Are you a struggling writer? Do you find yourself stuck in a writing rut? Maybe it’s time to find the right software for your novel. So, if you’re looking for a new way to organize your novel, need help with grammar and spelling, or want some inspiration for characters and plots, these tools will give you what you need to get going.
Here are the seven best writing software for novels. And remember: no one knows your book better than you, and any software will only help you write your manuscript, not create or improve a story.
Best Writing Software For Novels Overall: Scrivener
As a novelist, you will spend a lot of time creating new universes and stories with different characters and plots. Unfortunately, it can get tough to keep all your content streamlined if you don’t use the best writing software. Scrivener is the best software that can help you organize your thoughts and write your story more efficiently.
The writing software is compatible with macOS, Windows, and iOS, so you never miss a deadline even when using different gadgets. You will also find it very easy to outline your work before you start writing. Scrivener comes with different templates and icons for fiction, scriptwriting, and non-fiction work. In addition, the software comes with a powerful outliner that gives you a complete overview of your work and allows you to access different sections with ease.
The Corkboard is another feature of monumental importance for authors. Before Scrivener, you’d waste so much time rearranging sections which could also tamper with your whole manuscript. Luckily, with this software, that should no longer be a problem.
You can use Scrivener’s Corkboard, which assigns each section with a virtual index card after you’ve written a synopsis. So, you can complete different sections before others as it will be easier to rearrange the manuscript when done.
Scrivener is a complete Word Processing tool with all the features you need to write a powerful novel. You can write, edit, format, and import content as easily as you need. If you get distracted often, you can also work with a full screen, and you can also pick your best theme to encourage your creativity. When done writing, you can also view sections and pages side by side to guarantee the perfect storyline flow.
You also enjoy other features such as setting the word count and character targets for the whole book or different chapters. In addition, Scrivener’s Metadata allows you to label different areas or assign your ideal status to other factions; for example, you can mark a section Revised which makes it easy to proofread and edit your work when your manuscript is complete.
Before editing different texts, you can also take snapshots of the original content to refer to. Scrivener automatically saves every typed character, so you never risk losing your work. Then, when your manuscript is ready, you’ll be able to print it in your desired format, export it to other software such as Microsoft Word for easier editing, or you can publish it as an Epub or kindle e-reader and start selling to the world.
You can buy your Scrivener license without breaking the bank, and it also comes with a 30-day free trial for macOS and Windows versions if you need to test it first.
- Best software for writing novels and larger manuscripts
- Corkboard and Outliner features for easy navigation and content creation
- You can set various targets and Statuses for productivity
- Compatible with Windows, macOS, and iOS
- Affordable subscriptions plus a 30-day free trial
- Formatting is not easy for beginners
- No android app
Google Docs – Online Word Processor
Google Docs is the best free alternative software you can use when writing your novel. As part of Google’s web-based editors, Docs has most of the features you need to outline, proofread, and edit your manuscript and at no cost.
Unlike Scrivener, you can collaborate on a project with your team members. This is made possible by the editor feature that allows you to add one or more people to edit your work. The best part about the collaboration capabilities is that you can sit back and follow as your collaborator makes changes. In return, you can also leave comments to make better changes to the content. You can later access all the changes your editor makes in the software’s Suggestion mode.
If you need to carry out impactful research as you write, Google Docs also has an Explore feature that allows you to access information online. When working on your manuscript, Google Docs allows you to pick your favorite fonts, page orientation, insert images, and it also has a navigation panel that takes you to certain sections of your content.
When done writing, you can print or download your manuscript or publish it on the web so more people can read and leave feedback. While this software is not loaded with some premium productivity tools like Scrivener is, it still comes with the word count tool you can set to display as you type, and you can also number your pages for easier editing.
Google Docs is compatible with any gadget that supports Google software, from smartphones to laptops and desktops. As an added advantage, you can share links with people for feedback before or after printing your novel. Google Docs also comes with a voice typing feature and a grammar and spelling checker to guarantee the best use of language. You can also compare two documents when editing to ensure better flow.
- Free novel writing software
- Easy to use
- Has an offline option when you want to access your written work
- Allows voice-typing
- Compatible with Apple gadgets, Windows, and Android
- Free grammar and spell checker
- Easy navigation to various sections of your novel
- Great for research with the Explore feature
- Best writing software for collaborations
- Could use better productivity features
- Not ideal for large manuscripts
Microsoft Word – Offline Word Processor
Are you a beginner writer looking to complete your first novel? Microsoft Word may be the software you need to get over your rut. The software may not have some of the premium features you can find in Scrivener, but it is one you’ve grown accustomed to since your first days using a computer. Thus, here is how Word can be a great addition to your manuscript creation.
Firstly, the software is quite affordable. With under $70, you will get yourself a whole package of Microsoft apps, including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, and all are compatible with macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.
Microsoft Word is easy to launch and use. It comes with numerous fonts and sizes to choose from, has a navigation panel so you can access different sections easily, and has a word count tool so you can set targets. In addition, the software also allows you to highlight various factions with specific colors for easier editing, and you can also leave a comment so you know where to start when proofreading and editing.
This word processing software also allows you to use various plugins such as Grammarly to rectify grammar and spelling mistakes. However, while the software is easy to use, affordable, and reliable even without internet access, it is not designed with large manuscripts in mind. It will not be easy to edit or keep track of revisions the larger a file gets, and unfortunately, it does not allow collaborations as you’ll find with Google Docs.
- Compatible with macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android
- Easy to use
- Ideal for creating different types of files
- It gets slow as your manuscript grows
- It does not support collaboration
Pages – Apple’s Word Processor
If you own a Macbook, iMac, or iPhone, writing your novel fast and effectively is easy with the Pages software offered by Apple. It comes with Apple‑designed templates, and you will find a great one for your next novel, or even letters, reports, and other documents you need to work on.
One main benefit of using Pages is that it comes with a Collaborators feature, so you can add your best team to give insights as you create a powerful manuscript. In addition to this feature, you can add highlights and leave comments, where all the changes are saved automatically. And, if one of your collaborators uses Microsoft Word, you don’t have to jump high hurdles to continue effortless collaboration since Pages is compatible with Word, and you can also import and edit Word documents easily.
With Pages, you can work from any Apple device, so you don’t have to postpone penning down the latest story development whenever you get an idea. One other feature to love about Pages is the ability to write your story by hand with Scribble and Apple Pencil, and it will automatically convert it into text. Unlike typing, writing by hand will keep you engaged and thus, help your story flow more easily as you create your novel.
When done with certain sections of your manuscript, you can also add images to jumpstart your illustration process, thus making Pages one of the best software for children’s novels. Pages is a free novel-writing software, but unlike other software such as Scrivener, you won’t find many productivity features, and there is a chance it can also get buggy as your manuscript grows.
I have written all about using Apple Pages to write and format your book; it really is a great tool with few faults.
- Allows collaboration
- Numerous templates to choose from
- You can work across all Apple devices
- The software will enable you to import and edit Microsoft Word documents
- You can add images to start the novel illustration
- It can get buggy with larger manuscripts
Evernote – Best Note-Taking Software
Evernote is a note-taking app that you will find helpful when creating a novel. Creating a story requires discipline, so taking notes as thoughts and ideas come to mind is a good way to ensure you continue improving your manuscript even when you move away from your workstation.
Evernote is compatible with most devices from Android, iOS, Windows, and WebOS. In addition to this compatibility, the software also allows you to sync all your notes and ideas in one place, including typed and handwritten notes.
In addition to storing all your notes, Evernote also makes it easy to scan images for text, so you can also take novel inspiration from pictures you love. It also comes with a clean interface, and you get to choose from several themes for ease of use.
While you will not use Evernote to note down a whole manuscript, it will help you save many ideas you will need to write a novel successfully. It comes with a free version, so you can try it out before paying a premium version if you need more features.
- Easy to use
- Allows you to sync notes from different devices and in different formats
- Allows you to remain creative about your novel on the go
- Limited free plan
- It gets buggy with larger files
- Not ideal for creating a complete novel manuscript
Vellum – Best Novel Formatting Software
Vellum makes formatting novels a breeze. Not only can you type your whole manuscript on the software, but you can also print the manuscript into professional e-books you can start selling right away. Sure, other writing software for novels such as Scrivener, Microsoft Word, and more have this feature, but none can do the job better than Vellum.
You get to print your manuscript in classic styles and backgrounds from a collection of fonts and flourishes to choose from. You can also add your custom backgrounds or ornaments to create the best e-book your story deserves.
As software designed for books, Vellum, though it only works on Mac, creates your book from start to finish. You can import your Title Pages, table of contents, copyright page, and more specific book features. Then, the software is furnished with different book styles that will work great for your manuscript, and it will easily update your choice on every chapter.
When you are done making all book changes, Vellum allows you to preview your work as it will appear to your buyers, thus giving you the chance to edit any feature from themes to styles. When you have prepared your novel for your readers, you only need to generate e-books and print editions and start marketing it. Suppose you missed a typo or any other minute correction in your manuscript; you only need to head back to Vellum, update the revision, and generate new e-books.
- Easy to use
- Generates e-books and print editions in minutes
- Excellent styles to produce the best e-books your readers will enjoy
Publisher Rocket – Best Research and Marketing Software
Do you have a book idea you are yet to start working on? If you need to write a book that sells, you can use software that helps you research what your target readers are looking for. Publisher Rocket is your best software in this case.
This software will help you utilize the best keywords that your target readers search on Amazon. It will also keep your competition close with insights on the best-selling books in the niche you want to write. Finally, it helps you create marketing ads on Amazon.
Publisher Rocket wil give you the best insights to write a #1 seller even before you start writing the manuscript. It is especially good for self-publishers looking to sell quickly on Amazon. The only dealbreaker with this software is that it is only limited to book marketing, which could mean you have to look for better writing software for the manuscript.
- Easy to use
- Best novel software for keyword research and keeping in touch with your competition
- It will help you write a #1 bestseller on Amazon
- Limited to novel research and marketing, thus no features for writing the manuscript
All you have as an author is mostly your imagination, words, and a great desire for storytelling, but using the best writing software for novels can make your writing faster and easier. While no software will improve your story, the examples we shared above will make it easier to pen down your words and even publish or print your work ready for sharing with your readers.