5 Best Scrivener Alternatives

Are you looking for a professional word processor that will organize your work? Scrivener is probably the most popular writing software available today.

However, there are several alternatives to Scrivener, which are equally good or perhaps better than Scrivener. This article will share such 5 Scrivener Alternatives, both paid and free, that will help you finish your next book writing project effortlessly.

If you are a regular LetterJunction reader, you must be aware that I love to review tools that claim to make writers’ lives easier. But not all are equally useful. So, I will share only those Scrivener alternatives that at least have some USP.

I will be delighted if this review helps you to choose your best book writing software. But, before that, I will share my story.

Why Did I Look For A Scrivener Alternative?

Scrivener is a hugely popular word processor developed by Literature & Latte. Indeed it is a fantastic writing tool with features suitable for any long-form writing project like book, novel, and thesis writing.

And with a single time payment of $45, it was a value for money until I started writing.

Firstly, Scrivener is a pretty difficult software for a newbie like me. It requires a steep learning curve, and I was spending more time watching the tutorials than focusing on my project.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who faced this problem. You are probably looking for a Scrivener alternative due to the same reason.

Secondly, book writing is rarely a solo writing project. Often we share our files between co-authors and editors. Scrivener doesn’t have an efficient mechanism to share live projects.

You can share projects via Dropbox accounts, but the methodology is extremely inefficient and often creates confusion between writers.

Thirdly, the compatibility issue between Mac and Windows users make projects more complicated than they are. Why as an end-user, we have to worry about these technical problems?

Last but not least, being a non-native English writer, I often rely on Grammarly for regular editing and proofreading. Unfortunately, Scrivener does not support Grammarly. It’s a long-standing problem that has not been addressed even in the latest version of Scrivener.

I am aware of ProWritingAid, which is supported by Scrivener, but ProWritingAid is not as efficient as Grammarly.

Scrivener is absolutely a perfect writing tool if you are a savvy writer who doesn’t require peers’ help. However, for others, there are better alternatives than Scrivener.

Best Paid Scrivener Alternatives

The internet is full of options. Below are 3 best paid alternatives to Scrivener.

1. Novlr

novlr best scrivener alternative

Novlr is a cloud-based novel writing software developed to keep your writing process comfortable. The aesthetically pleasing interface is clean and allows you to breathe easily.

So, what makes Novlr special?

Writing is the main focus of this Scrivener alternative. A minimalist, distraction-free environment will definitely attract your attention. Moreover, it has an ambient dependent color setting, which makes writing even more relaxing.

Novlr supports Chapter and Scene organization. This facility helps you to break down your writing into small parts. Moreover, it allows you to keep track of the plot and characters. If you are switching from Scrivener, you will be very familiar with these features.

Novlr includes an inbuilt grammar enhancement and writing style suggestion tool. Though the tool performs decently, it is not at par with Grammarly.

Anyway, having an inbuilt proofreading tool is always a bonus.

Another feature that makes Novlr unique is its analytics. It allows you to keep track of your regular progress. Daily and monthly goals keep the writer motivated for long writing projects.

It provides you a facility to sync your work to Google Drive and Dropbox. You can also share a read-only version of your manuscript with your co-authors and editors.

Other worth mentioning features are autosaving facility, working from anywhere, access to expert advice, and the ability to design book covers right from the editor.

No doubt, all these features come with a price tag. A monthly subscription costs $10 per month, and for an annual subscription, you need to pay $100 per year.

Try Novlr free for 2 weeks.

Pros

  • Plan your writing easily on Novlr.
  • Keep a close eye on your performance and set personalized goals.
  • Get suggestions for different writing styles.
  • Auto grammar check.
  • Easily publish your book or article.
  • Autosave facility for every revision.
  • Separate note section for every element.
  • Free trial period.

Cons

  • May not be suitable for bloggers.
  • Limited export file format.
  • Mobile version not available at the time of writing this article.

2. LivingWriter

LivingWriter

LivingWriter is the best Scrivener alternative I have ever used. You can read my detailed review here. It’s a cloud-based writing software that has addressed all my concerns.

The interface is so intuitively designed that you don’t need any learning curve. Moreover, an introduction screen makes you comfortable with all the essential features.

Once you start writing, it automatically keeps on saving your documents. Version history control makes the version management very easy.

Do you want to collaborate with co-authors? LivingWriter can take care of such situations also. It allows you to share your live chapters or the whole story with your peers. Moreover, you can restrict the view, comment, and editing permissions of your co-authors.

This is the most complete and hassle-free sharing facility I have ever used in such software.

Like Scrivener, it also supports chapter-wise notes, subchapters, prebuilt templates, and virtual cardboard. All these features help to organize your concepts, plots, and characters in a single place.

Another unique feature of this modern book-writing software is “smart text.”

Does LivingWriter support Grammarly? Yes!

The only drawback of this software is that it does not have a desktop app. However, with the advent of the internet, I don’t think it will be a major problem for most of us.

LivingWriter is available for a monthly subscription of $10. A yearly subscription costs $8/month.

Enjoy no commitment 30 days free trial with access to all its features.

Pros

  • Auto-save feature to record every word you write.
  • Easily retrieve your previous versions.
  • Unique autocomplete feature for objects and characters.
  • Efficient collaboration feature.
  • Integration with Grammarly editing tools.
  • One-click export to Word or PDF.
  • Cloud-based platform. 

Cons

  • You can’t hide the left sidebar which may distract sometimes.  
  • Not suitable for script and screenwriting.

3. Dabble Writer

Dabble writer

Another cloud-based writer, Dabble, is the third entry in my list.

I have found that the developer has tried hard to make the software comfortable for writers. As it is not overloaded with features, you will be able to start writing quickly without getting distracted by features.

Sometimes, it may feel like a stripped-down version of a very popular word processor.

If you are switching from Scrivener, which has almost all the features that you may or may not require, you will find Dabble writer to be more productive with limited features.

Another aspect that attracted my attention is its strong community support. The forum is really active and always suggests new features and improvements.

Other features that I should mention here are NaNoWriMo word tracker, Cloud Sync, Prologues and epilogues, and inbuilt Spelling and Grammar checking tool. However, the grammar checker is not very efficient.

When writing this review, Dabble does not support versioning and co-authoring facilities, but they are planning to incorporate those features in future updates.

With all these features, Dabble subscription costs between $10/month and $20/month. However, considering its features, I would say it is a little expensive compared to other products.

Pros

  • Simple interface and intuitively designed dashboard.
  • Help through chat.
  • Inbuilt grammar checker.
  • Story notes section for the ease of writers.
  • The free trial.

Cons

  • The biggest limitation of this application is -One font and only one font color.
  • You can’t import content from other resources.
  • No bullet points or highlight options.
  • Here you will find only one format which is suitable for novels only. You can’t find any format for screenplays, short stories, scripts, and other writing streams.

Best Free Alternatives to Scrivener

Often we want to practice our skills without much expense. Let’s have a look to find the best free Scrivener alternatives.

1. Manuskript

manuskript dashboard

Manuskript is an open-source word-processing software for novelists, writers, students, and journalists. It has almost all the features that you may require during your writing with a clean interface.

It provides an Outliner that can hierarchically organize your thoughts. Distraction-free mode improves your productivity by cutting all the clutter.

Set your writing goal in either word count or time to keep yourself motivated during long project hours. Another worth mentioning feature is “Novel assistant.” It allows you to grow your idea into a coherent plot using a popular method known as the “snowflake method.”

If you are looking for a free Scrivener alternative, you must try it once. However, don’t expect cloud collaboration and other advanced features in this software.

Pros

  • An open-source tool; you can access it from any platform.
  • “Novel assistant” option is available to enhance the quality of writings.
  • Dark theme mode, advanced spell checker, and new language translation features are provided. 
  • You can easily export files to numerous formats like .epub, .odt, .docx, .pdf.
  • Provides a proper format to structure your work.
  • “Frequency Analyzer” is provided which allows you to check the frequency of a particular word. This feature is quite useful if you write SEO friendly content.

Cons

  • If you use graphs in your content then there is a possibility of a mismatch when you export the files.
  • If you are not too tech-friendly then you may find it difficult to install the program from a zip file. 
  • The first project creation may be a bit time taking for some users. But once you get friendly with this software then you would be able to create projects quickly with great perfection.

2. Quoll Writer

Quoll writer

Quoll Writer has been a popular word processing program and outliner for authors for several years. It offers an organizing system for information, notes, and documents. This enables the user to store information, ideas, notes, and research for easier reference and organization.

Quoll Writer is a power-packed word processing software for Windows users. I have always been searching for free writing software that matches the functionalities of Scrivener, and Quoll Writer is a perfect fit.

It provides some features that are not even available in some paid software. A minimalist interface helps you to focus more on your projects. Easy chapter and subchapter management, annotation, and asset creation tab help you to manage your project in one place.

A highly configurable full-screen mode is ideal for distraction-free writing.

Quoll Writer includes a “Problem Finder” that can identify several writing issues. Moreover, you can configure these rules according to your interest.

Surprisingly, this free software lets you share your work, chat and comment with your editor.

The only drawback of this software is: it is limited to Windows users only. So, if you are a Windows user, look no further. I’m sure Quoll Writer will be helpful for you.

Pros

  • “Editors’ Service” and “Problem Finder” are provided to assist you with different kinds of writings.
  • Spell checker and synonym lookup.
  • Plenty of options for the font, font size, line spacing, and text alignment. 
  • Strong encryption 

Cons

  • You may find some bugs in the display.
  • You have to invest some time to learn all the features of this application.
  • Currently available for Windows platform only.

My Final Thoughts: Scrivener Alternative

Will I Ever Switchback to Scrivener?

As a writer, we try to utilize every moment to produce quality content. We work for our readers even when we are commuting between cities, visiting friends, or waiting for a client in a coffeehouse. Therefore, our writing tool should be user-friendly and productive. 

Scrivener is a feature-rich product that needs a design reshaping.

As of today, I’m not in a mood of going back to Scrivener. I have been a Scrivener fan for a long time. But LivingWriter has completely changed my workflow as far as my casual writing is concerned. I know it has some limitations and can not replace an industry leader but for self-publishing writers, it is a highly recommended product.

What is your favorite Scrivener alternative? Comment in the section below.

2 thoughts on “5 Best Scrivener Alternatives”

  1. I’ve been a Scrivener user for years, but the challenge I have with it is their silly obsession with Dropbox for syncing across devices.. it’s practically a “religion” if reading their support blog.

    For my casual stuff, that is fine, I don’t mind. For my professional writing, proposals for defense contracts, I can’t use the thing.

    LivingWriter has some intrigue for me, hosted in AWS is a plus, they appear to have a desktop version in the works and integration with Grammarly Premium would be an excellent bonus. I suspect I’ll be upgrading when that comes about. Cloud apps are fine, but I travel in my RV 3 months a year, I can’t always rely on Internet access, nor can I at home in Northern California, where the power itself is unstable and unreliable.

    Reply
    • Thanks Scott for your reply. I strongly recommend LivingWriter for your professional writing. However, for the defense proposals, I won’t recommend any cloud apps. I always prefer Latex for my projects and papers.

      Reply

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