Ulysses for iPad is here

Cue frustrated Scrivener users switching. Ulysses and Scrivener for Mac are both writing environments – more than word processors, they provide tools for gathering research and using it in books and scripts and stories – but as of today, only one of them is on the iPad.

It’s a big deal and it’s made bigger by the fact that Ulysses for iPad is good. I’m doing a full review for MacNN.com but my impressions after a few days with the beta are all positive. Ulysses for iPad is Ulysses for Mac, on an iPad. It looks the same, works the same and so far all the features I’ve been trying are the same.

In comparison, Scrivener for iPad has been promised for years. There is reason to think it will come soon but it’s proved a longer job than expected. Presumably it’s because it’s a very difficult job: you don’t just want Scrivener or Ulysses on iPad, you need them to work with their Mac counterparts. You want to be able to pick up your iPad and continue writing something you began on your Mac.

That means documents being the same all the time, being synced across the platforms. But with Scrivener, one single document is really a collection of many parts. Keeping everything together and everything mobile has tasked the Scrivener people.

Ulysses has managed it. It’s not really the same thing, the two applications are not really that similar, but the existence of this iPad version is a huge win for Ulysses.

Check it out on the App Store.

Ulysses coming to iPad soon

How soon is soon? Ulysses is a Scrivener-like app for Mac that, like the perhaps more famous Scrivener, is a kind of writing studio. The official site describes it thisaway:

Ulysses lets you focus when you need to concentrate. It keeps all your texts neatly stuffed in its intuitive library. With a few clicks, Ulysses can create beautiful documents from your manuscripts: PDFs, web pages, even iBooks-ready ePubs. With its simple, clutter-free interface, it will turn work hours into fun time. And mere thoughts into powerful stories. If you love to write, and write a lot, Ulysses is made for you.


Now it’s coming to iPad and the company has begun a beta test. This could be enough to convert Scrivener fans because that app’s iPad version has been in the works for years. It may come out in 2015 but we’ve heard that before.

Take a look at the Ulysses iPad video and then check out the official site.

Ulysses for iPad – Coming Soon from The Soulmen on Vimeo.

Scrivener updated to play nice with OS X Yosemite

Apple is expected to at least announce a definite shipping date for the new OS X Yosemite in a few hours and may even do that “available today” tricky the company loves doing. In anticipation of that, the writing platform – I struggle to find a phase for it as it’s much more than a word processor – has been updated to work with the new operating system. It’s also got a couple of twiddles and a temporary stop to your sharing Scrivener documents directly to Facebook and Twitter. Never knew it had that in it.

But then I am a particularly new and light user of Scrivener. Let Bryan Chaffin of The Mac Observer tell you more:

The binary code love of my life—Scrivener—was updated to version 2.6 Thursday morning. The update includes support for OS X 10.10 Yosemite, which Apple is expected to either release later on Thursday during a media event, or announce a release date.

Scrivener is the premier writing environment for the Mac, and it’s aimed at novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, and researchers. The release includes a ton of general bug fixes, as well as a couple of new features specific to Yosemite.

Literature and Latte also included a new import/export option relating to which version of Java gets used, removed Draft, Research, and Trash folder results from searches,and changed the way items dragged to the Binder are viewed.

Lastly, the company said that a 64-bit version of Scrivener was coming in the future. Until that time, Twitter and Facebook sharing services won’t be available in Scrivener in Yosemite.

Scrivener Updated to Support Yosemite – Bryan Chaffin, The Mac Observer (16 October 2014)

Read the full piece.

Okay, a third good way to learn something

Watch a video. Maybe I should’ve looked for this last week when I started the new book, but.

Here’s a full Screencast Online tutorial for Scrivener: take a look at the opening to see just what this software does, then stick around for the rest before doubtlessly ending up buying it.

And then do take a look at the Screencasts Online site: for a regular subscription fee, you get to see myriad tutorial videos that are particularly well made.

The best way to learn something

Rig it so that you have to learn it. Arrange it so that you need to learn it. Right now, for instance, it would be handy if I learnt how to code apps in Swift but I don’t have to. Not for weeks. And in a few weeks or a couple of months when the need comes, I will be kicking myself that I didn’t spend some time on it now – but I will be wrong.

Truth be told, I’ve watched a video, I’ve got Apple’s documentation and I’ve skimmed that. I’ve not exactly ignored Swift but still, I don’t know it. But I guarantee that when this project moves on, I will have three to five days in which to do the job and I will do it.

Simply because I need to.

Now, this isn’t the usual writer thing of only being able to work when there is a big, scary deadline. lt’s a genuine way to learn something new: the need to use something in order to achieve a goal is the way that you fix it in your head.

Have a deadline, yes, but also have a very specific itch you need to scratch. When you’re just studying something in general, everything has equal weight and nothing is more important or urgent than anything else. When you specifically need to achieve a particular thing, you are shovelling everything else out of the way. Yes, yes, how do I do this? Fine, fine, what do I need to do right now?

You can see that this determination would get you the answers you need. You would then also think that this would make you an expert in exactly one job, one type of task. That you’d be no further forward in anything else to do with the subject.

But that’s wrong.

Focusing on the particular teaches you the general too.

You’re nodding, you’re willing to believe this, you know it sounds plausible, but you’d like a bit of an example. Okay. Here it is: Scrivener.

I bought Scrivener for my wife Angela Gallagher maybe 18 months ago. I’d played with the trial version, I could see that it would do a thing she needed, and I’d heard all the constant praise this word processor has got. It is so praised and so persuasively praised by people I rate that a few months ago, I bought my own copy.

And proceeded to not use it.

Until last Friday when I had an idea for a non-fiction project that involves writing quite a bit of new material but also compiling a lot of existing stuff. A lot. I mean, this is the book that will collect the best of The Blank Screen’s first 1,000 articles.

I needed a way to grab all the text that I might possibly want to use, then I had to find a way to compile it, re-order it, edit it, join bits together, split some stuff apart. I could’ve done it in Word or Pages but I’d have to hold the whole project in my head and focus on one or two pages at a time. In Scrivener, I could make each article a separate short section and choose to focus on a page or look at the whole picture.

Full disclosure: I worked out the sequence in OmniOutliner. But I did so after adding all the text to Scrivener and naming each bit.

The book works out at 70,000 words and is a big project with a very specific aim and I had a really clear goal. Which means I have just spent a week hammering the bejaysis out of Scrivener. Previously I have recognised its advantages and what type of projects it would be good for, I have liked what I’ve seen and I have very much liked the company name of its maker: Literature and Latte. But now I feel I know Scrivener well and.

Everybody who uses Scrivener tends to have two very strong opinions about it: they love it and they wish to hell that there was an iPad version.

I love it and I wish to hell that there was an iPad version.

Scrivener is available for Windows and Mac and costs £31.99 UK or $44.99 US. You can get it on the Mac App Store and both the Mac and Windows versions are on the official Literature and Latte site where you can also get a very generous trial period.

Scrivener on sale for $20 (in UK too)

It’s the word processor for writers that just about every reviewer loves. I liked it very much in my brief use of the trial version last year: I had a particularly complicated and messy project and Scrivener made it feel manageable. I chucked in all these chapters that had been emailed to me, I sorted through duplicates and rewrites, figured out the right order and could then just work on it as normal.

I’d have bought Scrivener right there and then but for how that project required me to go back to the writer with Word files and we needed to have tracked changes. You can’t do that in Scrivener, so far as I can tell, so I didn’t get it then.

But I did today.

It’s temporarily $20. That works out to just over £11 UK and since the regular, Mac App Store price in the UK is £31, I was convinced. Sold. Bought. Using it now.

There is one extra cost: by getting this price you are going through a deal with Cult of Mac and that will also get you on their mailing list. Quite a bit. Still, I’ve bought a couple of things through them now. In fact, I’ve bought Scrivener twice: I got it for my wife Angela Gallagher last year in some deal then.

So the deals do come around but if you fancy Scrivener, now is a very good time to buy. Check out this link and do so in the next few days or it will expire.

Scrivener on sale for 50% – but hurry

I sound like an advert there. But hurry – stocks can’t last forever! Before I say “but you do have to be quick”, remember that Scrivener has gone on sale before. Usually only through bundles or other deals as it has today with MacUpdate, but it has gone on sale.

So presumably it will again and I loathe how the words “but hurry” work on our minds: a company sets a completely self-imposed deadline and it works. But every firm does that and this one has a great product which is briefly on sale. At time of writing you have one day and about 13 hours in which to buy Scrivener for 50% off.




Here’s what it is:

Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.

Literature and Latte, makers of Scrivener

That’s a “yeah, but” kind of description: it does tell you something but it doesn’t convey much. It’s also a “yeah, and” kind of description because it doesn’t convey why you would want such a thing. So let me have a go, with one caveat.

I don’t have Scrivener.

I bought a copy for my wife Angela Gallagher and I tried it out with her. At first it felt like just another word processor but then its way of letting you throw thousands of things – text, articles, websites, images, anything – together into a project and sort it out was really impressive. I’m working on a book with someone and after lots of oddities in our email conversations where some chapters just wouldn’t arrive she’d have to resend them and it’d be out of order. Or often she rewrote some parts and sent me the new versions. I was really struggling to get a grip on what had been written and what was ready, what hadn’t and what wasn’t. Scrivener let me piece it all together in the right sequence and have an actual book at the end of it.

I’d have gone upstairs to my office iMac and bought my own copy there and then.


I am still working on this book. We are still working on it. Chapters go back and forth plus, the day I was doing this compiling of materials, I was doing it because I was going to stay with the writer and we needed to go over a lot of things.  You can’t collaborate in Scrivener. I had to take everything out and put it into Word so that we could work together and I could track changes. Actually, I put it into Word for her and Pages for me, but it couldn’t stay in Scrivener. Actually II, it was Scrivener that made it particularly easy to output the work to Word and Pages. Without it I’d be copying and pasting to this day. With it, the whole process felt relaxed and enjoyable.

So much so that I know I will buy Scrivener for my next project. But that’s not here yet.

All of which was by way of explaining to you why I feel I can enthuse about Scrivener as much as everybody else does, even though I haven’t got it. I was going to tell you all that and then go into why Scrivener is so good. But I think I’ve told you now.

So go take a look at the deal while the clock is running, okay? The regular price is £31.99 UK, $44.99 US so if you get in before the MacUpdate deal ends, you’ll have it for about £15.99 UK, $22.50 US. But you have to go now and you have to go via a deal on MacUpdate here.