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LivingWriter Review: Is it a Good Program for Authors?

Hey girls and dudes! Have you heard about the latest and greatest word processing program on the block? It’s called LivingWriter and it’s like a hybrid of Google Docs and Scrivener.

With its sleek design, easy-to-use interface, and convenient features, you could be cranking out those books in no time!

But wait, there’s a catch… LivingWriter comes with a subscription cost and unfortunately can’t format books.

And let’s be real, who wants to use multiple tools for writing and formatting when you can have it all in one?

That’s why I say, skip LivingWriter and go for Atticus! It’s a formatting tool AND a word processing tool all in one. (see my review of Atticus here)

Why settle for less when you can have it all, right?

In this article, I’ll tell you all the positives and negatives about LivingWriter, and why I still think it’s best to go with my favorite tool on the market, Atticus.

What Is LivingWriter and Why Do We Care?

LivingWriter is a cool new word processing tool specifically designed for us book peeps!

LivingWriter is a hybrid of two popular writing tools, Google Docs and Scrivener. It’s got the user-friendly interface of Google Docs, with the added convenience of cloud support, but also includes the organizational structure of chapters and scenes that we love from Scrivener.

One of the coolest features of LivingWriter is the “Story Elements” option, which allows you to keep track of all the important details of your story – like characters, locations, and general notes – all in one place. It’s like having a personal assistant for your book, who always knows exactly what’s going on!

However, here’s the catch: LivingWriter isn’t a formatting tool. And let’s be real, formatting can be a real headache, especially if you’re trying to publish your book. That’s why I recommend going with Atticus, an all-in-one formatting, writing, and collaborating tool. You’ll save yourself the hassle of trying to figure out formatting, and can just focus on writing your amazing story!

LivingWriter is a great tool for fiction and non-fiction writers alike. It’s got everything you need to get your book organized and keep track of all the important details, but it’s not a formatting tool. If you want a complete writing solution, go with Atticus!

Pricing for LivingWriter (Cringe)

LivingWriter offers two pricing tiers, $9.99 per month or $96 per year (which is basically $8 per month).

There’s no denying that it’s a standard deal for a subscription software, but there’s one major catch – there’s no free version. But don’t worry, they do offer a 14-day free trial so you can test it out before committing.

Here’s the thing, though. I’m not a fan of subscriptions. I prefer having control over my finances, and I don’t like having to worry about monthly bills.

That’s why I recommend Atticus. With its lifetime price of $147, you get everything you need to format, write, and collaborate all in one place – without the added stress of a monthly bill. Plus, if you bought Atticus in the past, you’ll receive all future updates for free.

That’s peace of mind you won’t find with LivingWriter.

All The Features!

Alright, so let’s get into the features, because there are a lot of good ones (and a few that need some work). Here is a rundown of my favorites:

  • Custom Templates: I absolutely loved the custom templates in LivingWriter. You can choose from all sorts of fun outlines, like The Hero’s Journey and Save the Cat, or even more unique options like Derek Murphy’s Plot Dot. And they even have some rad templates for nonfiction, like memoirs and PhD theses.
  • Structure: It starts with an outline section generated by the templates, or you can create your own, and then you’ve got chapters and “sub-chapters” below that. Just like Scrivener, but with a slightly different structure.
  • Story Board: LivingWriter’s got a storyboard feature that’s super convenient for plot visualization – it brings all your outline elements together in one place so you can switch ’em around like sticky notes. It’s a combination of the best elements from plotting tools like Plottr, making it a big plus!
  • Story Elements: LivingWriter has a cool “story elements” feature where you can keep track of all the important details like characters, locations, and events in your book, but it’s not super complicated, so if you’re looking for something more robust, check out another tool like World Anvil or Campfire! But it’s still a great way to quickly reference important details you need on hand.
  • Online/Offline Support: LivingWriter is an online word processing tool for book writers with desktop apps for Windows and Mac, that primarily syncs to the cloud. But, you can write offline for short periods and sync later, just like most modern platforms.
  • Version Control: LivingWriter is totes amazeballs with its version control system, similar to Google Docs. It saves automatically, so if you make a mistake, you can easily go back to a previous version without any fuss!
  • Documentation: LivingWriter is user-friendly, but the documentation may not be enough for those who struggle to find certain features. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to reach out to their support team, so I can’t speak to their quality.
  • Goal Setting: LivingWriter is a great tool for setting project goals and tracking progress, but if you’re looking for a tool to help with daily writing habits, you might want to check out Atticus, which tracks that too.

What I Liked About LivingWriter

Here are some of the features that I liked most about LivingWriter. If you feel strongly about any of these, it might be for you.

  • Custom templates: LivingWriter offers a wide range of custom templates for your book, including popular story structures. This makes it easy to get started with your writing and ensures you have a solid structure to build upon.
  • Clean layout: LivingWriter has a clean and intuitive layout that makes it easy to navigate and find the features you need. This makes it an attractive option for writers who want a platform that is easy to use and not cluttered.
  • Version Control: LivingWriter provides a version control system, much like Google Docs, which means that every change you make is automatically saved. This makes it easy to go back to previous versions if you make a mistake or want to revert to a previous draft.
  • Story Elements: While the story elements in LivingWriter are not as robust as those in world building tools like World Anvil or Campfire, they are still helpful for keeping track of key details about your characters, locations, and events. This makes it easier to keep track of the different elements of your story as you write.

What I DIDN’T Like About LivingWriter

Despite its positives, LivingWriter didn’t quite meet my expectations in a few other areas. So let’s take a look at those.

  • Bummer about the Subscription Pricing: It’s a drag that LivingWriter is subscription-based, because what happens to your work if the subscription expires? Will you lose everything?
  • Meh, Bulk Editing and Formatting is a Drag: Some writers have found that bulk editing and formatting is a real pain in LivingWriter, which is a bummer.
  • Limited Documentation: Unfortunately, there’s limited documentation available, so if you’re having trouble figuring out a feature, you might be out of luck.
  • Story Elements and Goals Could be More Fleshed Out: Although the Story Elements in LivingWriter are helpful, they’re not as fleshed out as they could be, compared to programs like World Anvil or Campfire.
  • Buggy Reports: There have been some reports of bugs from other writers who have used LivingWriter, so that’s definitely a con to keep in mind.

Maybe Give Atticus a Try?

atticus cost

I personally love LivingWriter’s clean layout and custom templates like The Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat, and more. However, one big drawback is that it doesn’t format, which can be a huge deal for some writers. This means you’ll need to use a separate program to handle formatting, which can be a hassle.

On the other hand, Atticus was built with formatting in mind and is constantly improving.

In fact, I’ve heard that they’re currently working on making Atticus more like LivingWriter and Scrivener in a lot of ways.

And guess what? Atticus is already better than LivingWriter in some aspects, such as goal setting. With Atticus, you can set goals for your writing and track your habits, which is something LivingWriter doesn’t do.

Plus, Atticus has a lifetime price, which is a big plus for budget-conscious writers.

Overall, LivingWriter is a great tool for writers, but if you’re looking for a platform that includes formatting and has a lifetime price, Atticus is definitely worth checking out.

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