Good Novel Writing Software

by Roy Patterson
(Phoenix, Az USA)

Question: Could you recommend a good Novel Writing Software package?

Answer: There are plenty of novel writing software programs available. The trouble is that everyone's needs are different.

As I discuss in this article...

... the best software is a usually just good word processor (Open Office is one example that is both excellent and free to download).

Another product that is similar to a word processor but also has a host of features geared towards writers is Scrivener Here's my review of it...

Scrivener has a nice index card feature to help you work out a plot sequence, and extensive tools for organizing research. The program doesn't try to tell you what or how to write, but it is designed to fit with how many writers approach writing

Then there are software products designed to help you design a plot. I would argue that Dramatica is the best, but the learning curve is admittedly very steep. On the other hand, products with shorter learning curves tend to limit you to cliched plot structures and rigid genres.

Here's my review of Dramatica...

Then there are products that help you to brainstorm and develop ideas. StoryWeaver is an example that's fairly inexpensive.

I doubt there will ever be one software product that will suit all writers because everyone's approach to writing is different - which is a good thing.

For instance, literary fiction writers often shun tools that focus on plot because they are solely concerned with authenticity of character and setting. On the other hand, they might welcome a product that helps them organize their research notes. Screenwriters often want software that makes formatting easier. Genre writers want software that helps them make the plot more engaging.

You have to figure out what you most need help with and choose a product that helps you in that area.

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