Writing isn’t easy. It’s a special craft that takes time to hone and perfect.
Thankfully, there are many kinds of applications that can make the writing process easier as they help you be better and more efficient every day, while staying organized and focused.
Whether you’re writing an email, article, grocery list, or a full-on novel, you can complete your project with ease using a writing app.
Scrivener is a dedicated tool for writers, authors, and novelists to take their work to the next level. The special writing software allows you to compose and compile your books, and its feature-rich platform has been helping writers streamline the novel-writing process since 2007.
However, Scrivener doesn’t have real collaboration features, meaning it can be challenging to get feedback or work with others on edits.
Plus, it has a learning curve, meaning beginners may not find it easy to use, it doesn’t support Android, and is pricier than other writing apps.
If you want a solution that you can make your own, here are our top picks for the best Scrivener alternatives that will fulfill your most essential writing needs and take your work to the next level.
Best Scrivener Alternatives
Ulysses is a subscription model writing app that works similar to Scrivener in lots of ways with a focus on optimizing the writing experience.
Ulysses is minimal, has a stunning, customizable and complete toolkit, and similar experiences for desktop and mobile clients.
The app’s interface looks similar to Scrivener, but you get a different experience based on your level and interests. Scrivener’s learning curve is designed for intermediate or higher levels of writers, but Ulysses makes it easier by offering tutorials along with its features.
While it’s not as outline-friendly as Scrivener, Ulysses is a fairly standard writing tool.
You won’t struggle to organize your work or keyword labels, progress tracking, split-view capability, and your projects will be neatly lined up in the sidebar.
Plus, Ulysses makes it easy to share and post your work without any hassles. You can attach your content directly to an email or third-party sharing software to share with others.
Ulysses also integrates with WordPress, Ghost, and Medium and you can use all its features as you write your posts before publishing. You don’t have to copy and paste or import any files, and you can set up post scheduling, which helps you spread out your publishing if you do a lot of writing.
The app is more affordable than Scrivener, but only runs on Mac and iOS devices. It’s suitable for writers looking to productivity-hack their formatting. A free fully-functional trial is available that syncs to all your Macs, iPads, and iPhones.
2. Final Draft
Final Draft is a program designed for advanced screenwriters who want more in an app than just the beginner tools. Like Scrivener, this app offers standard scriptwriting features along with countless options for collaboration, comments, content analysis, and more.
You can track elements of your story, and use the inclusivity analysis feature to measure characters’ traits. Plus, you can find an arrangement that works for you using the beat board, work simultaneously in real time with other editors, and export files without any hassles.
Editing apps are available when you want to upgrade your text and tools, plus hundreds of templates to choose from. The app also paginates and formats your scripts automatically up to industry standards so you can write more.
Final Draft’s advanced tools help with brainstorming and collaboration plus you can use the customized visualizations to set pieces or store character research.
Like Scrivener, the main drawbacks with using this app are its steep learning curve and price tag. If the $250 price is beyond your budget, try other alternatives on this list until you’re able to upgrade.
A free 30-day trial is available and you can use Final Draft on Windows, macOS, and iOS devices. There’s no Android app available at this time.
If you have a story to tell and don’t want to use conventional word processors, Storyist is worth considering. Like Scrivener, Storyist offers a rich text editor and customizations for your plot, characters, and more.
The app is a powerful writing environment that’s best for screenwriters and novelists to help you keep all your writing organized and accessible so you can focus on your writing and storytelling.
Storyist also helps you produce manuscripts and screenplays that are ready for submission. It does this through support for images, comments, footers, headers, and stylesheets all of which help you format your work properly.
The app also offers templates for your screenplay and manuscripts so you don’t have to focus more on formatting than on writing.
You also get a high-level overview of your story by sketching it out using index cards and refining it with your characters, plots, and setting sheets.
Storyist also organizes your writing and stores them in the cloud for quick access. The app is feature-minimal because it’s meant to be affordable and basic especially for beginners.
A free trial is available, but the app is pricier than Scrivener and only works on Mac and iOS devices.
ProWritingAid is a platform that lets you check your grammar and style, and get in-depth reports that help you strengthen your writing.
The tool uniquely combines articles, suggestions, quizzes, and videos which make writing interactive and fun altogether.
The app is best for business writers, bloggers, fiction/nonfiction authors, content writers, and students. It works similar to Grammarly, offering a style editor, writing mentor, and grammar guru all in one.
You can check your spelling and grammar errors, though with the free version, you’re limited to a few features including using online without access to a desktop app.
Plus, the free version of the app doesn’t integrate with other programs and only scans up to 500 words in one go.
Like Scrivener, you can use ProWritingAid to improve your writing efficiently and quickly, while seeing improvements delivered in real-time while you’re writing.
Its editing tool also highlights vague wording, repetitiveness, over-dependence on adverbs, sentence length variation, and over-complicated sentence construction among other elements.
You also get a browser extension for major web browsers so you can check your writing on various sites including Gmail, Twitter, Medium, Facebook, and Wattpad among others.
The app also lets you create your own style guides and dictionaries, and see your writing in a new way via charts and graphs that offer valuable insights on variation, readability, and more.
The ProWritingAid premium version integrates with Scrivener, Google Docs, MS Word, MS Outlook, Open Office, Apple, and Final Draft, making it easy for you to edit anywhere you write.
Compared to Scrivener, the ProWritingAid program is affordably priced, with benefits such as integrations, real-time style and grammar checking, 25 reports, and access to the desktop app. You can also analyze any length of document.
ProWritingAid runs on the web, Mac, and Windows operating systems. A free trial is available with limited features and a Premium version for $59 per year or Premium + for $66 per year.
This is a simple, free word processor app that helps eliminate any distractions to help you write your books faster. The application is lightweight and basic, unlike Scrivener, which has a learning curve.
You can use FocusWriter to get back to basics and inhibit any distractions in your writing especially when you’re online and get off track while you’re doing your work. Its basic interface has tools hidden behind the screen so you may not see them until you need to use them.
There are hidden timers and alerts when you need to be reminded to stop writing. Plus, you can go into full screen mode and see a background with your text – no additional windows or toolbars.
You can also choose what your screen will look like, customize the background image to suit your project, adjust fonts, track your progress, and set timers for writing sprints.
Scrivener may be more complicated than FocusWriter, but if you want simplicity or minimalism, FocusWriter is worth considering. There are no elaborate formatting options or research notes to tinker around with so all you do is write.
FocusWriter runs on Windows and Mac, and is extremely easy and ready to use once you download it. However, it lacks editing functions beyond cut and paste and if you need to edit your work, you need to copy your work onto a word processor.
6. iA Writer
iA Writer is often compared to Ulysses because of its similarities in features such as the Markdown for formatting, but it has a simpler interface compared to Scrivener and Ulysses.
The program is also more integrated into your screen, with a minimalist design that perfectly fits in with the mission to keep you focused on your writing.
The app is best for writers who just want simplicity over style, so it doesn’t have a learning curve like Scrivener, and it’s not complicated either.
Plus, you get features such as dark mode, an upper hand toolbar, syntax highlighting so you can highlight parts of speech like verbs, nouns or adjectives and more.
iA Writer is specifically designed to facilitate your writing, and you’ll see that clearly in its setup. It’s also a definite boon for writers who are prone to distractions or are clutter-averse.
The interface is easy to use, minimalistic, and helps you keep your writing goals on track. If you’re not technically sound and want a simple tool without any distracting features based on your own skills, you can go with iA Writer over Scrivener.
iA Writer also has a free 14-day trial, and runs on Windows and Mac. It’s also cheaper than Scrivener, and charges $19.99 for Windows users or $29.99 for Mac users. Plus, there’s an Android and iOS app unlike Scrivener, which lacks an Android app.
If you’re seeking a tool to edit your writing or books before you publish, Reedsy is a great Scrivener alternative. The program is known for making the self-publishing process convenient especially for novice writers and authors, by offering a powerful editor for your books, so you can save time on editing and money on hiring an editor.
There are also human editors available through Reedsy who offer professional feedback on your draft, a pair of extra eyes to check your manuscript, or experienced editors and writing coaches.
Any books you create in Reedsy will be professional and clean, so you can upload them easily and instantaneously to any online eBook platform.
Other features include drag and drop chapters, track changes to check past book versions, and exporting to eBook retailers.
Reedsy has robust features and a stylish interface to help you customize your book’s look and feel. The tool’s quality is also a notch above compared to other alternatives including Scrivener, and offers an advanced typesetting feature that will save you lots of time in formatting your writing.
The program is free to use and you can create a shortlist in seconds by searching the platform by keyword, service, or genre.
Squibler is a text editor and writing prompt app that conforms to your liking. The program makes it easy to write so you don’t need a word processor for it, and is best for writers or authors who want to write books with a compelling outline, prose, and publish their books once done.
Unlike Scrivener, whose interface may be a bit complex for beginners and has a steep learning curve, Squibler is easy to use with drag and drop organization for your notes, chapters, and subchapters so you can get organized faster.
Plus, the program has smart note taking, which is like Grammarly’s editing tool, so that you can get your writing and readability on point. It also stores your writing projects, story elements, and eliminates writer’s block.
You can choose from more than 30 outlines to plot easier and organize your stories without any distractions. An on-screen sidebar is available to keep chapter notes and comments on the sidebar so you can focus on writing better, and a board to see your outline and rearrange your story live.
Squibler uses the same outlines of world famous writers with detailed guidance along the way. This makes it easy for you to mind map whether you’re writing long-form or free content and any other writing based on word count.
With the Squibler board, you can view your story and drag/drop anything to rearrange your story inside the board. Write better and faster using the auto-suggest feature in the Squibler editor, get rid of passive voice, enable better grammar, and improve your dictation.
Squibler syncs with Google Drive, Dropbox, and your favorite cloud storage so you can save and transfer your way across multiple platforms backed by secure technology. Plus, you can use version control, which gives you the assurance that your work is safe as the app saves every word you enter automatically.
The program is also designed for clarity whether you collaborate with many editors or write a big novel. You can also import existing work in a few clicks and then use Squibler to organize and publish it.
Squibler’s team is available 24/7 for all your queries and you can use the 30-day free trial to test run the program before upgrading to the premium version for $9.99 per month.
Sometimes a story is better said than written. If you want to dictate your words instead of writing them down, Dictation is your best bet. It’s like Scrivener in various aspects including the fact that Scrivener does the dictation part with voice recognition, so either app can listen to you speak as you write your novel.
The writing program is designed for journalists seeking simplicity on the go. Among its powerful features include the speech to text dictation and translation using voice recognition technology.
With the app, you don’t have to type any text, just dictate it and the app will translate with your speech. You can use clipboard technology and the convenience of dictate to send text messages quickly using the target app e.g. email or other services.
Some of the supported languages include English, Espanol, Deutsch, Polski, Italiano, Norsk bokmål, Portuguese, Indonesia, Catala, Suomi, and more.
The pro version offers an ad-free experience regardless of the dictation you create and costs $12.99 per year, making it cheaper than Scrivener. It also offers unlimited app usage on iOS devices and works on Mac and iPads, but not on Windows.
10. Calmly Writer
Calmly Writer is a Chrome-based writing program that helps you eliminate any distractions so you can focus on your writing. The program offers a focus mode that displays the section you’re editing and various keyboard shortcuts for hassle free and fast editing.
If you want to write on a black screen, you can enable that on Calmly Writer, plus add the typewriter sound if you prefer that. The app is easy to install via the Chrome web browser, and it’ll run as a standalone app once you download and install it.
Plus, the app runs on any platform including a Chrome book or Linux, unlike Scrivener, which is limited to Mac, Windows, and iOS and it looks great with a beautiful interface.
Compared to Scrivener, Calmly Writer lacks the bells and whistles that you may want Scrivener for, including chapter organizer, document manager, or workflow planner.
However, it can be used anywhere regardless of the platform, but you can export .txt, .docx, .html, and markdown files.
Scrivener is also clean, distraction-free, and you can organize your chapters which you will find with Calmly Writer, but fails to work on multiple platforms.
Calmly Writer is free, simple, easy to use, and unobtrusive. It also offers dark mode and adapts layout, fonts, and image sizes to your design for an optimal viewing experience regardless of the context.
Plus, your writing is saved automatically with every change you make.
11. Now Novel
The Now Novel writing tool is specifically designed to cater to novice and aspiring fiction writers with a passion to publish their books. The tool offers writers an intuitive platform that helps them as they write engaging and fun plots for their books or stories.
You can create compelling characters, craft engaging narratives, and map out story outlines by working with critiques and coaches from the Now Novel writer community.
Among its features that make it unique to fiction writers include over 400 free articles on improving your writing craft, scene builder for more structure, story dashboard to develop ideas and outlines, and coached/free writing courses by expert editors and authors.
Now Novel is simpler and cheaper compared to Scrivener to help you mold your fiction writing skills. It’s also billed at $149 per year, compared to Scrivener’s monthly plans that cost more over the long term.
Many writers work with multiple programs at a go – one to write and another for editing and taking notes.
When you find what works best for you, it’s easy to use the app or program to your advantage to gain productivity and improvement in your writing.
Any of these best Scrivener alternatives are available for different kinds of writers, each with a free version, or free trial so you can see how they work with your style or writing, and go from there.
Try a couple to find out the best one for your needs and create something wonderful and unique to share with others.