, this is the list to go to. Maintained by Brett Terpstra, the maker of Marked. (Of course, the best app on the list is Scrivener for iOS!)


Marked

macOS

For those who prefer to write in Markdown rather than use rich text, Marked provides a simple way of viewing a "live" preview of your text, no matter what app you write in. What really makes Marked shine for Scrivener MultiMarkdown users is that it can open your project while you work on it, presenting a formatted version of your draft as you write. It comes with a good selection of beautiful styles in which it can present your text, and makes it easy to add your own CSS.


ProWritingAid

Web service

ProWritingAid is another popular web-based service that provides tools for grammar-checking and manuscript editing.


Reference Managers

There are several great standalone reference managers for handling citations and generating bibliographies that work well with Scrivener's RTF output. If you are working in a field that requires citation and bibliography generation, be sure to check out the tools below:


TextExpander

macOS | iOS

TextExpander is an invaluable tool that allows you to set up snippets of oft-typed text and associate them with a short sequence of letters or numbers. For instance, every time I type “llit” in any app, TextExpander kicks in and replaces those four letters with our web address, http://www.literatureandlatte.com—which really is handy when you didn’t have the foresight to pick yourself an easier-to-type URL.

Self-Publishing

While many of us perhaps dream of winning a six-figure advance in a bidding war between publishers, an increasing number choose to self-publish. Perhaps you want to bypass traditional publishing methods, or maybe you just want to hand your first readers a beautifully-bound book rather than a stack of pages. Whatever your reasons, there are some great self-publishing options out there.


BookBaby

BookBaby is a leading ebook publishing company for independent authors. It provides services aimed at making it easy to sell through Amazon, Apple iBooks, the Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and more.


Blurb

Blurb provides services for self-publishing photo books, trade books, magazines, ebooks and more.


CreateSpace

A subsidiary of Amazon.com, CreateSpace makes it easy to self-publish professional-looking books, providing many services that would be difficult to access otherwise. Quality print-on-demand, ebook publishing, marketing, and graphic design services are all available. Even better, Scrivener can compile PDF files tailored for CreateSpace submission specifications.


IngramSpark

IngramSpark provides a simple system for print-on-demand and ebook publishing. They also help authors connect with retailers and can help with promotion.


Lulu

Lulu remains one of the most popular self-publishing solutions. Upload a book in PDF format (although it supports other formats too), choose the specifications, and order as many—or as few—copies as you wish.


Do It Yourself

If you're feeling adventurous and have some time on your hands, why not try a spot of bookbinding yourself? Hamish MacDonald describes how he binds his own books here, and the results are breathtaking.

Writing & Literature Websites

The Gutenberg Project

An amazing repository of free ebooks. Volumes upon volumes of public-domain classic literature can be searched and read online, from Dante Alighieri to Émile Zola.


NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month was the crazy idea of a man named Chris Baty, who decided one year to set aside the month of November and write a 50,000-word novel, quality be damned. The idea caught on, and now thousands of writers all over the globe spend their Novembers in a coffee and keyboard frenzy. NaNoWriMo is a fantastic venture with a lively forum and local events for getting together with other (insane) writers in your community. Scrivener gained its first users on the NaNoWriMo boards, and we’ve been enthusiastic sponsors of the event for years.


NiaD

If you thought trying to write a novel in a month was a mad man’s dream, what about writing a novel in a day? Well, “Novel in a Day” is exactly what NiaD stands for. It’s not quite as impossible as it sounds, however—one day each year, a number of writers come together to write a chapter of a book each. NiaD is the brainchild of a Scrivener user (moniker: Pigfender) and is still predominantly run on the L&L forums. It’s usually run in October as a warm-up for National Novel Writing Month. As you’d imagine, the finished books are somewhat disjointed, but it’s a lot of fun.

We do not profit from any of the links on this page.
(Please note that we do not accept link requests, so please do not email us asking to be included.)