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StoryMill is ideal for the aspiring novelist.

Part word processor, part database, StoryMill 4 provides every author with the tools essential to writing a best seller: everything from project-wide annotations to centuries-spanning timelines, an industry first. StoryMill introduces aspiring authors to multi-level writing methods of tracking characters, scenes, and locations, while professional writers will appreciate StoryMill's timesaving ability to oversee and manage the full creative process with Smart Views. Built from the ground up for Mac OS X, StoryMill offers an innovative way to channel and fine tune the more...

What's New

Version 4.0.5:
  • Resolved a number of issues relating to OS X 10.7-autosave, by restoring StoryMill's previous autosave implementation, supported on both 10.7 and 10.6
  • Restored Find functionality on Mac OS X 10.6
  • Fixed a problem where captions added to pictures were not always getting saved
  • Fixed a problem where assigning a Storyiine via the Info pane, would fail to save the Storyline more...


Mac OS X 10.6 or later

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StoryMill User Discussion

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Miner Member IconComment+181

No development for exactly 2 years now, while Storymill, Scrivener and Ulysses continue to perfect their offering.
I think we can say goodbye to StoryMill...

Reply1 reply
Version 4.0.5

This is par for the course with Mariner Software. For proof, look through their user forum for all the complaints about their Montage software, a screenwriting app, that hasn't been updated in over 5 years, despite the many, many promises issued by Mariner. That they haven't touched Storymill in 2 years doesn't surprise me in the least. Honestly, I don't understand Mariner's business model. They seem to keep acquiring software titles, releasing them to the public, bleeding their users for half-baked apps, promising continued support, then ignoring the product while giving their users the middle finger. In short, Mariner has a long and well-deserved reputation for over-promising and under-delivering. Montage was once respected in the screenwriting community, but I don't know one person who uses it today.

Macambulance Member IconReview+130


This program has quit twice now, losing my partner an entire chapter of her book each time.

She saves every five minutes and has auto-save turned on but it appears the program hasn't been saving all day, she even exports the text every day to a word file.

Twice now the program has crashed (today while exporting) and when logging back in, the entire chapter is in the StoryMill trash and is empty.

The program appears to just corrupt the sqlite database that contains the text, making it completely unrecoverable.

have emailed the developers about the issues and heard absolutely NOTHING back after three weeks. Do not trust the program with your data, that's all i can say!

Reply0 replies
Version 4.0.5
Marktron Member IconReview+25

I really like the search and word tracking features. Plus setting realistic daily goals for my writing has really helped me.

Reply0 replies
Version 4.0.3
Stevegee Member IconComment+7

Well I lost some data as well with StoryMill - and I'm usually pretty careful. Still don't know where it went.

I decided to delete StoryMill, and what surprised me when I used App Delete to delete it was how many crash reports were associated with this software. I think there were 15. You tend to loose track of how many times something crashes.

By the way - have a look on the bugs forum over at Mariner and see the problems that people report in.

StoryMill appears to have more bugs than my dog - but I stopped wasting my time with it. Bye bye Mariner.

Reply0 replies
Version 3.2.3
Barak Bruerd Member IconReview+20
Barak Bruerd

As a writer moving away from using multiple tools to create a composition (usually a combination of omnioutliner, MS Word, and a folder full of clippings) I started researching writing tools with some enthusiasm. Scrivener and StoryMill were the most obvious choices and both seemed to have a solid set of features. Most challenging however were the range of very mixed reviews. Scrivener by far had the most positive, while StoryMill ranged from exceedingly high marks, to very frustrated and disillusioned users.

Rather than repeating a great many other feature comparison reviews I'll summarized with the key features unique to each:

StoryMill: Timeline, characters, locations, and specific breakdown of chapters and scenes.

Scrivener: Cork board, outline, scratch pad

There are other unique features however these have been the most significant in my use of the two applications. By and large, StoryMill has a longer learning curve and is more complicated, but once learned the applications allows writers to create very complex narratives. If you write fiction and non-fiction StoryMill is probably the best fit.

Scrivener on the other hand has a sleek, easy-to-use interface that allows for easy gathering and re-arranging of information. While it can be used in a similar fashion to StoryMill for narratives, it is a more flexible program for research and writing of more technical or informational pieces (anything non-narrative in nature). For those with more flexible needs or who want to be up and running faster, scrivener is probably the best option.

Price points on both are fairly aggressive for both programs and a mere $5 between the two should not drive a purchase decision since you will be spending many hours in front of the computer and should be choosing the best program for your work, not the cheapest. Both are outstanding apps.

Reply1 reply
Version 3.2

What's your take on Storyist?

babyfett Member IconComment+24

I too tested both Scrivener and Story Mill and while both had features I wished the other had, I ended up with Scrivener because there were certain limitations to Story Mill that were just too detrimental to the process. I couldn't change font size in the main window (I don't always want to write in full screen mode.) Anyway, Scrivener won my money.

Reply0 replies
Version 3.1
mswwsm Member IconComment+11

I can't give this product any kind of fair review as I can't quite figure out what it's for. If I had to guess, I'd say this -- and the similar Scrivener -- are for writers who may indeed have the prose chops to get the job done but can't get a handle on how to organize longer manuscripts in their heads, and they also like to keep absolutely everything on their Macs.

The Timeline feature I thought would be the most useful -- dates are something I do sometimes flub -- as I expected I'd punch in a scene, give it a date, it would show up on the timeline. Apparently, however, you have to associate scenes with events, and the timeline is then TOO detailed: I don't need to see hours, let alone minutes, but rather just an overview so that I can at a glance see where I probably haven't misdated a significant event having cascading effect on future events, or to which preceding events ultimately arrive. Sometimes, not infrequently, I need to see a span of DECADES all on one line, all at one time, and this seems impossible with the software.

Foremost, StoryMill and Scrivener are not models for how novelists I know actually work. We have various loose "processes", we keep notes, we do research -- not too little research on-the-fly, so to speak -- and we may rough out in a notebook, on an index card, or on the back of the power bill, overarching plot lines, concepts, perhaps brief character sketches, snippets of especially pithy dialogue or metaphor we just have to use, that sort of thing. But everyone I know merely takes something that's been stewing, sits down one morning, or evening, or dead in the middle of night, and begins writing; then we go back and eradicate, illuminate and, well, prevaricate, as required to make the story whole.

I can see how software of this type might be beneficial to those writers -- serial television comes immediately to mind -- who are regular employees, who absolutely Must produce a story, and MUST produce it on a deadline, often using many of the same characters, plot histories, locales and preceding events in developing their plots.

As for aspiring novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, etc., I can't help but advise you'd be far better off just sitting down and writing, ignoring the confusing disorganized mess you may create -- because you CAN -- and WILL, if you stick at it -- develop a process for sorting things out, making sense of disparate parts and gluing them together into a coherent story. The bottom line is, called upon to take 60,000 - 120,000 words or more, vet this draft for grammar, style, continuity errors, etc., it's never going to just wrap up nicely, and it's always going to degrade into a brutal grind at times, whether you write on legal pads with a blunt pencil or with these sorts of computerized writers toolkits. It's never easy, no matter what.

Reply3 replies
Version 3.0.2

Amen to that.

I bought this once when it was called Avenir, found it useless; bought it again when it appeared in a MacUpdate bundle as StoryMill, not realizing it was the same thing, and found the intriguing "timeline" feature to be not just useless but counterproductive. I can build more useful timelines on my own in Excel, when I need them. Other than that, just give me a clean, flexible word processor (I use Pages 3.x now), and I'll personally be much better off.

Version 3.x (StoryMill) doesn't seem to randomly lose data any more the way version 2.x (Avenir) did... but for me, that's largely because I'm no longer putting any data into it.

Richard Ratzan

This is a reply to the palindromic mswwsm and not a review of StoryMill but a comment on StoryMill and related creative writing applications:

first, what i am replying to, in part:

"I can't give this product any kind of fair review as I can't quite figure out what it's for. If I had to guess, I'd say this -- and the similar Scrivener -- are for writers who may indeed have the prose chops to get the job done but can't get a handle on how to organize longer manuscripts in their heads, and they also like to keep absolutely everything on their Macs.


As for aspiring novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, etc., I can't help but advise you'd be far better off just sitting down and writing, ignoring the confusing disorganized mess you may create -- because you CAN -- and WILL, if you stick at it -- develop a process for sorting things out, making sense of disparate parts and gluing them together into a coherent story."

- excerpted, without his/her permission,and with apologies if this offends.

AGREE! I personally have spent - wasted, to be honest - WAY too much time on storymill, storyist, tinderbox, writeitnow, curio, omnigraffle, ulysses, JNW, personalbrain, mindmanager, voodoo pad et al. (i stopped here to save myself the embarrassment of naming just how many apps i have screened and tried to get to work the way i think i think, or think i ought to think.)

after 25 years of seeing my essays and other genres published with just hand written notes on paper, then WordPerfect 1.0.5 (still my favorite word processor) on os 6 then 7, et cet., i got seduced by the temptress of all these apps promising design-as-creative process when mswwsm is, at least for this writer, absolutely correct. although richard powers apparently used mindjet mindmanager to write Echo Maker, the 2006 National Book Foundation 2006 National Book Award in fiction (a fantastic read, btw), let's not forget that he wrote all previously acclaimed books without this app and that most of us are not richard powers!

although i am trying to write a novel with various timelines and therefore became interested in any computerized help i could get, i now am convinced that a dry erase board or a yellow pad with lots of revisions/erasures, as mswwsm notes, will work better.

a writer i admire once told an audience that when she teaches creative writing, she emphasizes B.I.C = butt in chair! there is no substitute and most of these apps are probably - at least for me - more of a distraction and an ill-fitted crutch than the solution and will probably never accomplish what mswwsm suggests.

rich ratzan


I couldn't agree more...the hard work is where things happen, not in blowing thousands of dollars on nifty software, although there are some new word processors (Mellel and Nisus Pro and both that I use). This is the only tool you need aside from notebooks and pens. Logically, setting down 100,000 words is messy and its inherent requirement is to rewrite and clean things up--only then can the writer even hope to formulate some kind of chronologic order. Things are going to shift anyhow.

trenino Member IconReview+7

Montage - A review and comparison to Storymill

I have been using the demo of Storymill for about a week writing my new project. Because it is a script I am working on there are things I am missing in it, although there are many nice features. I also downloaded the last version of Montage (1.4) to see if any developments have been made to it, since the last version I used, I did not like.

Although Storymill is for novels and Montage for scripts, they both target creative writers. As one of them I am making this comparison.

Surprisingly although Montage has been longer in the line-up of Mariner Software it is much less refined than Storymill. Here is a comparison:

1) The Progress meter feature lacks from Montage. Screenwriters need to keep track of their productivity as well.

2)User interface under Montage: The content in Research window and Task window cannot be moved around. It is automatically sorted. Besides that, when sorting by name, a very annoying thing happens. number 10 does not follow number 9, in order, but goes after number 1... Storymill on the other hand lets you move things around.

3)The double-clicking of content in Storymill makes it pop up on a separate window. It would really be useful for Montage too, which does not have that feature either.

4) Smart view is a great feature in both programs.

5)This is personal, but aesthetically the icons in Montage are not so nice as the ones in Storymill. Actually they look like OS9 icons..

6)Timeline which is only in Storymill, would be tremendously helpful for screenwriter using Montage as well.

7) Tagging in Storymill is like the “Add keyword” option in Montage, only in storymill it works better.

8) The beginners' Tutorial in Storymill is a very nice extra that comes with the program. Again Montage lacks is it.

9) Full screen only works on script and scenes mode in Montage. Not in synopsis mode or any other. In storymill all windows can be viewed in full screen. And it is really nice to work on synopses or character profiles in full screen. This is a real shame.

10) Button for making annotations in storymill. In montage you have to go through the menu each time you want to make a note.

11)No option for deselecting the auto Backup. If you deselect it you cannot save your work at all.

12) Annotations can ONLY be made in script mode, not in synopsis, character, scene or other mode in Montage. Again in Storymill things are much better. ANnotations can be made on every mode.

The list goes on...

13) Exporting is so unintuitive in Montage. In Storymill you have a preview of exactly what is going to be exported and you can change it accordingly. In Montage you export first and then you check if you exported the right thing.

I am still finding more handicaps in montage the more I use it. It is really sad as it could have been developed to a very nice application.

As I said earlier Storymill is definitely much more refined than Montage. If you are a novelist you are lucky and good to go with Storymill. If on the other hand you are a script writer like me, then you you have to look elsewhere and definitely not spend the money for purchasing this version.

I would purchase anytime Storymill if it only had standard script formating and outline. On the other hand Montage compared to the Storymill features are very thin.

For the moment and my current project (which is a Feature Film) I will be using Storymill for Synopses, Characters, Research, Scene Ideas, and ONLY then I will go to Montage to write the script, but I might still prefer Final Draft until a better version of either Storymill or Montage comes out or even better if they would merge it in one application as it seems that Storymill and Montage are in fact one application cut in half and therefore crippled. You can download the Demos and see for yourselves.

Reply0 replies
Version 3.0.2
Schubert Member IconReview+30

To make a potentially long-winded review short... If you want the best software tool in this category, buy StoryMill now, and don't look back! Nothing compares to the value of StoryMill. It is that good.

I have beta-tested software for over 20 years, and can honestly say that StoryMill is as smooth, quick, and complete, as I have worked with over the years. Most importantly, it is very stable. The developer has gone through great lengths to create an incredible and powerful piece of software.

I highly recommend all products from the developer (Mariner Software) to all of my friends and clients. Mariner understands the needs of the consumer and have an excellent customer service reputation.

Reply1 reply
Version 3.0.2

Thanks! I was getting discouraged and thought Storymill looked good on paper. Nice to know someone is working well with it.

semioticmonkey Member IconComment+25

One Word. Scrivener.
Cheaper. Powerful. Bueautiful. Well crafted.
Buy it (i've done it) and forget about the rest,

Reply2 replies
Version 3.0.2

Everyone writes in is own way, there is no single solution that fits all.
I own Scrivener, WriteRoom, Ulysses and Storymill, and use them all, for different kinds of projects or different stages in a project (although Ulysses seems to fade to the background).

StoryMill absolutely has its merits, but like any of these apps: give it some time to really try.


I agree with you.
Storymill does't fit in my worflow but has its strenghts nonetheless. Only, for the price you pay in my opinion it doesn't offers so much (and its lacks attention to details).

I used Ulysses in the past but now i prefer to have a single enviroment to work with. An efficient enviroment to collect notes, resarches, crosslinking and the likes and not a multiple applications workflow and so i miss some features willingly to gain consistency.

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Current Version (4.x)


Downloads 59,936
Version Downloads 3,710
License Demo
Date 28 Oct 2011
Platform OS X
Price $49.95
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