Novel Writing Software Functions ComparedFeb 27th, 2009 | By Strephon Kaplan-Williams | Topic: Writing Tips
The truth is that novelists rarely if ever create novel writing software. Software programmers create novel writing software, but they have not shown to the world that they can write books that sell in the many thousands. They may create good writing software but they know little about the hundreds of writing craft ideas and tips it takes to write a novel.
After being a non-fiction writer with over 350,000 books in circulation, including a number of manuals, I read over 50 writing craft books and found they all failed to give me many useful craft tools. Nor did I find creative writing courses that helpful. I asked for my money back and got it. I knew a lot more than the writer-teachers just because I had read more and was already a successful book writer.
I have used more than 20 writing software applications regularly, some for more than 20 years now. And tested a lot more than this. I only focus on writing software I have used extensively over the years.
My List of Writing Software
- Adobe Buzzword – web word processor limited
- BlockBuster – old attempt at storyline structure
- Blogger – web two publishing platform
- Celtx – web-computer based best cards plotting
- EverNote – web-computer based
- Final Draft – old but still developing
- Free Mind – diagram plotting
- GhostReader – best read outloud text
- Google Docs – web-computer based – comprehensive
- iOrganize – old, outdated note-taker formally useful
- Jers Novel Writer – interesting but one man operation
- MacJournal – old document organizer-keeper
- Market Samurai – keywords search-analysis best
- Mellel – useful word processor
- Microsoft Word – old, expensive, necessary, made by evil co.
- Movie Magic ScreenWriter
- Nisus Writer – buggy last version signals its time is over
- Notebook – full outliner with master indexer for every word
- OmniOutliner – comprehensive but old school rigid outliner
- Power Structure – novel organizer too complicated but great try
- Tofu – simple reader of your text easy on the eyes
- WriteItNow – novel organizing and writing software I use
- Writer’s Cafe – great try but buggy for years
After a couple of years of research and writing my novel, and rewriting it of course, I realized I had a full 92,000 words of notes on how to write a novel that I found published no where else in paper or on the Web.
So I organized these into a writing interface for the WriteItNow software, which I used, and into a PDF ebook.
The Writer’s Interface existed as a useful collection of tools and tips for writing a novel. See for yourself by trying out it’s demo or going through material here and on its own site: www.thewritersinterface.com.
But of course buy the writing software that fits you and your ambitions. As part of my research and development I give you here a chart of key functions you should be aware of when you evaluate writing software and web services to use or buy.
All this writing software I use myself for research and writing the novel. Best of luck with your own ambition and book-writing projects!
15 Helps In Writing A Novel
- Have an absolutely strong feeling for a subject to write about so you will endure to the end of your finished copy
- Know your novel writing craft well enough to tell a story effectively
- Learn from writers and teachers but don’t take what they say too seriously unless they have written at least one book that has sold over 50,000 copies and hopefully more
- Develop 3 life themes that evoke thousands of readers from what you write up in dramatic fiction, such as good against evil, father against son, family against family, life over death, and so on
- Balance your novel with one forth description and one or two forths each for dialog and action
- Don’t assume because you love certain authors and novels that you can write a really good one. Good novels can be analysed but never duplicated
- Plan out your novel, not word for word but for dramatic structure: actions that illustrate your chosen themes, characters that carry out your main themes, dialog that furthers action, description that furthers action and character development
- Don’t use the Hero’s Journey or other broad templates. They are too broad and artificial. Tell a good story by developing specifics of actions and characters directly illustrating your three main themes
- Learn craft from books, writers, teachers, and your own analysis of well published novels
- Use the best writing software full of hundreds of novel writing techniques, and the ability to organize your chapters and scenes down to the essential dramatic shifts and events
- Know the difference between a scene and a chapter, between a scene and an event
- Make lots of lists: make lists of 12 major events, 12 major choices, 24 major scenes, 12 major crises, 12 major resolutions, 12 major losses, and so on as the major dramatic elements of your novel
- Don’t let others read or know about your work in progress. Develop your own point of view about what you are doing and how you are doing it
- Don’t call yourself a writer. You write. You do something, not be something. Finally, when you are published and have thousands of readers you can call yourself an author
- Write everyday, and keep track of what you write, yes, every day. Maybe you are never finished!
– from a published author with 350,000 books in circulation