yWriter vs Scrivener: The Followup

Haven’t posted much lately on account of being super busy. I’m still hitting the writing goals, just haven’t made much time for this.

I still get the occasional hit on my post where I asked for opinions on yWriter vs Scrivener. So presumably other people have that same question. I thought I would answer my own question here for future readers.

I decided to go with Scrivener. While I liked some of the other side features better on yWriter, I decided I liked using the actual writing tool with Scrivener a lot more. And that is the main purpose of either tool. The extra bells and whistles may be different, the text editor aspect remains king for me.

My advice would be to take each tool and write a few thousand word short story with it to get the feel for how they work.

yWriter Pros:

Price (Free!)

Scrivener Pros:

Text Editor
Export to EPub

Ultimately I decided $40 was a small price to pay for the tool I liked better. If the money is an issue for you, yWriter will serve you just as well. Either of the apps are great tools for writing. Take your pick, you won’t be disappointed.

-Keep Writing

Author: Joshua

Joshua is a writer of SFF, leaning more to the fantasy side of the genre. Travel the road with me as I tell the stories.

6 thoughts on “yWriter vs Scrivener: The Followup”

    1. At it’s heart, it’s a word processor. But it also has a lot of amazing writer centric tools.

      It has a great interface for organizing your novel. You can drag pieces to another part of your novel if you feel it would fit better later.

      It does automatic backups of your projects. It has a bunch of writer centric tools added into it. Exporting right into EPub is fantastic (created this file with it https://joshuadevans.com/free-fiction/the-battle-for-targon-keep/targon-epub/) It’s a writing tool for writers, not office productivity.

  1. I’ve used yWriter5 for several years now. I’ve completed several short stories and have several novels under way. I got yWriter originally because it was free, and yes, I’m a bit of a cheapskate. Free is excellent. yWriter does everything quite well. I started using it on Windows XP, then Vista and now Linux Mint 17.3. There is no native yWriter for Linux yet, however the instructions they give on the yWriter website for running it on Linux work very well. I keep several backups of my work on backup hard drives and flash drives. My main files stay on Dropbox. I have very rarely lost any of my work but it has happened. A sentence maybe, or even a paragraph once. My fault, usually.
    I’ve looked at Scrivener for PC. I have the free intro and start it up now and then. It’s very slick, but so far I haven’t seen much that makes it worth paying for above yWriter. Scrivener does have a Linux version. I have also tried Power Structure and Storyweaver (paid) software. They seem marvelous, but really don’t seem to work intuitively for me the way yWriter does. Another one I have that has possibilities is Writer’s Cafe. That is more like a suite of writer’s programs that looks interesting. It has free and paid versions.
    I occasionally write plays, for those I use Celtx. They have a nice bundle of applications for scriptwork, mostly paid and online. However I use their free version locally on my laptop since I don’t need to collaborate particularly. Check them out if you have interest in screenplays and film production, though.
    I’ve also played with mind-mapping software. It intrigues me as a brainstorming tool, but I can’t really seem to get into it.
    For collecting ideas I like to use Evernote, since it is fast and easy and works on all my devices. There isn’t a Linux version, but there is an online version working through both Firefox and Chrome that works quite well when I’m on my laptop. That’s okay because if I’m using my laptop, I’m usually on wifi, if I’m not then it’s only a little less convenient to check Evernote on my smartphone.
    For some of us, though, and I do mean me, the proliferation of tools often means we spend more time playing at organizing than we do actually writing. If you just want to get the story down, and especially if you’re a pantser as opposed to a plotter, then a regular word processor will let you do that. I still use Word a lot. I have the 2000 version that still works quite well and I run it on a Windows emulator on my Linux machine. I also have Libre Office, a free alternative that is much newer and compatible with Word documents. I just know Word the best and I’ll keep using it as long as it works. I’m stubborn that way. Old dogs/new tricks and so on.
    Beyond that, there are programs such as Zen Writer and Omm Writer and the like that give you an even simpler text editor with even less formatting options and buttons to get in the way. Just fire it up and write in a clean space with no distracting choices to keep you from composing. Some even offer quiet music for the background.
    I’ve dabbled with all of these now and then, and still play with them a little. However, since my novels and shorts have been parts of series it really helps to have a tool like yWriter that keeps things like storyboard, characters, places, objects and so on easily available.

    1. Thanks for the post William! (And sorry it took me so long to approve.)

      Yeah, can definitely get overwhelmed with the number of options and places you can keep it all. Glad yWriter is working out for you.

      1. I’m still using yWriter5 on my Linux Mint. Still does the job. As a bit of update, Scrivener put out a couple of releases for Linux and then stopped updating it. They left it as available for free, though. They post a link on their official site that leads one to another site to download it. It’s not up to date, and I think they based it on the Windows version, a few less bells and whistles than the Mac version. Still, even if not up to date it seems to do pretty much what anyone might need. If I had found that before getting started with yWriter I might have gone that way. I do dust Scrivener Linux off and fiddle with it now and then though. I may still switch at some point. I’ll probably do as you say and write a short story with it to really wring it out. I like having more than one option. You never know when a company will turn tail and leave you with orphan software. Especially when you mostly use free software. I once switched all my email to a free “lifetime” email provider that lasted about a year! As I once told my mother when encouraging to write her memoir, “paper and pencil still work quite well!”

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