Are you interested in learning everything on how to write a novel? Do you want to become the next bestselling author? Or self-publish a book?
Then it's time to start writing your novel with a writing program.
If you are one of those writers who look at the famous published authors and fantasize about having the same life. Their books in the flesh and on bookstore shelves. People falling in love with the world they have created. It looks glamorous and achieving the same success isn’t a piece of cake.
You need passion, hope, suitable environment, resources, time, tools, and a lot of other things that will help you craft an amazing novel. Most importantly, you will need access to the best novel writing software.
A novel writing software will help you organize your research, create outline, develop characters, edit your manuscript, and help with publishing.
A great tool can help you become a better writer without any learning curve. It automates the process. It makes your life easier. It gives you time to focus on more strategic aspects of your creative writing that deserve your time.
But what novel writing tool is right for you? How do you find the one that will help you?
If you are not sure on where to begin, this article is for you. It covers 9 leading novel writing software in detail with their features, pros, cons, pricing details, and more.
By the time you finish reading this article, you will know what writing software you need and why. Trust me on this one.
1. Squibler: Best Novel Writing Software for Speed and Simplicity
As a new novel writer, you need two things: Simplicity and speed.
A simple yet effective book writing software will help you get used to using software for writing. Speed will make you write fast without losing focus.
Squibler is the best novel writing software that is simple and speedy at the same time that helps you complete your novel fast. It works for non-fiction books, too.
It's free to use Squibler. Not sure if it is right for you? Give it a try.
The major features and benefits of using Squibler are discussed below.
Squibler allows you to take and store notes for your writing project.
Notes can be anything from random brainstorming to character sketches. Whatever it is you want to have around, it will be organized for you within your Squibler project. You can add tags to your notes for better organization and management.
Creating an amazing outline for your novel with Squibler is one of the best features that you will love. Whether you like to keep things minimal or go full detail, you can do it with Squibler. Organizing outline files in your project is fairly easy. They will be kept out of the way but will be easily accessible when needed.
Once the research and outlining are done, it’s time to get writing. This is where Squibler really shines.
It allows you to divide your chapters into different documents while keeping them together in your project. This allows you to move around and make changes as per need without running the sequence. There is no pressure to keep things in chronological order because you can just drag and drop to rearrange later. No scrolling, copying, or pasting is ever needed.
You can also create separate documents for scenes. Scenes can be moved between chapters or they can be written but kept out of place for a while until you decide a suitable place for them.
Squibler’s entire design is centred on the idea of efficiency. The goal is to help you write you fast.
I am sure you know how hard it is to write your first draft as a writer. It can sometimes take months or even years to get through it.
Squibler eliminates this writing challenge by making everything easier for you. With an efficient and user-friendly design, you can spend all your time on writing without worrying about the organization, management, editing, ordering, outlining, research, etc. Squibler handles everything for you.
2. Scrivener: An All-Round Novel Writing Software
There is book writing software for almost everything from the broadest of categories to the most specific tasks. If you are looking for a versatile and not a specific writing software like Squibler, Scrivener is your best bet.
Scrivener can do a lot of things and it has a special set of advantages for writers of long-form fiction. You can buy it at a one-time price of $45.
Is Scrivener really the best novel writing software for you? Let’s find out.
Scrivener is a master at keeping you organized.
If you work on multiple writing projects at a given time (I’m sure you do), you will love this writing tool. Each project will involve outlines, research, notes, brainstorming, etc. Scrivener keeps all files and documents associated with a project in the same folder. One place for everything.
This is sure to keep your “projects” file clean, lean, and organized.
Good novels require some level of research.
The level of research may vary, but you will definitely need to do research for your novel. Readers will relate better to your story when things are logical and believable. You need your readers to trust you if you want them to enjoy your novels.
Scrivener gives you a space within your project for all your research, then let's your organize it with index cards. It is kept out of the way but still accessible. Each project has a “binder” which lays out all sections in an organized and easy to follow way. You can create multiple documents for different areas of research.
Scrivener also allows you to import existing files for research and reference purposes. You can also keep track of links, images, and notes.
You can create and manage your novel outline hassle-free.
Everyone has a different outlining style so it can be hard to pinpoint a process that will work. If you don’t know what you like to do, you will just have to go through some trial and error. Regardless of how you end up doing your outline though, Scrivener is there to help.
Outlining becomes easy with Scrivener.
You can store your outline like research by using documents and keeping them under an “outline” section within the binder. If you like seeing things in list form, this will work best for you.
It is also helpful if you like to keep everything in one central place. You can create a new document for each chapter outline, or each character, whatever works for you.
It is a digital cork board that functions and appears much like a real cork board. You can pin virtual note cards to a screen that looks like a cork board.
Each note card is a small rectangle that has a scroll feature. This means you can include as much information as you want on one card while keeping it small and compact.
The cork board is great for those who are more visual. You can lay out your entire novel right in front of you with the cork board. A popular way to do this is to create a note card for each chapter and set them in proper order. They can be rearranged easily by dragging and dropping.
You can create note cards for characters, scenes, settings – anything really. The cork board is extremely versatile and will suit the needs of almost everyone in one way or another.
Scrivener allows you to set goals and targets for your novel.
This is a great motivator for those who struggle with writer’s block or procrastination. There are two types of goals you can create with Scrivener:
1. Project Targets
This is a word count goal for your entire project. It is hard to know exactly how long a novel will turn out to be. But you can predict a general ballpark and set the goal.
For instance, 80,000 words is a common novel length. You can make a more educated guess if you already have a detailed outline created.
2. Session Targets
This is a small goal that you can set each time you sit down to write. Maybe you have a couple of hours and you want to bang out 1500 words. You can create a session target with that number and Scrivener will start tracking you.
The targets are tracked in a small box that can be kept on the screen in a corner and out of the way. A progress bar will slowly start to fill up as you will work. As you will get closer to completion the bar will go from red to green.
Watching your progress increase and seeing that bar go green is a satisfying reward for your efforts. It keeps you going if you get stuck or lost.
There are several Scrivener templates available to choose from. A lot of these templates are creates for novelists.
Scrivener comes loaded with a few basic templates. If you need more templates, you can download them free and upload to your dashboard. There are tons of high-quality free templates available out there.
I have covered numerous Scrivener templates in this post.
A fully comprehensive template will have everything you need to write your novel seamlessly. Others will focus on one area. If you have a certain weakness that needs improvement, there is a template that will allow you to work on it while offering assistance.
Here is a list of types of templates that you can choose from:
- Story structure templates
- Outlining templates
- Plot Point templates
- World building templates
- Character sketching templates
- Instructional templates
- And many more
3. Scapple: Novel Writing Software Aid for Brainstorming
Are you more interested in a book writing software with a narrower and focused approach that lets you brainstorm and manage your novel easily?
Scapple is the novel writing tool you need.
It is a special-purpose novel writing software that helps you brainstorm and manage your notes and ideas in a clean interface.
It comes with a free trial so you can try it for free. It will cost you $14.99 should you need to purchase its full version with all the features.
Are you a fan of mind maps? If so, you will love Scapple.
You can create mind maps easily with this amazing writing software that will help you how to write a novel and how to finish it quickly.
Scapple allows you to create digital mind maps and brainstorming notes. You can then store these notes on your computer to import elsewhere.
You can use mind maps to bring ideas and themes together in a cohesive way visually. It helps you get rid of the chaos during the ideation and writing process.
Here is an example of how your mind map will look like:
Scapple is an easy-to-use tool. Once you open the program, you can click anywhere on the blank document to create a note. You can create unlimited notes and put them wherever you want.
Notes can be connected to each other by dragging them around. You can customize shape and structure of the notes easily.
No hiccups. It’s fun and interesting.
4. ProWritingAid: Novel Writing Software Aid for Editing
Knowing how to write a novel is one thing and having it edited is something else. You cannot go without editing your novel.
And when it comes to editing your novel, the best software is none other than ProWritingAid.
It is an editor that provides both grammar and style corrections and suggestions. It has a free version with limited features. You can only check 500 words at a time with the free version. This can be tedious and annoying if you are trying to edit a long project. The premium plan starts at $60 per year. You can get lifetime access for as low as $210.
Upgrading to the premium version has several additional benefits such as:
- A downloadable desktop app to work offline.
- No word limit.
- Real-time grammar and style checking.
- Integrates with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Chrome, and Scrivener.
- It provides 25 different writing reports on each piece of analyzed writing.
The reports you will get once your writing has been analyzed are discussed below.
1. Writing style: This will highlight instances of passive voice, adverbs, and repetition.
2. Grammar: Misuse of commas, sentence fragments, and incorrect use of tense are some of the grammar issues it will pick up.
3. Overused words: It finds words that are overused and ineffective.
4. Clichés and redundancies: Finds clichés within your text and suggests how they can be removed. Redundancies are things like “She clapped her hands.” The mention of hands is unnecessary as hands are (most likely) the only thing anyone would be clapping.
5. Sticky sentences: Identifies sentences that may feel or sound awkward due to unnecessary words. These sentences can interrupt the flow and make readers feel stuck.
6. Repeats: Highlights words or phrases that are used often throughout the text.
7. Sentence length: Gives you an overall view of how long your sentences are. This allows you to see where you might want to add some variety. Changing sentence length provide a good flow whereas multiple long or short sentences in a row can start to sound redundant and boring.
8. Pronouns: Gives you a pronoun percentage. Too many can make things feel repetitive.
9. Transitions: This gives you the percentage of sentences that contain a transition. ProWritingAid suggests that at least 25% of sentences should have them.
10. Consistency: Checks for spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
11. Dialogue tags: Excessive use of dialogue tags can slow the pace of your story. (Lucy shouted and Cassie said are examples of dialogue tags).
12. Readability: This report provides a score for your piece in 4 different ways based on certain guidelines. You can compare it to the specific guidelines and see how it stacks up.
13. Vague and abstract words: Identifies words that are abstract, vague, or otherwise ineffective. Depending on your intended audience, it may be better to stick to simpler words that are easily identified and understood by all.
14. Thesaurus: A report that will suggest possible replacement words – it is only programmed for shorter pieces, however.
15. Diction: Identifies complicated writing and suggests ways to fix it.
16. Alliteration: Alliteration is when multiple words in a row begin with the same letter. It can be effective in some instances but it should not be used excessively. This report highlights all uses of alliteration.
17. Homonyms: Checks for words like break and brake – they sound the same but actually spelled differently.
18. Corporate wording: Language that is complex and fancy… too much of this can sound pretentious and unnecessary.
19. Complex words: It identifies words that contain three or more syllables. You can then decide if any should be simplified or replaced.
20. Eloquence: Identifies some stylistic techniques.
21. Combo: This simply allows you to pick which of the reports are most helpful and relevant to you so you can more easily utilize them.
22. House style: This is a feature that allows you to create your own rules within ProWritingAid. For example, you can tell it to check for a word you know you have a habit of overusing.
23. Plagiarism: Points out any duplicated material so you can change it or properly credit the information to the source.
This list of reports may seem long and tedious – and that’s because it is. However, if you take the time to pay proper attention to each one, it will benefit you in many ways. You will be able to optimize your novel and improve it to a great extent.
If you make a habit of using and reading these reports, you will improve and become a better writer. You will begin to take notice of the mistakes you make repeatedly. You will learn what makes your writing sound great and what makes it sound clunky.
Eventually, this will become second nature and you’ll be writing it correctly the first time around.
5. AutoCrit: Word Processor for Better Writing
AutoCrit is an incredibly useful editing software with a unique purpose. This novel writing software analyzes your writing for originality. It begin by checking for simple grammatical errors that are crucial for great writing:
- Vague dialogue
- Weak sentences
- Poor grammar
AutoCrit is special in the sense that it goes beyond these basics and focuses on the overall success of your book. It takes your genre into consideration and compares your work to that of professional authors who are already published. It tells you how to stack up while ensuring you aren’t copying anyone.
If you have a particular well-known author whose writing style you really enjoy and wish to emulate, AutoCrit will help you with this too. Select from a list of highly recognized authors and receive customized recommendations for your writing.
This is an amazing tool if you’re pursuing self-publishing. Even if you’re interested in going the traditional route, it is still helpful as it shows you how your writing stacks up to the professionals.
AutoCrit has three tiers of membership where the benefits and features increasing as you go up in price point.
The Basic plan stats at $10/month and here is what you get with it:
- Access online editing tool based on the research of millions of books.
- Get key elements looked for by editors and agents highlighted when reviewing your manuscript
- Limited to 1000 words at a time.
The Professional plan is priced at $30/month and comes with following features:
- No risk trial – $1 for the first 14 days.
- Unlimited usage.
- Unlock the author comparison feature.
- Unlock genre filtering.
- Receive customized reporting.
The Elite plan is priced at $80/month and you get access to following features:
- No risk trial – $1 for the first 14 days
- Includes everything in the professional plan, plus:
- Courses that delve into the mindset of revising and publishing a book.
- Tips and tricks directly from agents, editors, and published authors.
- Opportunity for an author spotlight if your book gets published.
- Special surprises each month to help with motivation.
6. Evernote: Writing Program for Note Taking
Do you like taking notes during the writing process? Do you like to keep things organized? If so, you need to use Evernote.
Evernote isn’t essentially a novel or book writing software rather it is an app to create, manage, and organize your notes across multiple devices.
It helps you take notes on the go. It is simple, feature-rich, easy-to-use, and an effective note taking app.
You can keep multiple notes in a single notebook with Evernote. This is ideal for novelists as you can create multiple notebooks each for a different writing project. You can create a separate notebook for each novel that you are working on.
Evernote comes with a free version that allows you to create awesome notes but you can also subscribe to the premium service for $9.99/month.
The notes you can create with Evernote have a lot of different options and capabilities. In addition to all the usual formatting options (font, bold, italics, bullet lists, etc.) a note can do a lot of cool things:
- Include direct links to anywhere on the web.
- Insert the entire webpage or sections of a webpage with the web clipper extension.
- Tag notes for easy organization and searching.
- Import content from Microsoft OneNote.
- Export as HTML or webpage for use with other services and programs.
- Attach files from your computer right into the note.
- Print your note or convert it to PDF.
- View note history.
- Share a note with an individual or on social media
You can enjoy additional benefits if you upgrade to a paid plan:
- Monthly upload limit increase from 60MB to 10GB.
- Maximum note size increase from 25MB to 200MB.
- The number of devices that can be used goes from 2 to unlimited.
- Offline access is available on desktop and mobile (mobile not available with basic).
- Increased customer support access through email and live chat.
7. Dramatica: Novel Writing Software for Character Development
Character development is a crucial element of any novel. Regardless of the story’s focus, characters are always important. It is generally recommended that you create your main character(s) well before you begin writing. Adding character sketch in the outline will help too.
But how you get better at character development? What software to use?
The simple answer is: Dramatica.
Dramatica is a novel writing software that focuses on characters and their development. It helps you stay consistent with your characters in terms of their personality, actions, and decisions.
The software allows you to map out the narrative for each individual character with in-depth detail. You can plot their milestones and crucial moments and keep track of how they relate to the theme of your story.
The idea is to let you create and follow your story from the perspective of your main character. These detailed but flexible character profiles help eliminate plot holes and inconsistencies as you are able to see the whole picture from all sides.
Dramatica doesn’t just help with character development and management rather it also suggests improvement based on your theme.
Perfect Your Structure
Dramatica has what they call a “Master Story Engine” which picks the exact structure of your story. This goes beyond the few basic or typical structures rather it is pulled from a database of over 30,000 unique variations of your story’s structure. Their algorithm can quickly identify what elements of the story and the structure are most important for the writer.
Dramatica offers a free demo. If you like what they have to offer, you can switch to their premium plan. The software is available for both Mac and Windows and is priced between $68 and $129.
8. Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is a word processor that offers a suite of productivity features. Most writers are already familiar with this tool. That means the learning curve maybe non-existent for you.
In Word, you can use headers to organize your chapters and a navigation pane to go through them. Moreover, Microsoft Word offers many templates and basic grammar correction functionality. With the online version, you can collaborate with co-authors and editors, making this an exceptional tool to use for writing a novel.
Better yet, most writers and editors still prefer Microsoft Word. This means you're more likely to find an editor who will want to work with you if you started writing your novel on the platform.
Grammarly is a grammar checker and one of the best writing programs for ensuring your grammar is mistake-free. It's free to use with unlimited documents. It works through a Chrome extension that enables these corrections anywhere you write on the web whether that be on another platform like Squibler or Google Docs.
You can also opt-in for the premium upgrade. This upgrade gives you more advance grammar correction features - everything from plagiarism detection to vocabulary enhancement. It's well worth the price at only $29.95/month.
Ulysses is a Mac-based writing program and word processor available in the Mac OS and iOS app store. It syncs files to Apple’s iCloud, which means it works with a good part of Apple's ecosystem.
Ulysses has one Library for all of your documents, full version history of revisions, and the ability to strip away menu options for distraction-free writing. Moreover, you can use Ulysses to export your work in Plain Text, PDF, HTML, Markdown, DOCX, and EPub.
The downside is there are no templates and collaboration features. As a result, many writers may favorite it for note taking over using it as a book writing software.
Ulysses costs $4.99/month or $39.99/year if you pay annually. It's relatively inexpensive to start writing in it and well worth it to try.
Choose the Best Novel Writing Software Today
These are a list of the best writing software which are sure to help you write your first novel that readers will fall in love with.
It should be noted that a writing software or a book writing tool doesn’t write for you rather it helps you write better. The purpose of using these software and tools is to get organized, improve writing speed, and get things professionally.
These tools simplify novel writing which is a complicated and complex task.
Download your favorite novel writing software form the list above, sign up for a free trial, explore software and its features, figure out how it will help you in the writing process, and if it turns out to be a decent match, switch to premium plan.