If you’re writing a novel, it’s important you have the right tools to help you stay organized and write your book efficiently.
There are a few things you’re going to want to make sure you have:
- A word processor you can write and save in
- Software or a processor that allows you to make notes, comments, or jot down ideas for your book
- A way to organize your manuscript with an outline, plot, or storyboard, so you can quickly see the “big picture” of your story while you’re working on it
- Grammar checkers and software that will help you improve your writing
With these systems in place, writing a novel will be a whole lot easier.
The Best Novel Writing Software
Here’s our list of the best software for writing a novel.
1. Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is one of the oldest word processors out there, and it is still widely used for writing books. Word has a lot of features to offer, and with a new suite of productivity features added regularly, this software makes writing more accessible to the average writer.
Furthermore, Word has been around for so long that most people are already familiar with using it. If that’s you, it’ll probably be a lot easier and better to keep using Word than switching to another program because it takes time to learn new software.
You can use headers to organize your chapters, use the navigation pane to navigate through them, and create templates that you can use repeatedly with multiple manuscripts or projects.
You can collaborate with co-authors and editors, reorganize your draft in outline view, use it as a brainstorming tool, and even go distraction-free when you want to. You can even format and publish an eBook using a Microsoft Word template for free.
Most editors still prefer Word documents for manuscripts, so it’s a great tool to use for writing because it makes tracking and reviewing changes and comments really easy.
You can buy Microsoft Word here.
Price: $159.99, or $6.99/month when you buy Microsoft Office. See full pricing details here.
Scrivener is an advanced writing software created with serious novelists and nonfiction writers in mind. It has a collection of templates for both fiction and nonfiction writing.
Both Mac and PC users can use Scrivener. You can export books easily to other digital platforms like Kindle, Kobo, and iBooks which is handy because it’ll save you time when it comes to formatting your manuscript.
This software is made for writers, and you can tell. It’s easy to drag and drops sections, create outlines and scenes, and you can even develop sub-files so that your manuscript is organized. It is also super easy to keep track of all your research and notes with a project binder.
For more complicated work, you can split the screen, work in outliner views, or use the corkboard view and move index cards to plot your storylines.
Ulysses is a tool that creates a document out of fragments and makes it a complete story. It has a feature that inserts words with automatic synchronization, and any programmers would probably love this function.
This tool allows you to work on your novel anytime and anywhere you want.
You can download its 14-day trial here.
4. Google Docs
Google Docs is a simpler version of Microsoft Word. It’s a barebones, simple word processor that does not offer much regarding formatting and outlining.
While it is simple, it is quite a capable word processor for those writers looking for free writing software. You can share files and content, and communicate via comments too. You can even access previous versions of your work to review all the changes that have been made to your book file.
However, if you want to use Google Docs as your main writing software, you’ll want to make sure you enable Google Docs for offline use so you can still write without internet access.
Evernote is an application for storing, creating, and searching through notes in a very sophisticated way. You don’t need to type everything manually and you can access all your notes in any of your devices. It even allows you to search the handwritten words and you can share it with your friends and family.
It is a very powerful tool for writers, researchers, and anyone who wants to organize lots of notes and research.
Learn more about this novel writing software in our Evernote review.
Price: Free, or upgrade for premium features at $7.99/month.
Grammarly is one of the best-known grammar correctors used by millions of people. You can install it in any web browser, and it’ll automatically let you know when there are any errors in your grammar, spelling, or other typos in anything you write online (including email, websites, and other documents).
It can detect errors such as grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, contextual spelling, and writing style.
Grammarly is free. You can upgrade to a premium plan that supplies language enhancement hints to increase your writing knowledge and skills. The premium version also includes a plagiarism checker software tool that’s pretty awesome as well.
To get started, just download the software extension and install it in your web browser in a few seconds.
Learn more in our Grammarly review.
Price: Free, or upgrade to a premium account for $12/month.
Dramatica is the writer’s tool that can tell you things about your story you didn’t tell it. This tool helps solidify character interactions, plug plot holes, and complete your story in a way that will resonate with your audience.
AutoCrit is a writer’s tool that’s built for storytellers. It gives you recommendations for improving your manuscript and your writing.
This is a genre-specific tool that can customize your results when you select one of seven fiction styles.
You can start your free trial here.
Price: Free, or upgrade to premium version for $30/month. See full pricing details here.
yWriter is a free word processor that was designed by an experienced programmer and published author, Simon Haynes.
The tool breaks your novel into chapters and scenes, making it easy for you to keep track of your work and focus more on creating.
The Best Software for Writing a Novel
There are lots of great tools out there that can help you plan, organize, and write your novel.
For more excellent writing resources, check out this list of author tools that can help you write, publish, and market your next book.
Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:
- The Best Mobile Apps for Writers
- 10 Grammar Software Tools and Punctuation Checkers
- Top 10 Free and Cheap Plagiarism Detection Tools
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.