Avon Van Hassel

Building Worlds and Filling Them With Magic

Ok, so, you want to take the plunge and get Scrivener. Good choice, I approve. It’s a gamechanger.

But the programme for your Mac or PC is $50 for Mac, $45 for Windows, and $80 for both (unless you won NaNo and got the discount code) and the app for iOS is $20. Ouch, I hear you. I have the Windows version on my laptop and the app on my iPad, so here’s my breakdown of what’s great and not so great about each.

Just to get it out of the way early: yes, I am an affiliate for Scrivener. No, I am not raking in dough every month because of it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve made anything at all from it. But I do love it, so it’s not gross to promote it. I see it as my responsibility to inform people like me of a product that will help them, and help out a company that has helped me.


Scrivener is basically a souped up word processor/binder/so much more. So, if you have Microsoft Word and Evernote and many many copies of different drafts if your stories, do you even need Scrivener? Maybe not, but wouldn’t it be nice to have it all in one place?

But the purpose of this article isn’t to pitch Scrivener as a whole, but to help you decide which version is right for you. I do wish there was a way for people who had bought the desktop version to get a discount on the app, but I don’t know what bureaucratic hoops would be involved in that, so for the time being, let’s assume it’s one or the other. I also wish there was a version for Android, and we are promised one sometime in 2018 (that’s not a typo, I checked. We are late by nearly 2 years), but until then, we’ll have to make some choices.

Firstly, the device you have. I was never much for typing on my phone, and still only do it as a last resort. So, if you don’t have an iPad, I’d say right off, stick with the desktop. If you’re cool with your phone or have an iPad, read on.

Secondly, what kind of physical space do you have? I travel a lot, which means I’m on planes a lot, and the seatback tables make typing on my laptop a real inconvenience, to the point of being nearly impossible. That was my primary motivation for buying an iPad in the first place: I need something more portable, and iPad won out over Galaxy Note because it could run Scrivener. I was lucky enough to snag it when Prime was having a big sale.

So, if space isn’t an issue, then the desktop is grand, and if you need something more portable, go with the app.

Thirdly, features. Scrivener has A Lot of features. An overwhelming amount of features. It’s great if you’re a control freak like me and like to make sure everything is absolutely perfect, but if that sounds scary, there’s a solution. The desktop version has everything, it is full service. It even has a tutorial to get you started and every fresh document also has tutorials. The app is much more streamlined. The trouble with that is that it takes a fair bit of random tapping sometimes to see if it can do what you want it to do. That being said, the bells and whistles that are missing from the app won’t improve or impede your story or process, they’re really very surface level mods that would probably slow it down or make it too big and clumsy a file. I don’t really miss them.

So, there you have it. If you’re landlocked and you like full power at your fingertips, it’s the desktop for you. If you travel and only need the basics (and already have the iPad), go with the app. Obviously, the best choice is both (and they sync through Dropbox, so you never lose your work), but if you’re between checks, are a casual writer, or just resent buying the same programme twice, I hope this has helped.

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