PROS / Character generator database of names and personality types.
CONS / Extensive and flexible organizational features may take time to master.
VERDICT / Great character and story development combined with unique organizing capabilities.
Everyone has a story to tell, and if you want to tell yours in writing, WriteItNow can help. The melding of structure and flexibility, along with standout features like the ability to link notes to your text and top-notch character development tools, make this application our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner for writing software.
Flexibility is key when presenting software for writing. The same system will not work for all writers. WriteItNow will fit into almost any writer's work style, and likely even improve her organization. When you begin a new project, you can start wherever you'd like: add a bunch of characters, outline chapters and scenes in the storyboard, make notes about key story events or locations, or simply start typing. When an idea hits, you can open an idea card and make a note. If you'd like, you can even link that note to an event, a character, a place in the text of your story or even another note. This linking capability means you'll never go searching for a scrap of writing again. You can put a reference to it right where you know you'll need it later.
The storyboard view is new to this version of WriteItNow, and it's a great addition to this writing software. Here you get a birds-eye view of your story in chapters and scenes. Drag-and-drop functionality lets you rearrange your story to see how changes might improve it. You can edit the text in the storyboard, and you can even add or delete chapters or scenes. Any change you make on the storyboard will be reflected in the outline view and text of your writing.
In addition to the storyboard, the book writing software boasts a host of other graphic overviews. You can see a timeline of your story's events, a story conflict graph and a visual representation of the relationships between all your characters.
You'll find access to great writer tools like a dictionary, a thesaurus, a quote database and a rhyming dictionary. There are also tools to check your spelling and the readability of your writing. This novel writing software even provides a spot for aspiring book writers to keep track of submissions and publisher information.
The writing guides provided by this writing software hover just between the extremes of "very specific to your story" and "too general to be useful." They are just right. Ideas like "Read for words that seem out of place" and "Make sure you have a gripping first page" are simple but provide sound advice. All of the writing instruction and questions are found in the Prompt Sets tool. Opening Prompt Sets gives you a menu of options to choose from. Do you want suggestions on building a mystery story, developing characters' physical descriptions, building events, creating scary scene, building Act 2 or something else? These prompt sets mix writing instruction with questions to get you thinking about your own story. They even throw in ideas and instructions on using the program as you build your writing. When the prompt asks a question (like "What does your character always carry in her purse?"), there is a space for you to answer. What you type there can then be transferred to the main body of your project.
We consider the character development tools to be one of the "wow" features of this writing software. For each character you add to your story, there are tabs for you to create a description, add personality traits from a list of several dozen, specify family and other relationships, and import a picture so you can have a graphic representation of your concept of the character while you write.
In the event that you don't already have a character completely formed in your head, this book writing software is the one for you. Not only is there a name generator (which by itself is pretty amazing) and prompt questions about your characters, there is a cornucopia of other information to help you create believable and realistic characters. Start with the name generator, where you can specify nationality and gender. Some of our favorite randomly generated names were Jack Thomas O'Brien (Irish), Rory Cuddy Gainnes (Scottish), Danto Ricardo Marncini (Italian) and Jeffery Newton Elder (American).
Once you have a name, move on to the Generate a Character feature. Here you'll first choose a personality type either from archetypal characters (mentor, hero, herald, trickster, etc.) or from the Myers-Briggs personality types (INFP, ENFJ, etc.). This generates a brief character description and a well-known example of this personality type. You can also add details about age and stature. The last element in this character generation is the timeline. You specify general time period and the year of your character's birth, and the program will pull up a list of significant historical events from your character's lifetime. Check the ones you want to include in your story, and those events will show up in the summary of your brand new, well-developed character.
You might also use the character generator to create a random character to write about. Such an exercise is helpful in overcoming writer's block, generating new ideas or just practicing your writing skills.
WriteItNow also provides tools to help set writing goals. Input the amount of time you want to write or the number of words you want to write in a given writing session, and the writing software will tell you when you've met your writing goals.
Ease of Use
Although the features of WriteItNow are complex, we found this was one of the most easy-to-use novel writing software applications we reviewed. This is mostly due to an interface that is uncluttered and makes excellent use graphics and text in an intuitive layout. While the navigation bar on the left side of the workspace functions like many other products, the larger text and colorful graphics make it much easier to quickly identify the exact piece of information you want to find. In addition to the navigation bar, corresponding tabs are found at the top of the workspace, and drop-down menus offer another avenue to navigate to the same places. Additionally, you can create links within a project. Link an idea note to the place in your story you want to use it later; link a research note to the profile of a character; link an idea note to an external website you want to visit for research later. Considering the wealth of information and the complexity of the possible interactions, this program is surprisingly easy to use. Given a little time to master all the features, any writer can use this application easily in his overall work style.
Help & Support
The website has FAQs and video tutorials that show how this novel writing software works. Additionally, there is an extensive help section in the program that instructs you how to use it. The publisher, Ravenshead Services, is based in Scotland. They have a form on their website through which you can contact them, but there is no phone number for support.
A relatively easy-to-use interface and flexible features make this ideal book writing software for a writer just getting started. If you've already got an organizational style that works well for you, you can make this program mimic it. However, if you're still working on getting organized, the tools in this software for writing will give you a fantastic starting point. Additionally, you'll find a wealth of writing tips, thought-provoking questions to flesh out your own story, and a robust character development tool. Once you have a story to tell, WriteItNow is the writing software with everything you need to get serious about writing it.