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What Are the Different Types of Fiction Writing Software?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated May 23, 2024
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Different fiction writing software might be purchased as tools to develop story plots and characters, or to incorporate ideas into the storyline. Software is also available to help a writer format and organize notes or ideas into one document. Some fiction writing software offers suggestions for plot development to spark the author’s imagination and address writer’s block.

One fiction writing software package includes tips to guide creation of interesting characters and locations to make the work unique. Interactive tools for character development provide a specific place to jot down ideas and receive suggestions to make the character stronger. Location tools in fiction writing software provide details on settings that might be used in a novel or screenplay.

Some programs allow a writer to record a series of story ideas as a foundation for the book or screenplay. The fiction writing software helps the author choose the genre and category based on the listed criteria. It also helps the writer develop plot twists along the way. This software uses the accepted standard for published work based on how classic novels are written.

Such software programs typically offer tips to help a writer begin his or her work and transition from chapter to chapter. They might include ideas to create conflict in the storyline and use daily journals to record ideas that can be incorporated into the project. Journal entries and notes can quickly be added into the novel via pin-up boards or similar tools in some fiction writing software programs.

These programs usually include formatting devices that automatically organize the work into the preferred style. For example, some fiction writing software allows the user to select the paragraph style used in screenplays. The writer might also be able to view different versions of the story at a glance by chapter or scene.

Research tools in some software helps an author develop themes and scour the Internet for accurate information to add credibility to the story. One program includes a character tool to aid in generating names for each character in the work. Another form of software offers different ideas for developing the story based on a one-sentence action.

For example, the writer types a sentence to illustrate the situation of a certain character. A database built into the software offers different directions the plot might take based on the author’s idea. This tool aims to spur the writer’s imagination and illustrate how the storyline might develop within the genre chosen. It might also help a writer incorporate conflict into the story, especially when writer’s block surfaces.

Most fiction writing software includes tools to format chapters, margins, and page numbers. These programs allow the author to work on segments of the story and later organize them into the correct form. Spelling and grammar checkers represent standard tools included in most software packages.

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Discussion Comments

By browncoat — On Jun 20, 2014

@clintflint - That might be true for you, but it might not be true for others. I can't imagine writing something like the Game of Thrones series on Microsoft Word or something like that, without any bells and whistles. Either you'd end up keeping all the chapters in separate files (which would be a huge waste of space and time) or you'd end up having to copy and paste chapters all the time.

Some pieces are just too complex and they require a lot of research and planning and that just can't be done cleanly on basic software. And some people just do better when they've got a template to work from. Especially when they are just starting out.

I'm of the opinion that, if something works for you, that's what you should do.

By clintflint — On Jun 19, 2014

@MrsPramm - I used to try out a lot of these kinds of programs in the hope that I would find just the right kind of writer software to help me with my novel. But I quickly realized that they were just another excuse to not sit down and actually write.

A simple text editor is basically all you need. Anything else is getting too fancy and is basically just a distraction from the writing.

By MrsPramm — On Jun 19, 2014

I use a type of writing software that makes it very easy to organize notes and summarize chapters so that you can see it all laid out. It even lets you put pictures and videos into the notes section and will format the whole thing so that it's the right file type or whatever you want.

It isn't really just novel writing software, but I think that's what most people use it for. I've used it for essays as well and poetry and short stories.

This is what most basic writing software does, so it's a matter of finding the one that suits you the best. Generally they aren't that expensive and will usually give you a trial period.

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