We continue our Writing App Review series. If you missed any of the other posts, you can catch up here:
This month we review: The Novel Factory.
Are You a Planner or a Seat-of-the-Pants-er?
The answer to this question will make a difference in how well you’ll acclimate to The Novel Factory’s novel writing software. This innovative software program gives you the structure to flesh out your novel in a logical process. (Good for us planners.)
The program follows the classic hero’s journey where you meet the main character, he receives a call to action, and he goes off on his journey, meeting a mentor along the way, meeting challenges, fighting temptation, until the dark moment when you think all is lost. The final conflict ensues, and the hero triumphantly returns home.
Some argue that all story plots follow this basic outline. But we’ll debate that issue in another article.
A Step-By-Step Process
This incredibly detailed software program takes you through each step in the process of building your novel:
- Beginning with your premise (or what your story is about)
- Fleshing out your story arc (they call it the skeleton)
- Identifying your characters
- Writing a short synopsis (and they do mean short) to give you a general idea of how the story unfolds. Just the highlights.
- Writing an extended synopsis by filling in a lot more of the details.
- Generating scenes to fill in your narrative
- Generating detailed character sketches
- Generating your story's world
- High level plotting where you figure out how to weave together all of your plot details
- Going deeper into your character’s viewpoints
- Scene blocking
- And there is much more…
Until finally, you pull everything together and your manuscript is ready for submission.
It even walks you through the submission process whether you’re sending to a publisher or an agent and how to format your manuscript professionally. The software program can also help you write a great cover letter.
It Teaches You Along the Way
There are about 16 major steps The Novel Factory’s program walks you through.
What makes this program so incredibly useful is that instead of reading about the process in a book or through a bunch of articles, the app walks you through each step, teaching you more about the process of writing a novel as you go and helping you put together something cohesive and coherent.
It’s like having a mentor standing over your shoulder, telling you what to do next and how and why you should do it.
The Nitty Gritty
Here’s what the program looks like when I ran To Kill a Mockingbird through the steps.
1st Step — The Premise
2nd Step — The Skeleton (Your Story Arc)
You do this for all three Acts of your story. This is just the story arc or the skeleton, though. Once you’ve gone through some other steps, you can come back to this stage and expand on your skeleton (see the Expand button below each Act).
Next — Your Characters
Adding Character Details
Notice how much you can flesh out each character. The tabs across the top allow you to fill in as much detail as possible so that you know each character inside and out. You can even add a picture or an image of what you think the character looks like. (I used to cut pictures out of magazines and paste them in a notebook. Yeah, I’m old school!)
Build Your Story's World—Location
It's essential that you understand the world in which your story takes place, especially if you have created your world from scratch.
Start Building Your Scenes
Look at the detail this program helps you flesh out when you are building your scenes.
Add Plot Points Along the Way
Love this feature. It lets you color-code your plot points so you can tell at a glance where the action is rising and falling to make sure your story is balanced .
Track Your Progress
This shows you visual representation of how your work is progressing.
And Much More…
There’s much more to The Novel Factory’s program than I can go into in this limited space. The program is a simple download from their website, and you don’t need an internet connection to use it after you’ve downloaded it. The only drawback I found was that it’s not available for Mac lovers—yet.
Try it out for yourself at www.novel-software.com. They offer a free 7-day trial and give you full functionality to play around with.
Let us know in the comments below what you think of The Novel Factory. We love tech that helps us write!
If you are looking for help on any of The Novel Factory's novel writing steps, check out these posts from our archives:
- How to Construct a 3D Main Character
- How to Create Your Story’s World
- Are You Ready to Draft Your Story Arc?
- Are You Ready to Draft Your Plot?
- Create Compelling & Evocative Scenes