It is not wrong to admit that writing a good book is a strenuous process. Keeping a good novel writing software around helps you ease the process of writing, failing which some of your greatest ideas may go into the bin due to unforeseen reasons.
Understand that even the most brilliant writing software in the world cannot outshine our thoughts and creative process, nor can it come up with a complete book for us. If that were the case, wouldn’t the world be filled with great novelists everywhere?
So, what is noteworthy about good novel writing software?
In short, such software should help in simplifying the writing process and improving your overall writing experience with easier ways to keep your ideas and thoughts organized.
I guess we are now ready to plunge into some of the Best Novel Writing Software that helps improve the writing experience.
I have been preaching for this novel writing software for a long time. Being an online novel writing app, you don’t need to install it on your computer. Sign up with your email details and start writing your novel instantly.
Any software is loved when it is simple to use but packed with features. The masterminds behind LivingWriter are genius in this aspect as they have understood user requirements and hence, have come up with an app that is simple yet contains all writing tools needed by any writer.
Login and there are multiple options to get your writing skills rolling in action. The editor screen is easy to use with all necessary features on the same page.
The screen is split into three panes—left, right, and center. The left pane has stories, chapters, and story elements, using which you can bring life to characters. The right pane aids in editing all details concerning your chapters, characters, and events. The center pane contains the simple and clear text editor where you pen down your thoughts.
Surprisingly there is no save button to save all your precious work but, don’t worry as every character and word typed are auto-saved.
Feel free to view your writing history and make any changes to your sessions. Any versions could be edited, deleted, renamed, or reverted. Also, the autocomplete command helps finish the character names and things as you type.
LivingWriter is compliant with the Grammarly writing tool that is a great gesture and a relief for most of us.
Once you finish writing, the export options come into action, helping you export your novel as a single document or individual parts to Word or PDF.
For a long time, I complained about the distraction-free writing mode in my original LivingWriter review, and the team has taken it seriously to introduce the Focus Mode in their latest version.
If you wish to engage yourself in the littlest of your time, the app is also mobile-ready; however, I have not used it yet as I’m not a big fan of writing on mobile devices.
In my opinion, Living Writer is the best novel writing software for those who don’t want to waste their time learning software rather than writing their masterpiece.
- Autocomplete text provisioning
- Export option to Amazon manuscript templates
- Ready-to-use story templates
- Autosave feature prevents any loss of data
- Complete version history
- Simple editor screen where the right sidebar could be hidden whenever needed
- Real-time manuscript sharing with editors and coauthors
- No ‘View’ option
- Subscription model
If you have been into novel writing for quite some time or have done some research on book writing software, you could not have missed hearing about Scrivener. Probably this is the best novel writing software for mainstream writers and publishing houses.
Scrivener is high-end writing software, created by writers for writers. Your search for versatile software ends with choosing Scrivener as it is well-equipped to do everything needed for your book-writing project.
Organizing is the key to come up with a good plot and elaborate on the story, and this software is the best when it comes to organization.
Feel free to work on multiple projects simultaneously. Each project has its dedicated outlines, notes, research data, creative inputs, and more segmented and saved intricately. Every data related to a project is available in the same folder.
Writing needs abundant research to come up with the right information, and hence, research is a core part of your writing process. Put a full stop to endless paper strips, sticky notes, and littered tissues around your place as Scrivener promises a dedicated space in your project for research-related data.
Use multiple documents, import files for references, follow up on your images and notes, and use the binder section for referring to any required data.
Once you are done with research, it’s time to outline your novel using the ‘Outline’ section available inside binders. Keep your entire novel right in front of your eyes to study and rewrite using the digital Cork Board.
Scrivener never leaves space for productivity lags as you can set definite targets relating to projects and sessions. The software motivates you, applauds your efforts, and keeps monitoring for the completion of set goals.
- Numerous templates available for seamless novel writing
- Set goals and targets to meet project requirement on time
- Binder view helps break up your book into individual chapters and sections
- Free 30-day trial period
- Composition mode keeps you free from distractions
- Powerful writing software that gives you the freedom to do what you want
- A steep learning curve makes Scrivener quite distasteful for some individuals
- Formatting and collaborating are quite complicated
- The independence available seems too liberating for some writers
In a world where novel writing software helps us simplify the process, the heart of PlotFactory is that it allows us to plot our story, standing true to its name.
For any writing, the process becomes easy once your plot is ready.
Some take ample time to outline their plot, while some others do it instantly. Among some outlining software that helps you develop a brilliant outline, PlotFactory stands apart from the rest given its efficiency and uniqueness.
Start creating your story using the dashboard containing information about everything you need, right from characters and plot to word counts and more.
The dashboard has tabs for creating universes, character sheets, stories, and questionnaires. Each story that you create is linked to a Universe that is similar to a Binder available in Scrivener.
There are multiple outline options, and for those who aren’t happy with them, you can even choose from different templates that are present.
If you are someone who has a strong idea about your impending plot, skip any of these and directly hit the Plot Organizer button to come up with your creative plot. Besides helping you retain all related information to your plot and provide easy access to them, PlotFactory also helps you know better about the story structure. You can either choose to give life to your characters from scratch or take help from the software to build your characters.
Worldbuilding is made more comfortable with the Universe Creation option. Another exciting feature is the ‘Stories’ button. It helps you do multiple things right from writing drafts, generating captivating names to use in your novel, and engaging in discussions with others by sharing your writing to pen down notes, keep track of word count, and rearrange scenes.
It’s always good to hear someone read our script, and PlotFactory has understood this requirement well. Hear, listen, and make changes to your novel as the tool’s AI reader reads out your manuscript pronouncing the names correctly. This is surprising given the nuances attached to names and pronunciations in different parts of the world.
- A mobile version is available which takes off right from where you have left on your PC
- The Dark Mode feature helps you work in peace when you most need it
- The ability to create characters, places, objects, and notes even outside the story is helpful when it comes to series
- Achieve targets by setting Session goals and writing goals
- Worldbuilding helps in developing your story
- Share a part of your novel with others for their inputs
- The presence of multiple dashboards might be confusing at times
- Limited benefits for non-fiction writers as the software mainly focuses on developing your story
- An online-only app and hence needs an active Internet connection to work on your writing
- The basic plan offers limited free features, and for everything else, you need to select a paid plan
You might be content with using the Word Processor but would love to add a couple of features to enhance your writing experience. In such cases, Novlr is your go-to software as it is simple and easy to use. Start writing in Novlr by giving a captivating title for your novel and continue writing chapters using the ‘Add new chapter’ button.
Don’t worry about changes, as it is easy to rearrange your chapters using the drag and drop option available.
The menu bar on the left has two sections for novel and planning that can be collapsed if you are in the mood for distraction-free writing. The main ‘Dashboard’ button present on the right side of the screen gives you a clear insight into Novlr.
It is here that you get the independence to play with settings, change preferences, and track your statistics. Don’t forget to set word targets for a day, month, or year using a single dashboard. The software helps you keep your proofreading provisioning on or off, and you can add comments in any part of your work as you wish.
The planning section on the left side of the menu bar is where all your creative thoughts are jotted down for later use. Create new chapters using the main menu or import chapters in other formats (.txt, .docx, or .rtf).
Don’t forget to write down your notes, synopsis, thoughts about characters, and more using the ‘Add Notes’ button present at the bottom of the planning section. Once done, it is possible to access various versions of the manuscript and make necessary changes.
Working offline is also possible here, and hence, don’t worry about an Internet connection every time you wish to add some notes to your writing. You can read my full review to get a better understanding of this novel writing software.
- Set writing goals
- Check grammar and proofread your work
- Ability to get suggestions for various writing styles
- Complete assistance in planning your work
- Perfect for multitasking
- Easy to export your material
- In comparison, the features offered are much lesser than some other premium novel writing apps
Ulysses, standing true to its meaning (a hero in Greek literature), is a noteworthy novel writing app for Mac users. The app can be used on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, syncs with Apple’s iCloud, and hence, becomes easy for individuals to use it whenever they want.
Remember, there is no compatibility with Windows, and if you find any promises for Windows, please don’t be fooled. Quality is always better than quantity. If you believe that you prefer something short and sweet, don’t miss out on Ulysses.
The interface is simple, distraction-free, and offers customization options in terms of appearance. One of the remarkable features of Ulysses is its Markdown support. With Markdown language, you can format text without buttons and menus. Again, some of you might not be comfortable working with Markdown, and it is better that you double think before associating with Ulysses.
Before you plunge into Ulysses, it is recommended that you quickly read through the tutorial section for a better understanding of the interface. There is a library on the left in which you could create a book, film script, or files, depending on your requirements.
The drag and drop functionality helps in rearranging your work anytime. Organizing is quick and easy as filters give life to every character and part involved in the book. The background helps you write better or interferes with your creativity. Ulysses has a ‘Dark Mode’ option and a provision to change the environment based on the time of day.
Goal setting is crucial to meeting deadlines, and the goal trackers aid in setting word count goals and updating your achievements. In the same panel, you can store notes, keywords, and images that would be helpful.
There are multiple export formats such as PDF, Word, html, ePub, and plain text that helps you convert your precious work into the required format and send it out for publishers.
- Simple, neat, and clean interface
- Keep track of writing goals
- Availability of distraction-free mode
- Optimal features
- Provisioning to sync between multiple devices
- Enables speedier writing with Markup-based editors and keyboard shortcuts
- Compatible only with Apple devices
- No collaboration features
The AutoCrit software calls itself ‘the fiction writer’s secret weapon’ and accomplishes what it says! We can all write, rewrite, and proofread them umpteen times, but at some point, we become blind to our mistakes, and this is common with all. If you want to overcome any possible errors and have a new set of eyes that sees your draft from a whole new perspective, get hold of AutoCrit.
The software is cleverly designed to identify your book’s strengths and weaknesses, prompting hints and recommendations for improvements.
If you are a fiction writer, AutoCrit is an excellent choice for editing your writing as it compares your work with already published work and recommends necessary changes. It also depends on the individual to choose your preferred genre to evaluate your writing. You get a detailed analysis of your draft focusing on six crucial categories: dialogue, repetition, word choice, and strong writing, making a comparison to fiction, pacing, and momentum.
Editing is clean, and the software highlights all required places that need reworking, thereby enabling better productivity. Goal tracking is necessary to abide by your delivery promises. And AutoCrit helps you do this in a well-rounded manner—the software comes up with Score and Fingerprint features that help you understand the progress in your work.
In my original AutoCrit review, I have detailed how this software gives you a word-by-word analysis, thereby pointing out the overuse of words and suggesting the removal of redundancies. Though AutoCrit cannot be a replacement for a human editor, it does point out your book’s strengths and weaknesses, helping you make revisions and get it ready for print.
- Helps improve sentence starters
- Professional editing software
- Makes a direct comparison to some of the bestselling books in every genre possible
- Six-fold analysis
- Provides word-by-word analysis
- Tracks your writing progress
- Chapter by chapter editing
- Quite expensive
- A mobile app isn’t available
- Supports only English language
7. Reedsy Book Editor
Be it fiction or nonfiction, Reedsy editor is readily available to help you sort your writing needs. Beware, this may not be your right tool if you want something that helps you in your A-Z writing needs as Reedsy is still in the nascent stage, and neither is an all-in-one self-publishing company. The primary advantage behind Reedsy is that the software is easy to use and available for free.
Reedsy was created mainly to help you release a beautifully-written book. A production tool and a typesetter, the software typesets as you write, come up with good formatting options that behave similarly to professionally formatted books. There is something called the ‘Writing Mode,’ where you can insert chapter breaks, images, notes, and scene breaks. Provisioning to add deleted paragraphs is also possible as earlier versions of your manuscript stay intact in the software.
Expect unique template designs and a ready-to-use range of templates that could be of help to many. The software even allows users to custom-design their desired template. Some other services offered by Reedsy include professional collaborations with freelancers for sorting out your editing needs, editorial assessment, copy editing, line editing, and proofreading.
- Ability to export as PDF, Mobi, or EPUB
- View previous versions and add/delete passages as needed
- The tool typesets as you write
- Various themes available such as classic and romance
- A free and easy-to-use tool
- Actual publication services are not free
- Not a tool that helps you with complete self-publishing needs
Start small and work your way to success. yWriter believes strongly in this ideology, and that’s why the tool insists writers write in scenes rather than chapters. Scenes are the building blocks of your novel. They are more manageable, and you would find it simpler to correct and go ahead penning down your thoughts and ideas.
The interface is simple, and anyone can start writing by creating chapters and scenes immediately after downloading the app. Every chapter and scene could be filled with plenty of details, and you could mark your scene status to—draft phase, first edit, the second edit, and so on.
The tool is designed smartly such that one look at the chapter helps you with a readymade list of info at your fingertips, right from the count of words in every scene, name of the scene, and more. Goal setting is useful in yWriter as there is provisioning to set even word targets for an hour instead of a day, month, or year.
The tool auto-updates your work, which leaves no space for lost data.
Write your book and listen to your writing using the text-to-speech converter! If you love updates, yWriter is just right for you as the software gives you an auto-update whenever there is a new feature or functionality available. For instance, automatic capitalization of the first character in a sentence, an extra typing speed tool, the ability to search for duplicate words, and more are available in the latest updated version.
On the downside, there are no templates available, but you can create one on your own. Export options are also average, with the provisioning to export to HTML, RTF, PDF, Latex, and some others.
If you are not someone who gets disturbed by heaps of metadata generated, try using yWriter. But the main problem is that this tool is compatible only with Windows and Linux systems with no Mac version available. Sorry Mac users!
- Free to use
- Structurally good
- A laudable tool for those wishing to come up with concrete stories and characters
- Clean and intuitive interface
- There is no mobile app
- Not compatible with Mac
- No templates or screenwriting tools
- Limited editing options
9. Google Docs
Google Docs is one of the most popular and simplest web apps that’s a part of Google Drive. It is free to use, but first-time users might find it quite intriguing or even confusing as it is integrated with Google Drive. You could edit docs in Chrome by downloading Google Docs as a plugin, but using it as an app is more convenient.
As expected from Google, the interface is elegant, user-friendly, and performance-oriented. Don’t worry about the toolbar and menu items as most of them have a keyboard equivalent that makes it easier to access for most of us.
Explore your way through your document using the Explore button that opens on the right side of the browser window. You get various suggestions regarding formatting, data management, and more. An analysis box has charts that give varying interpretations of your data.
Google has done a commendable job in improving its template options. We get to explore admirable templates that are compatible with documents, presentations, and worksheets. The menu here is similar to other word processors such as Microsoft Word. Right below it is the formatting menu that gives access to adjust text size, make indents, do spell checks, and more.
Access to revision history is handy. There is a detailed report on the document’s changes and who made the changes, thereby easing your stress when multiple people are working simultaneously on the doc.
Export in various formats such as PDF, HTML, ePub, Open Document, and many more, making it a preferred choice for many. Not surprisingly, you can choose Google Docs if you want to share your manuscript with your editors or co-authors in real-time.
- Free web-based app that is easy to access from anywhere through Web browsers and devices
- Awesome export options
- The interface is uncluttered and elegant
- Superb revision and collaboration features
- Download files in various formats
- The speed of the app depends on your internet connection
- Average-performing in comparison to desktop-based apps
- A plug-in for Chrome is needed if you want to work offline
Two other tools discussed below are not essentially novel writing software. However, they are prevalent among novel writers who need a helping hand sorting out their writing. Let’s take a quick look.
None can miss out on writing about Grammarly when choosing some of the best novel writing tools. Grammarly might not be a novel writing software, but it is the best online grammar checking program available to use.
Most of us use Grammarly to identify spelling mistakes, correct our grammar, look into clarity, or even check the tone of the document. There aren’t any places where Grammarly wouldn’t work—you can access it from your phone, it works with Google Docs, works as a web app, you can download it as a desktop app, or install it as an extension for your browser.
Grammarly helps you gain insights into improving your writing, supports self-editing, and points out repeated words so that the writing doesn’t become monotonous.
Choose Grammarly if you are strong in creativity but lack much knowledge in spelling and grammar, especially correct placement of punctuation marks. You can get the tool for free or go for paid plans if you want to proof-read your novel thoroughly with advanced features.
Surprisingly, the free plan is quite robust and is compatible with any working mode. In contrast, the paid plans detect plagiarism, provide better vocabulary and style options, and come up with precise writing feedback.
- Choose between American and British English
- The best functioning grammar software
- Can be used via multiple platforms
- An excellent spell checker and highly accurate in correcting grammar mistakes
- The free version is powerful and useful
- The paid versions are expensive comparatively and not well-received by those on a tight budget
- Strong marketing by the company for choosing paid plans is irritating sometimes
This is a grammar and style checker that’s best used to check grammar errors and proofreading, but if you doubt its use for novel writing, ProWritingAid is highly recommended for fiction writers.
But, how can a spell checker help in writing novels?
There are various facets to this tool that makes it a recommended choice for novelists. You can use ProWritingAid for correcting inconsistent tenses, induce clarity into your writing, correct spellings and grammar, pick better words, and do away with duplicate words.
When you use ProWritingAid to check your story, it helps you do away with cliché words, overused words or phrases, correct sentences that make the reading slower and improve your text’s readability.
A free version of ProWritingAid is also available for use. However, if you wish to upgrade to their paid plan, the fees are quite nominal compared to Grammarly. In case you are interested, please read my full ProWritingAid review.
- Allows you to check documents of any size in one go
- Checks for cliches, readability, and passive voice
- An affordable fee plan
- Suggests on grammar, spelling, and styles
- Works only with an active Internet connection
- Plagiarism checker comes at an additional fee
- There could be lags sometimes when you check a huge document
Best Novel Writing Software: The Verdict
The world has its fair share of novel writing software, and it is up to you to use your discretion and choose the best tool that enhances your creativity, brings a better perspective to your writing skills, and molds you into a better writer.
These tools can never be a replacement for humans, but they do come to our rescue when we need them most—helping us set goals, monitor our progress, trigger our imagination by setting the tone and pace of our novel, and above all, help remove redundancies and errors in our grammar and language.If someone asks me my favorite tool, my answer would be Scrivener. It indeed takes time to get a hold of this novel-writing tool, but none can beat its features and usability. In case you just want to dive into your novel writing without spending time on the software, choose LivingWriter unhesitatingly.