Moving from Scrivener to Ulysses

These Topic is for sharing our stories of making the switch.

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After years of using Scrivener as my primary writing tools, and 4.5 novels later, I have become frustrated with the application.

It seems that Literature and Latte have become overwhelmed with trying to keep it up to-date with the changes in Mac OS and iOS. It is really sad, since I really loved it.

Yesterday after having spent most of the morning trying to figure out why the iPad app was crashing constantly, I began to reflect on how many really big problems I have been having with Scrivener over the past year: crashes, corrupted and missing files, and the list goes on.

Then I found a remark from Scrivener Tech Support advising users not to use the mobile app, but to use a MacBook Pro, because their projects were large (actually less than 100mb.) Before getting my new iPad Pro I was easily syncing and working on projects larger than 300mb with no trouble. The tone of the reply was rather snarky.

Since I had heard about Scrivener from Andy Ihnatko I decided to try his other favorite. I read some of the Scrivener - Ulysses comparison reviews and decided to give it a try. I really hate the idea of having another subscription, but I guess I should just give up and admit that I have loved my Office subscription.

There is currently a 14 day free period, so I figured that I would work with it for that time and cancel it before the payment kicked in. The mobil apps are included in the subscription.

I loaded in my current novel. It was so easy, I loaded in all my past novels, so they would be there for easy reference. (I write in one universe, but sorry, not SiFi.) Then I loaded in all the Novels which are in progress. That is a total of 1.5GB of files. It all seamlessly synced to my phone and iPad. I had to go back and forth between Scrivener and Ulysses to get this done. I ended up very happy with Ulysses and even more irritated with Scrivener.

After a whole 24 hours with Ulysses:
There is a very good tutorial, written with humor.
The UI is very sleek and intuitive
Learning Markdown is fun
Does everything I liked about Scrivener.
Doesn’t have the bells and whistles I never used in Scrivener.
It syncs through iCloud, so I can get away from dropbox completely.

@Leo Thank Andy for me! Said as I type on the keyboard he recommend.


Good luck with the move!

What books are you writing? I found “the accidental Texan”, “Madeline: the missing years” and “The sixth daughter” on Amazon Germany. I see the 6th daughter is the second in a saga, but is the only title available.

Am I looking at the right books?

Yes, those are the right books.

When I published the Accidental Texan, I wasn’t sure that there would be more in that story line. The Sixth Daughter is the second one, and I am currently working on the third. The Saga is about three women, Their storylines come together in book three. I am planning a few more following them as their lives cross and recross. It was originally only going to be one book, but when I got to a million words, I realized I had to break it up. So I went back to the beginning and started giving each person her own part of telling the story. Each book is a stand alone story.

Madeline, the Missing Years is a spinoff. People who read TAT kept asking me about a mysterious character, so I took the time to tell her story. I am thinking about doing another Madeline book someday.

You seemed to have missed one book: The Ten Year Divorce. Amazon has me listed as Sandra L. Pirtle for that one. I guess I should go in and edit it so that they names come up the same. That one is my personal favorite. It is not in the Saga at all, but if you read it you can see that I was watching too much as I was writing it.

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OK. I’ll have a look at TAT and TTYD when I get a chance.

It is a shame that it isn’t available in German, it sounds right up my wife’s street, but she doesn’t understand English.

My readership isn’t large enough. Maybe one day.

That reminds me of a story.
I was working on a ship in Bremerhaven, when the supercargo and I got into a fight over how high the cargo could be stacked in the hole. I don’t know more than a few words of German, and we quickly exhausted his English. We went to the chief mate’s office so he could interpret for us. With all straightened out we went back down to the deck. On the elevator ride down he asked me if my family was German. I told him that my father’s was, but my mother’s was said to be Spanish. He then started speaking in Spanish. Neither of us had thought to try out our other languages on the other. For the rest of cargo ops we spoke in a mix of english and spanish.

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I did some beta-reading for a friend in England a few months back and his first book is now out and we are doing a more thorough job on his second book. It is a lot of fun. I managed to pick up a lot of plot holes and made changes to how some of the characters reacted. But, again, small volume, so no German version to show to my wife…

I live about an hour and a half from Bemerhaven.

The grandfather of my step-daughters (i.e. the father of their father) worked in Hamburg in the 50s and, even though he only speaks a couple of words of English, managed to save a British naval rating from the lock-up. There was a fight in a bar and the RNP (Royal Navy Police) turned up and dragged the rating outside, the grandfather went after them and managed to explain to the RNP captain, in broken English, that the rating was innocent.

My ex is my beta reader. He enjoys finding things I missed. His favorite book is MTMY.

I am currently living in Peru, so my Spanish gets better every day. I lived for three months this year, in Warsaw. It was wonderful. Germany is on my short list for a three month stay, next year. I will have to do my research to find a town between 250K to 750K population, with good walkability, and lower end AirBnbs.

16 Days after getting fed up with Scrivener Tech support and starting the Ulysses free trial, I am very pleased with Ulysses. I really pounded on it for the two-week trial. I loaded all my past novels, partly written ones, and all my research into Ulysses.
When I resumed working on my current novel, I found I was able to search across everything in all my writing to find any use of a character name.

Other things I have found better about Ulysses over Scrivener are:

  • The spell checker is faster. With scrivener the misspelt word would often be scrolled off the screen before it was marked as wrong.
  • As mentioned above the search across projects is great
  • The iPad and iPhone apps are included in the subscription
  • The iOS apps sync flawlessly and have a great interface
  • Projects in iOS are clearly marked if they need to be synced.
  • Syncing through iCloud seems to be much faster

This morning I finally got a very long email from Scrivener telling me step by step how to try to straiten out Scrivener’s sync problems. Here is my reply.

Don’t worry about taking so long about getting back to me. It gave me time to find my own solution. I have completely solved my problem with the following steps.

  1. Down load Ulysses 14 day trial

  2. Move work flow over to Ulysses

  3. Find that Ulysses is very powerful, and realize that I have outgrown Scrivener.

  4. Realize that Ulysses iOS app is pretty flawless

  5. Happily pay for a Ulysses subscription

  6. Sync my workflow to iCloud and cancel Dropbox


A shame I can only give you one like for that reply!