Novel writing software

writing novel on laptop

Do you really need novel writing software?

Anyone who wants to write a book may at some point or another contemplate purchasing novel writing software. Getting the tools to start writing is often the easiest step for beginning writers. You can almost compare buying novel software to buying running shoes before you start running. Is novel writing software really necessary, or is it just another way to procrastinate and avoid doing what you should be doing (which is writing)?

What are the alternatives?

The answer is yes and no. Technically, you can write your story using pen and paper. Unfortunately, that’s terribly inefficient and will probably take a lot longer. Besides, in order to publish your book, you’re going to have to type it up (or pay someone else to type it), so you may as well start typing from the get-go.

Using a typewriter is also another option, but it’s almost as outdated as pen and paper. For starters, it’s really difficult to edit anything in a typewritten document. Plus, have you tried to buy a typewriter lately? They’re so unpopular that they’re almost a vintage item again, which means they are both hard to find and expensive. Not a good combination.

The importance of word count

One of the things that proper novel writing software can do is tracking your word count for you. While some people write for fun and don’t necessarily care about the word count, any published author knows that they have to reach a minimum word count goal before they can consider their novel to be complete. Unfortunately, counting words is not really any fun. The good news is that any decent novel writing software will display your word count automatically.

Where to save your notes

One of the challenges of writing a novel is finding a place to keep important notes. Some authors utilize complicated spreadsheets; others use different Word documents or an old-fashioned paper notebook for this purpose. Good novel writing software should make saving those details easier for you. Whether you need to keep track of your characters and their personal quirks, important dates, or locations, your program should have a place for everything.

Ideally, keeping track of your notes shouldn’t distract you from writing your story. If you have to dig through the software to figure out where to save the information on your new character, you might lose your train of thought. Plus, by the time you get back to writing your story, you may have already forgotten the name of your new character. Fortunately, Novelize allows you to stay inside of your story while reading and editing your notebook information.

Creating a manuscript

If you’re writing a novel with the intent to publish a book at some point, then you’re going to want to create a manuscript. This manuscript will have to follow certain submission guidelines in order for your editor to want to read it. Technically, you can probably figure out how to configure your Word document to manuscript submission standards, but that’s going to take you a lot of time. In the end, your novel writing software is there to make life easier for you, so a pre-formatted manuscript is a must.

What’s the final verdict?

Is novel writing software a must-have in order to become the next bestselling author? No. Is novel writing software useful for novel writers? Absolutely. Novel writing software definitely makes your life easier. Can you imagine going running without your running shoes? Whether you’re just getting started on your first book or working on an outline for your 10th novel, there’s no harm in giving Novelize a trial run!

 

4 Reasons to invest in novel writing software

five dollar bill

Purchasing novel writing software will not guarantee you a spot in the New York Times list of Bestselling Authors. Nothing can guarantee that. Using novel writing software also won’t help you write a book that will find a publisher instantly and generate a lot of revenue. But there is a point to using software specifically designed to write novels over Word, Pages, or pen and paper.

1. Your level of commitment increases

You probably already have a word processor on your computer. It has been there since you bought the computer. Maybe you have been dreaming about writing a novel for years. Maybe you just had that idea last weekend because you read about NaNoWriMo. In any case, your desire to write a novel is there. But are you committed?

Having dreams is wonderful. But to make those dreams come true, you have to show some commitment. For some people, purchasing novel writing software solidifies this commitment. It’s like purchasing a gym membership or personal training sessions to get fit. You’re more likely to go because you spent money on it. Of course, having an accountability partner may be just as important as having the right tools. Why not use both?

2. Your characters are well planned out

Have you ever tried to write a story using Word? It’s pretty easy to do. But one thing that’s really difficult when you use Word: keeping track of your characters. A lot of writers don’t mind creating characters for their novel as the story progresses. But it can be hard to remember all the details. Throughout your story, you’ll forget their last names and their eye color. Then you resort to having sticky notes all over your screen where you write down important information. Or maybe you have an old-fashioned paper notebook to do just that.

Many types of novel writing software offer great solutions for character development. Novelize keeps all of that information in the notebook panel which is accessible and usable while you’re writing your novel. The notebook can even be used for subsequent novels, which is a great time saver when you’re writing a series.

3. Advanced features make your life easier

Novel writing software makes your life as an author easier. If you’re using Word or a similar program, you can probably find a workaround for most problems. Instead of dragging and dropping scenes and chapters where you want them to be, you can use the good old copy and paste function. Instead of outlining first and using your notes to write, you can color-coordinate your text in Word. But these workarounds can make the writing process more tedious than it needs to be. Novel writing software can also help you with keeping track of your goals in a way Word can’t. There may be a visible progress bar, reminder emails, or both to help you finish that novel.

4. Novel writing software will keep you focused

Good novel writing software has all the features you need to write your novel without distracting you. Novelists don’t need bibliographies, footnotes, and millions of formatting options. Yes, you’ll want to format your novel to meet publishing requirements. And eventually, you’ll get around to doing that. But first and foremost you have to get that novel written. That’s what we emphasize at Novelize. Yes, there are programs out there that offer more features than we do. But all the features in the world won’t help you if you don’t actually get that novel written.

 
 

What your novel writing program should do for you

reach your goals

Whether you’re just getting started as a writer or have been writing for the last 40+ years, it’s important to find the right novel-writing program to work with. The good news is that a novel-writing program doesn’t have to be very fancy in order to serve you well. And technically, you can write your story down on paper and type it up later for publication purposes. However, writing a novel on a computer is usually faster and much easier to edit. Therefore, you should choose the most appropriate writing tool for your purposes.

It should be easy to use

The best novel-writing program is easy to use. While you can certainly purchase a fancy, complicated application with all of the bells and whistles, that doesn’t mean it will help you be more productive as a novel writer. You can tell that a program is complicated when there are training programs available teaching you how to use it. Also, if the writing program you’re looking at comes with a giant instruction manual, it might not be easy to use.

Of course, if you don’t mind learning the ins and outs of a new program, that doesn’t have to stop you from choosing a more complicated piece of software. However, for the rest of us, the easier it is to use, the better.

Keep track of your word count

In theory, it shouldn’t matter what the total word count of your novel is. Lots of people advise you to write until your story is completed. But in reality, numbers do matter. In fact, if you want to write a novel and end up with a novella or short story instead, you might feel disappointed. But it’s not just the overall word count that matters. Writers also want to know how many words they’ve written during the past week or day. A good novel-writing program will give you all the stats you need to stack on track with your writing.

Help you focus on writing

Your writing program should help you focus on writing your novel. If it encourages you to surf the Internet to look up the history of Pygmies in South America, then that’s probably not going to help you write your novel. We know that writers have to do research. But most of the time, doing research and playing around with the functions of your novel writing program don’t qualify as productive use of your time. You should be writing instead.

Make your notes easily accessible

While you’re writing your book, you’ll want to have access to important notes you made. Whether you need to refer to a character you’ve recently introduced, look up a date to make sure you remember it correctly, or look at your brainstorming ideas for the next chapter, it’s important to have access to your notes. If you’re using something like Word, then you either have to deal with sticky notes all around your monitor or you have to keep several files open at one time. That’s not the best way to keep your notes organized and handy.

Encourage you to reach your goals

It’s not enough for your writing program to tell you how many words you’ve written so far or even this week. This is especially useless if you never log on to your program to see the actual word count. The best novel writing programs encourage you to reach your goals. This could be in the form of an email reminder telling you to get busy because you’re falling behind. Sometimes all you need is a little gentle encouragement. And how much better would it be if your email reminder praised you for making so much progress?

Give you easy access to your novel

Nowadays, everyone is starved for time. This is especially true for someone who wants to write a novel but also has a daytime job and numerous other obligations. Writing a novel can sometimes take a backseat to other goals. Fortunately, you can use a good writing program to work on your novel during slow times and waiting periods, whether you’re at the doctor’s office, waiting on a dinner date, riding the subway, or watching a commercial. To make this possible, your novel writing program has to work on any device, including your cell phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop.

Can your current novel writing program keep up?

If your current writing program can’t keep up, then maybe it’s time to try something different. After all, “Insanity [is] doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” (Albert Einstein). Novelize is determined to keep you writing.

 

The advantages of novel writing software with minimal features

typing on laptop sitting on couch

Writing a novel is not easy. Even if you have the time to sit down and write, there are probably also a million other things that you could or should be doing. But sometimes we have the time to write and just end up staring at the screen for hours. We all have the tendency to fill time with trivial things instead of doing what needs to get done.

And that’s precisely why you need novel writing software with minimal features.

What’s the first thing you do with a new novel?

When you’re ready to start working on a new novel, what’s the first thing you do? Do you think of a great overall plot? Do you create characters? Do you start working on an outline? Do you just start writing? All of those are great ways to begin your next book. But if you’re like most people, you probably do something totally different.

Why you shouldn’t set up your novel writing software

First, you’ll give your book a working title, subtitle, and a word count goal. Then you’ll play with the font sizes and colors. Maybe you’ll adjust the background color on your screen. Then you’ll play with the formatting. Should you indent your paragraphs? The problem with spending time on setting up your novel is that doing all of these things doesn’t actually get your book written.

That’s why Novelize does not give you a lot of options when it comes to formatting your font – and even these options are not accessible from inside your novel. You can only choose between light and dark mode. We’re not trying to be mean by denying you the option to change the look of the novel writing program. Instead, we really want to help you focus on writing. And according to Vivien Chase from The Lady Nerds, it works:

“When I started using Novelize, do you know what happened? I started writing.” 

Stick to the basic features

There are a few features novel writing software absolutely must have. For example, you need to be able to create characters, scenes, and add important notes about your novel. It’s also nice to have the ability to organize your scenes easily. You may also like to use a program that works on different devices. Last but not least, you need to be able to export your novel.

We like to keep Novelize simple. Yes, there are a lot more features that we could add to Novelize, but we don’t want to clutter up the interface. Our main goal is to keep you writing. Formatting comes later.

 

Should you pay for novel writing software for your first novel?

write your story

Congratulations! You have decided to write a novel. Now what do you do? Should you buy novel writing software before you get started writing? It depends. On the one hand, you don’t want to put the cart before the horse. After all, in order to run a marathon, you should probably start running instead of going shopping for running clothes, new shoes, and a water bottle.

Focus on what’s important

Buying novel writing software is not a bad idea at all, but you should still focus on what’s really important. In order to write a book, you’re going to have to (you guessed it) write. You don’t need anything to get fancy to get started writing. You could even use pen and paper. Of course, novel writing software can make a big difference for you and make it easier.

Novel writing software can really help

While you don’t need novel writing software to become the next best-selling author, it’s a tool that can help you out, especially if you’re a beginner. With the proper tools, planning and outlining your story is easy. Good software also helps you keep track of your notes and character information. Last but not least, software can help you stay on track and keep writing.

Outline and plan

The proper novel writing software can help you with outlining and planning your novel. Instead of pouring out your ideas onto paper and transferring them to the computer, Novelize lets you switch from outline and planning mode to writing. You can see your outline while you’re writing which helps you get your novel done.

Save your information

While you’re brainstorming and writing, you’ll need a place to save all of your character information and notes. Novelize has a notebook that helps you keep track of all that information. You can even use the same notebook for several books if you’re writing a series.

Stay on track

The most difficult part about writing a novel is to stay on track and get it done. After all, nobody is making you do this. It’s all you. Fortunately, a good novel writing program will keep you on track with your writing goals, both by showing you your progress and reminding you to write.

What’s the difference between online and offline writing software?

Online novel writing software is portable, allowing you to take your novel with you wherever you are. Offline software must be downloaded onto the computer you’re using to write. To take your novel with you, you must export it onto a USB stick, external hard drive, or into the Cloud.

Saving your novel on your computer and creating a backup on a portable storage device to take with you is the old way to write. Of course, you can still get your novel written that way, but you may not be able to take advantage of every writing opportunity that is presented to you. Additionally, it takes time to create the backup and upload the new version of your novel to your computer, too. That’s time that could be better spent writing. And what if you forget to back up your novel?

There are some advantages to purchasing writing software that can be downloaded. For one, you only have to pay once. But the disadvantages include never getting any updates and not being able to take your writing with you. If you’re using more than one computer for writing, you also have to purchase multiple licenses of the same program. But that’s not as much of a hassle as having to migrate your data when you’re working outside of your home.

What if you have some time to write during your lunch break at work? That’s great unless you don’t have the most current version of your novel with you. What if you have the opportunity to use the computer at the library while your kids are checking out books? If your novel is only saved on your computer - because you’re not using online novel writing software - then you can’t use the time to write.

With Novelize, you can solve these particular issues. Instead of worrying about migrating and backing up your files, you just need a browser and an Internet connection. Your novel is always there for you, just where you left off last time. This is especially useful if you’re jumping between your laptop, tablet, and desktop to write.

Advantages of Offline Software

Using software that you can download on your computer has one obvious advantage: you don’t need an Internet connection. If your Internet provider is unreliable or your Internet speed slower than snail mail, then offline software is probably the right choice for you. However, it’s important to understand the limitations of offline software, too.

Disadvantages of Offline Software

While you don’t require an Internet connection, using offline software has a few disadvantages, such as:

  • You’re stuck using the same computer that has the software on it OR

  • You have to purchase more than one license for each of your computers AND

  • You have to transfer your files using an external device like a USB stick when you want to switch devices

  • You won’t be able to access your novel from anywhere else

  • Your software won’t get upgraded until you install (and pay for) an update

  • A computer crash might result in loss of data unless you’re really good about creating a backup copy

Advantages of Online Writing Software

Using online novel writing software eliminates all the disadvantages that offline software comes with. With an online service, you never have to worry about updates or backups. Plus, you can access your novel from any computer without having to transfer the data using a USB stick first. That’s great news when you find yourself with some time on your hands while you’re away from home.

What’s every writer’s worst nightmare? Losing your work. This is true whether it’s the last 200 words you’ve written or your entire manuscript of 30,000 words. Understandably, some writers are extremely paranoid and back up their work every time they finish a session. There’s nothing wrong with backing up your work. But how much better would it be if your software already took care of that for you? When you use online novel writing software, your backup has a backup. Of course you can still create your own backup by exporting your novel each day.

Disadvantages of Online Novel Writing Software

The one disadvantage an online novel writing service comes with is the one thing that a software download doesn’t need: Internet connectivity. Online services by definition require an Internet connection whereas a software download does not. The good news is that Internet is available almost anywhere you go, possibly even at your doctor’s office.

Monthly or annual novel writing software subscription

Now that you have decided to sign up for your favorite online novel writing software, it’s time to choose between a monthly and annual subscription. How do you decide which one is better? Should you get a monthly subscription to try it out? Should you get an annual subscription to take advantage of potential savings? Here is what else you should take into consideration.

Are You a Serious Writer?

Are you serious about writing novels? Have you already been writing novels for months or years without signs of slowing down? If writing is something you’re compelled to do, then an annual subscription is probably the best choice for you. After all, you’re not going to stop writing within the next few months. Therefore, you’ll probably save money by signing up for the annual subscription. As long as you like the novel writing software, that’s the best choice. And the free trial is there to help you test that out.

Are You Ready for a Commitment?

Signing up for an annual subscription creates a commitment. While you don’t have to use your subscription, it would be a shame if you didn’t. If you need a little kick in the pants to write, then making the commitment for a year might be a really good thing for you. Of course, if you’re a writer, then you probably couldn’t stop writing for a year even if you wanted to. After all, writing is a lot easier than going to the gym….

Do You Like Getting a Discount?

Our annual subscription present a savings of 25% compared to the monthly subscription. That means you get 3 months out of 12 for free. If you’re serious about writing, then you probably don’t plan on taking more than 3 months off. So for most people it makes sense to sign up for an annual plan. Besides, having to pay an annual fee of $45 is quite affordable.

Are You Strapped for Cash?

On the other hand, if $45 is too much to pay at once, then a monthly subscription might be the better idea for you. After all, it’s a lot easier to come up with $5 a month. In fact, you may hardly even notice that it’s gone.

Whether you end up choosing our monthly or annual prescription doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things as long as you keep writing!

 
 

Writing a novel on your Chromebook, laptop, or tablet

write novel on laptop sitting on the floor at the airport or train station

Software programs can be very complicated to develop. Software doesn’t work the same on a Mac as it does on a PC. This is why software developers usually have to build 2 or more different programs to accommodate different types of computers. And most software programs aren’t available at all for Linux users. And if you own a Chromebook, then you don’t even have the ability to download software.

Online software is web-based. And while there can be a difference in how your browser displays websites, all browsers follow similar rules. Therefore, building an online program doesn’t require different building blocks and different ways to code.

If the writing program you want to use is web-based like Novelize, then you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues as long as you have Internet access. It doesn’t matter what operating software you use because you’re just using your Internet browser to access the program.

Do you have more than one computer in your home? Do you use a computer at work and one at home? Do they use different types of operating software? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then an online writing program may be the best solution for you.

Most online writing programs like Novelize work on multiple devices. You don’t have to sit at the same desk in order to write your novel. You don’t even have to use your computer every time. You could use your laptop, your phone, or your tablet. You can do this easily without having to transfer files around because it’s all saved in the Cloud.

How to get your novel written on your chromebook

Whether you currently own a Chromebook or are thinking about purchasing one, your main goal is to get your novel written. There are lots of reasons to buy a Chromebook. We’ll list some of its advantages in a minute. And you still have options for novel writing software when you’re writing on your Chromebook, too. Novelize was created to work on any device, so you can access your novel on your PC, Mac, tablet, phone, or Chromebook.

The advantages of using a Chromebook

Chromebooks aren’t new anymore, but they’re still gaining popularity. If you’re deciding between buying a PC, a laptop, or a Chromebook, then you’ll have your research work cut out for you. We’ll say this much: Chromebooks offer numerous advantages, especially for novel writers. Here are some of the ones that intrigued us the most:

  • They’re lightweight

  • They have a fast wake-up time

  • Most of them have about 8 hours of battery life

  • They’re ideal for writing on the go

Generally, laptops come with full operating software, whereas a Chromebook with its Chrome OS really only offers a browser and online apps. However, the bigger the computer, the longer it usually takes to start it up. And if you only have 10 minutes to write, then a laptop that takes 5 minutes to start up is useless to you. Enter the Chromebook. 

Having an easily portable Chromebook may increase your productivity. And if you can get some writing done while you’re waiting in the doctor’s office or attending a soccer match for your kids, you’re that much closer to finishing your novel.

Novel writing software for your Chromebook

An advantage can sometimes be a drawback. This is definitely the case for the Chromebook. You simply can’t download software onto the Chromebook, which means you’ll need online novel writing software to get your novel written. Fortunately, you still have options. And Novelize is one of them.

When we first created Novelize, we didn’t really think about how it would appeal to Chromebook users. Obviously, you don’t have to have a Chromebook in order to get a Novelize account, either. But Novelize may just be the best novel writing tool for your Chromebook (okay, we may be a bit biased here). Novelize can be accessed via your browser, you don’t have to download any software, and your data is saved instantly. That means if you have to quit writing or the battery on your Chromebook dies, you won’t lose your work. Next time you log in to Novelize, that half-finished sentence will still be there, exactly as you left off.

 

Comparing Novelize to Word, Scrivener & Google Docs

crossroads must choose right path

Novelize isn’t perfect, and it’s certainly not the right tool for everyone. That being said, we think that Novelize offers some distinct advantages over Word and Scrivener. Here we’ll compare them for you to help you make a decision.

Scrivener is one of the most popular tools for authors. Novelize and Scrivener share some key features, but there are also a few major differences.

Specifically built for novel writing

Unlike Scrivener, Novelize is designed to help fiction authors write their novels. While we love reading non-fiction, too, we built Novelize to specifically accommodate the needs of fiction writers. As a fiction writer, you need to be able to keep track of important information about your story. But more importantly, you have to keep writing.

Limiting distractions

Scrivener allows you to search Google, Wikipedia, and other sites from inside the writing program to help you find what you need. While novelists certainly have to do research about specific locations or regional customs, we really don’t want to encourage you to wander off more often than necessary. Of course, there is nothing stopping you from opening another browser window if you have to look something up. But while you’re using Novelize, we’re going to do our best to encourage you to write.

Accessible everywhere

One of the biggest disadvantages of desktop software like Scrivener is that you can only use it on the computer it was downloaded onto. With Novelize f you happen to have some time to write while you’re visiting a friend, you can just use their computer to work on your novel.

Another problem with desktop software is that you’re vulnerable to computer crashes and hacks. If your computer breaks (yes, it could happen), you would lose all of the work you’ve done unless you happen to back up your information regularly.

As an online-based writing app, Novelize backs up your information continuously, so you never have to worry about data loss. We even back up our backup to keep your information saved.

Easy to Use

You don’t have to take a writing course or read a 349-page manual (we’re not kidding, this is how big the manual for Scrivener is) in order to use Novelize effectively. In fact, you can start writing as soon as you create your account. Novelize actually starts you directly in the writing screen allowing you to work on that first chapter.

While we’re still adding additional features to Novelize, we don’t plan on cluttering up the toolbar. It’s always going to be easy for you to navigate inside of your novel. In fact, you don’t even have to leave your novel to add information about your characters or locations.

Stay on Track

Novelize keeps you accountable when it comes to your writing goals. In addition to letting you know how many words you’ve written inside of the app, we email you on a weekly basis to let you know what your progress is for this week. In fact, we don’t even wait until the week is over before we send you a little reminder. This gives you the weekend to catch up and meet your weekly writing goal.

When Scrivener Is the Right Tool for You

If you don’t mind taking some time to figure out how to use the program, then you can definitely be very happy using Scrivener. There are some things Scrivener offers that Novelize just can’t (or won’t) do. One example is to allow you to add tables. Since Scrivener is designed for writers of all types, having the ability to add a table is not a bad idea at all.

Also mind-boggling is the sheer volume of names in Scrivener’s name generator. You can choose names of various different origins for both first and last names. And while they may not all be names every writer would actually like, you definitely can’t complain about the selection.

What If You Can’t Decide?

If you can’t decide between using Novelize and Scrivener, you could just give both of them a try. Scrivener and Novelize both offer a free trial. We know that Novelize isn’t going to work for every author, but we also know that Scrivener may not be the best option for everyone who is serious about completing their novel.

 

Why Scrivener sucks for writing your novel

question mark

When your goal is to write a novel, you should do everything you possibly can to accomplish this. Choosing the best novel writing software is an important first step. The problem is, a lot of people rave about Scrivener, so you might think that’s the program you should be using. They rave about Scrivener, because it’s an amazing program. It offers a lot of features. However, that may also be its downfall when it comes to writing a novel with it. In fact, we would go as far as saying that Scrivener really sucks for novel writing.

1. It has a steep learning curve

Some people love trying out new software and exploring new features. But let’s face it, those people are in the minority. Most people don’t like change, especially if it’s complicated. Is Scrivener really that complicated? Well, they have a manual that’s 349 pages long. There is a book called “Scrivener for Dummies” (we saw it at our local library). And if you search the Internet for Scrivener, you’ll find tutorials, support forums, and lots of other evidence that there’s a lot to learn and absorb. Even people who have used Scrivener for years acknowledge that they haven’t even scratched the surface on what can be done with this program.

2. It’s too bloated

This goes along with the steep learning curve. It takes so long to figure out how to use Scrivener, because it’s full of features. Many of these features are incredibly useful, but not necessarily for novel writers. You can spend a lot of time doing almost anything but writing when you open up Scrivener. You can play with the layout, the background, the font, organize your tiles, and add things to the corkboard. If you’re serious about learning how to use Scrivener, you may be busy for months before you ever start writing the first words in your novel. And that’s a waste of time. After all, your readers won’t care how you got that novel written. And you won’t get to celebrate being an author until you write a book.

3. You can’t take your novel with you

Scrivener is a software download that you put on your laptop or computer. While you can use it on a Mac or PC, you’re still limited to that specific computer. You can’t take your novel with you, unless you’re willing to do use a workaround. If you have Scrivener installed on more than one computer, you can back up your file on a USB stick, take it with you, and upload it to the next computer. And if two different computers is all you’re dealing with, that might work. Until you forget that USB stick. Scrivener does not work on your phone or your tablet, either. So in order to write, you have to wait until you get home. With Novelize, you can write anywhere on any device, whenever inspiration strikes you. But make sure to look both ways before you cross the street, okay?

When to use Scrivener

We don’t want you to think we’re bashing Scrivener. We’re really not. We’re in awe of the people who created this program, partly because we can’t get our head wrapped around all of its features. Obviously, there is a need for complication. If you’re writing a screenplay, nonfiction, or just want to have some formatting fun, then we recommend giving Scrivener a try. But if you want to get your novel written, then Novelize is just the better choice, hands-down.

 
 

Comparing Novelize to Word

complicated equations

Word has been around for a long time, since October 1983. There have been numerous versions of Word, but only the most recent version is cloud-based. How does Novelize compare to Word?

Word Is Complex

While using Word is relatively easy, the software itself is rather complex. Word allows you to create headers, footers, footnotes, endnotes, comments, tables of contents, macros, and on and on and on. In Word, you can create different sections letting you change up the formatting in different parts of your book, too.

There is nothing wrong with the complex functionality Word offers except that it’s maybe just a little too complex if you’re just writing a novel. The good news is that if you don’t want to get sidetracked by all of the formatting options, you could probably figure out a way to hide or ignore most of them.

Word Was Purely Offline

Okay, the newest version of Word is actually online and subscription-based, just like Novelize. But most people are probably still using an older version of Microsoft Office, which includes Word as downloadable software. You can make Word cloud-based even if you’re using a desktop version by using a service like Dropbox or Google Docs to back up your files. But technically, Word wasn’t built to be available everywhere.

Word Often Formats Automatically

If you’re anything like us, you might get annoyed when Word automatically formats your text differently from what you had planned. The new online version of Word automatically lets you hide and expand paragraphs under headings, creates lists when you use bullet points, indents headings, and so on and so forth.

At Novelize, we like to keep things simple. All we want you to do is write your novel. We don’t automatically format your novel. And while we give you some formatting options inside of your novel, we keep the focus on writing. After all, the more you write, the sooner you’ll be done with your goal and can spend hours on end formatting your novel.

There’s No Good Place for Notes

You can technically use the comment section for notes and information about characters, but there is not a good place to store all the details for your novel inside of a Word document. A lot of writers end up creating numerous Word documents, one for each scene, one for character sheets, one for location details etc. In order to view the details, you have to open up two Word files next to each other. While it’s possible to do that, it’s far from ideal.

Another option writers have is to use sticky notes all over their monitor. But trust us, it’s not pretty, and it’s definitely not easy to sort through later on.

On the other hand, Novelize allows you to add, edit, and delete detailed information about your characters, locations and more inside of the Notebook panel. The Notebook panel is accessible to you while you’re writing your novel so you won’t lose your train of thought.

Novelize Keeps You on Track

Novelize offers a few features that Word doesn’t have. For example, Novelize gives you the option to plot and outline your story. We also keep you on track with your Word count goals. In fact, we even go so far as to remind you via email that you need to get back to work on that novel.

Which One Is Better? Word or Novelize?

It all depends on what you’re planning on doing. If you want to write a non-fiction book, you should use a program like Word or Scrivener, because both allow you to add annotations, footnotes etc.

On the other hand, if you want to get your novel written, then Novelize might be more helpful, because it allows you to write without distractions while still giving you the ability to record important information in the notebook.

Word and Novelize are both subscription-based and online (at least that’s true for the newest version of Word). But for writing novels, Novelize probably got the edge.

But don’t take our word for it. Give Novelize a try yourself by creating an account today!

 

Why Google Docs sucks for writing your novel

adult explaining something to another adult using laptop

One of the most popular online writing tools is probably Google Docs. At first glance, it seems ideal. It backs up your work in the Cloud, so you don’t have to worry about losing data. It allows you to easily collaborate on a novel and share your work with others. But Google Docs was never really designed for novel writers. It’s a text editor, first and foremost.

Where Google Docs is lacking

When you’re writing a novel, it’s completely different from writing a letter to your aunt or a business proposal. A novel is complex. It requires detailed planning, and you’re going to want to keep notes. For example, you need to write down details about your characters. It’s just too easy to forget something as simple as the names you gave them, especially if they’re minor characters. If your novel is very long or very complex, it’s even more important to keep the details straight.

Traditionally, writers use sticky notes.  Fantasy writers might even have entire folders full of novel-related information about their world and the rules that govern it. You might still need to collect all of this data, but with Novelize, you can keep it inside the notebook. And you can open that notebook without leaving your writing screen, so there’s no need to get sidetracked at all.

What Google Docs has too much of

It may sound silly, but Google Docs was created in an effort to replace Word. And while it’s an incredibly useful tool for a word processor, it seemly has too many options for a novel writing program. Do you really need the ability to insert a table into your novel? Probably not. Should you be spending time with formatting beyond the basic bold and italic? Well, you can certainly do that, but you might be better off actually writing. After all, a perfectly formatted unfinished work in progress is not anywhere nears as good as a great first draft that still needs some formatting and editing. And we even make the formatting part is easy for you. It gets done auto-magically when you export your work as a manuscript from Novelize.

Where Google Docs excels

Now, obviously, there’s something about Google Docs that keeps people coming back for more. Therefore, it can’t be all bad. And really, it isn’t bad, but it’s just not ideal for novel writing. However, if you want to collaborate on a novel with someone else, then Google Docs is awesome. You can even watch the other person type in real-time. The risk of overwriting each other’s work this way is extremely low.

Google Docs is also great for allowing someone else to edit your work and make suggestions, because this can be done without altering the original document. Granted, before you can get someone to edit your novel, you have to write it first. And that’s just where you might get stuck with Google Docs.