LivingWriter Review. Is It Better Than Scrivener?

Book writing is definitely one of the most challenging writing projects you can ever think of. Managing chapters, characters, and the story’s flow could be a nightmare if you want to organize them manually.

Check my LivingWriter review to know how this book writing software can be a lifesaver for authors who write regularly.

Whether you are a novelist or an academician, such software can organize your work in a safe place and provide you with enough facilities to accelerate your writing.

Such book writing software will not only help you to finish your book in the shortest time possible but will also provide you the tools to organize your work easily.

Is LivingWriter suitable for you?

Let’s have a look.

Here Is What I Will Cover in This LivingWriter Review

  1. Create A Story Easily
  2. Import Story
  3. Create Chapters, Subchapters, and Story Elements
  4. The Editor
  5. Plot Your Story With the Board
  6. Access Your Story From Anywhere
  7. Set Your Goals
  8. Export to Amazon Manuscript Format
  9. Share Your Manuscript With Editor in Real-time
  10. Does LivingWriter Support Grammarly?
  11. LivingWriter vs. Scrivener: Is It Better Than Scrivener?
  12. Pros and Cons of LivingWriter
  13. LivingWriter Price
  14. LivingWriter Review: My Final Thoughts

Check Out My LivingWriter Review Video Summary

Create A Story Easily

The intuitive interface is self-explanatory. You don’t need any steep learning curve.

Once you open the window, it will introduce you to a fresh story creating wizard. You can either start from scratch, predefined templates, or your old story.

LivingWriter Review create a story

While writing this LivingWriter review, I realized that it provides you with a unique facility to start your story from predefined story outlines.

You can use the same outlines used by several world-famous writers. It includes outlines from Dan Harmon’s Story Circle, Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, 3 Act 9 Block 27 Chapter Method, and many more.

Once you start with a predefined template, it takes you to a tutorial video to better understand the outline.

Tutorial video livingwriter

Moreover, it automatically creates the story structure for you. Follow the proven rules to write your next masterpiece.

livingwriter automatically creates story structure for you

Import Story

You can easily import your story from old manuscripts. The best part is, it can automatically divide your chapters based on your heading tags while importing.

import story automatically

Create Chapters, Subchapters, and Story Elements

LivingWriter provides you an intuitive interface for creating Chapters, Subchapters, and Story Elements for your next masterpiece.

Click on the New icon placed on the left sidebar to create a new Chapter.

How to create a new chapter

You can optionally fill the Description box and Notes field for a better arrangement of chapters. This Description box is placed on the right sidebar.

To add a Subchapter, you have to follow the same procedure.

Click on the New button placed on the left sidebar and then on the Subchapter.

You can add a new Story Element by clicking the New button and then Story Element.

creating story element

LivingWriter supports four types of story elements, namely Character, Object, Setting, and Other.

It stores your Story Elements in a single place. As you type a character name or location, it automatically suggests the corresponding element. Moreover, you can click on these elements to access their details.

The auto-suggestions feature is unique to LivingWriter, and I didn’t notice it in other similar writing apps.

auto suggestion and smart text in livingwriter

Moreover, you can customize these elements by providing their profile images and description.

customize story element

The Editor

The editor is the place where all the magic happens. The main screen is divided into three sections.

The left sidebar provides you access to Chapters and Story Elements.

The right sidebar provides details of Chapters and Story Elements. You can hide this section for a distraction-free writing experience.

The middle section is the main writing area. You will find this section very similar to Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

main editor of livingwriter

Plot Your Story With the Board

Board is an intuitive and modern way of viewing your story.

It provides easy access to Chapters and Story Elements. You can now arrange your whole story by dragging and dropping anything inside the Board.

Change the plot or check your progress. Board gives you a bird’s-eye view of your project.

Living Writer Review: plot your story with the board

Control Story Elements from a single place. Change their details and everything will be applied automatically to your whole story.

control story elements from board

Check your Story Elements in one place. Change their details from the Board.

all changes are automatically saved

Access Your Story From Anywhere

LivingWriter is a cloud-based software. That means you can work from anywhere as long as you have an active internet connection.

All your documents are saved in a secure Amazon Web Services cloud.

Moreover, bank-level security ensures that your data remains private. It can’t access your data without your permission.

One of the handy features that sets LivingWriter apart from other desktop-based editors is Autosave and Version History.

You will find this feature very similar to the Google Docs’ Autosave feature.

Version History helps you to keep track of manuscript versions. You can quickly revert your work to an earlier version or set a name for your current version. This makes version tracking simple.

version history keeps track of your changes

Autosave feature can save you from any unpleasant incident like a hard disk crash or sudden system reboot. Your manuscripts remain safe on their server.

Set Your Goals

“Goals” is a visual representation of your progress. Setting Goals motivates to work on a project and finish it within a stipulated time frame.

You can set up your writing Goals by:

Go to StoryGoals.

chapter goals story goals

Chapter Goals keep track of your chapter’s progress. Story Goals can track your total words count and deadlines.

NaNoWriMo Tracker

Good News for NaNoWriMo participants. LivingWriter has made it extremely simple to track your daily goals with the new revamped version of Daily Goals Tracker. Now you can even assign your “Writing Days Off” while setting a Story Goal and a Deadline. Once done, it will automatically calculate the numbers to hit your deadline.

NaNoWriMo Tracker

Export to Amazon Manuscript Format

You can directly export to .docx, and .pdf format. While exporting, you can choose one of 16 Amazon manuscript formats.

export your manuscript to amazon format

I was expecting the presence of .epub format. However, it was missing.

Share Your Manuscript With Editor in Real-time

LivingWriter provides you a unique facility to share your entire story or individual chapters with your editor or co-authors. No need to export them manually. Real-time sharing makes collaboration trouble-free.

You can also restrict editing rights while sharing your manuscript. Your editors will only be able to view and comment if you restrict editing permission.

collaborate in realtime livingwriter review

Does LivingWriter Support Grammarly?

I am a big fan of Grammarly. However, the poor integration between grammar checkers and book writing software makes it almost impossible to comfortably do the proofreading task.

It is annoying to switch back and forth between the writer and Grammarly. Fortunately, LivingWriter has solved this problem too. Now, I can use Grammarly, straight from my editor.

Proofreading is a major task for any book writing project. Support for Grammarly makes the proofreading process really easy.

livingwriter integrates with grammarly

The best part is, it automatically detects the browser and takes to the appropriate download page.

You can use both the Premium and Free versions of Grammarly right from your editor.

LivingWriter vs. Scrivener: Is It Better Than Scrivener?

Scrivener is probably the most popular book writing software. But LivingWriter is undoubtedly the best alternative to Scrivener I have ever used. Let’s see what sets them apart.

The first thing that you will immediately notice after switching to LivingWriter is its modern interface. Every tool is placed correctly, and the layout is immaculate. This looks very similar to Google Doc’s interface.

On the other hand, Scrivener is old-fashioned and needs serious structural revamp.

They both provide a drag-and-drop arrangement of chapters and subchapters, predefined templates, corkboards, and chapter notes.

Most importantly, there are several third party templates available for Scrivener. LivingWriter lacks such a huge library of templates. However, I am sure that they will update their templates library regularly. [Update: Currently there are eleven templates including a PhD thesis template.]

LivingWriter is cloud-based software, whereas Scrivener is a desktop application. They both have their pros and cons.

Being a cloud-based app, you will be able to access your work from anywhere as long as you have a computer and an active internet connection.

You can collaborate in real-time and share your manuscript very easily with your co-authors or editors. Another benefit of such software is that they always remain updated.

But many writers find it insecure to store manuscripts online. Even today!

Scrivener stores your documents locally. Real-time collaboration is not possible, and you need to export your manuscript every time you send it to the co-authors or the editor. Collaboration is painfully difficult.

A feature that is missing in LivingWriter is its support for .epub. Scrivener has recently introduced the support for .epub, and I am eagerly waiting for this feature in LivingWriter.

Direct integration with Apple Books and Kindle would have been very beneficial for self-publishing authors.

Despite lacking some minor features, sleek design and support for grammar checking software like Grammarly give it an edge over Scrivener.

Being a diehard fan of Scrivener, it isn’t easy to accept a better alternative. But during my LivingWriter review, I realized that it is straightforward to adapt and provides a more enjoyable writing experience than Scrivener.

Pros and Cons of LivingWriter

What I liked.

  • Intuitive Interface and Clean Design
  • Some of the Best Readymade Book Templates
  • Autosave and Version History
  • Smart Text and Autocomplete Story Elements
  • Easy Sharing Option
  • Integration With Grammarly
  • Dark Mode

What I didn’t.

  • No Desktop or Offline App [Update: Desktop app is available for both Mac and Windows]
  • Not Suitable for Screenwriting
  • No Split-screen View
  • No Direct Export to Apple Books or Kindle Format

LivingWriter Price

LivingWriter is a subscription-based product.

Monthly plan costs $9.99 per month. Yearly plan costs $8.00 per month. The best part is you can try a no commitment 30 days trial for free.

Best Value
Per Month
Pay Yearly
Sign Up
Regular Payments
Per Month
Pay Monthly
Sign Up
No Commitment
30 Days Trial
Try It Free
Try It Free

It generously hosts your manuscript for at least 1 year from the date you unsubscribe. However, you are restricted to read-only mode. All manuscripts can be exported within this time frame.

LivingWriter Review: Is It Worth It?

Book writing is not everyone’s cup of tea. Reaching that sweet spot of 50,000 words is a grueling job.

Book writing software like LivingWriter can ease your pain by organizing all your works in one place. It is specially designed for book writers and novelists. The interface is clean, and anyone can start writing without any prior training.

It provides all the facilities that you may require while working on your next book project.

Don’t hesitate. Try it. I’m sure you will like it.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is LivingWriter Safe?

LivingWriter is hosted on a scalable AWS platform. All your communication between the browser and the host is encrypted with bank-level security. Moreover, multiple data backups prevent data loss. Having said that, it can be concluded that the platform is safe for authors.

Can You Use LivingWriter Offline?

Recently, they have introduced the desktop app for both Mac and Windows users. The offline mode is expected to be launched by February 2022.

LivingWriter Review
  • Ease of Use
  • Performance
  • Support
  • Pricing

11 thoughts on “LivingWriter Review. Is It Better Than Scrivener?”

    • Indeed you can export as a .docx file and save it on a flash drive. Moreover, it is very unlikely that you won’t be able to access your documents online. At least, I never faced it.

  1. I’m surprised you don’t list subscription model as a con for LivingWriter. That ends up quickly becoming a lot more expensive than scrivener.

    • Thanks Gabby for your valuable comment. Scrivener is a standalone desktop app, whereas Living Writer is a SaaS product. Their pricing model is quite different. As you have mentioned that in a long run, it will be more expensive than Scrivener, but the ease of using cannot be compared. Moreover, I have checked the pricing of several other SaaS writing software and all of them are priced similarly. I believe it’s a standard price.

      • You’re response is quite hypocritical. Your article compares Scrivener and Living Writer to which Scrivener isn’t a SaaS product. You’re response basically says you can’t objectively or subjectively compare the prices because Living Writer is a SaaS product and Scrivener isn’t. And yet here you are comparing Scrivener to a SaaS product. If you looked at other SaaS products than that’s what you should compare it to…another SaaS product for writing.

        • Hi Keven
          Thanks for your reply. I think there is a confusion. I have compared Scivener and LivingWriter as writing tools. In the previous comment, I mentioned that one should not compare the pricing model of standalone software with a SaaS. However, their usability can be compared. Pricing should be compared with other SaaSs. Again, I’m not trying to justify it’s high pricing in the long run. Hope, this will help you.

  2. Thanks for the clear & concise product review. Very helpful for someone who has also struggled with Scrivener’s Mac-first dev cycle and antiquated layout.

  3. Thanks for sharing this review! I was looking for perspective on why one might choose LivingWriter over Scrivener and this helped me understand the unique strengths and similarities of each. I’ve come to expect autosave because I use Google Docs for work. I have lost work in Scrivener as a result of forgetting to save.

  4. I would be the first to agree Living Writer has many rich features that facilitate authoring a book. That said its basic word processing functions like fonts, background, fonts, color, bold…. are rudimentary and incredibly bug-ridden.

    It is supposed to record all keystrokes and is cloud-based reason for my choosing over Scrivener. Yet every time I launch I get a popup “A more recent version is stored locally”. If every keystroke is stored in real-time and the message indicates it has then why is there a more recently stored version which I have no idea how ti for stored in the first place.


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