Novel Writing Software

Not so long ago finding software to assist you in writing a novel was challenging. Years ago I settled on Scrivener.  At the time it was the best in my opinion, and many people still consider it an excellent option for authors. But today, (2019) there is an explosion of options for novel writers. Some of the programs download to your desktop/laptop/smartphone and others are online only. Some of them are pretty basic, and some of them are just a tad easier than designing an aircraft carrier. Many are free, donation ware or cheap, and some can cost over $100. The online versions charge you a monthly fee.

Writing a novel means keeping track of chapters and scenes, characters, locations, items, plots and subplots and a hundred other stuff. My novel is at 32,000 words, 29 chapters, and I never imagined how challenging it would be to keep track of the characters and what is going on. A novel writing program, on your desktop or online, can hep you greatly. There are drawbacks and advantages with each type:

1. Online only. Wherever you have an internet connection, you can write. These platforms, such as Novelize, keep track of your progress weekly, help with grammar and editing, and offer a host of features. But if you don’t have internet – you can’t write usually.  And some of them don’t have the full power of a desktop software. For instance, I had to change a character’s name while using one such online program, and could not do so. Unless I did it manually. This in fact, was the last straw for me which eventually drove me to Word and then LibreOffice. You can rename people easily through the find and replace function.

2. Desktop/laptop/smartphone versions: Three types here:

a. Vastly complicated
b.  Complicated.
c. Somewhat complicated

Notice there are no “easy” ones. You do have to learn the system and set up your novel properly from the get go, and maintain it. And that can take time. Personal comment: If you spend all your time learning the program, setting it up correctly and maintaining it, when will you actually write your novel?!

I used Scrivener for some time, and later Novelize. Then YWriter, which I really liked. I also tried several others. Today? I use LibreOffice. I have chapters and characters setup, locations and so forth using the Navigation panel. It doesn’t warn me when I am not writing enough, it doesn’t beep at me or offer encouragement or any of the other bells and whistles. But it is free, and I write easily anywhere. I save a copy to my local drive and One-drive, so with or without the internet, I can write. And it is free too, another benefit. I will write a post one day explaining how I set Libreoffice up to be my novel writing software.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for novel writing software, here is a list of most of them. If you google the topic you will find reviews and ratings too.

Novel Writing Software

Dramatica Pro
Free Writer
Liquid Story Binder XE
Mariner Software
New Novelist
The Novel Factory
Plume Creator
Power Structure
Writers Block
Ywriter 6

I am sure there are dozens more, but these are the ones that I have personally installed and tried, at lease once anyway. Yeah, I should have spend more time actually writing my novel! LOL