The new year has just begun, and a flood of new writers are entering the space, eager to find the right software to craft their next big story. If you're looking for the best novel writing software of 2024, you've come to the right place. This article shows you a few examples of the big names in writing software and some other useful tools to help you crank out your novel before the next new year.
Best novel writing software 2024
When we talk about the best novel writing software you can get, the first question is usually, "How much does it cost?" So I've divided the article into sections. The first section is paid tools that charge either a monthly fee or that you can buy outright. The second section is free tools, and the final section is productivity tools to assist with your writing process.
Best paid software: Scrivener
If you've spent any time in the writing industry, you probably know about Scrivener. This is my absolute favorite novel writing software. Scrivener has what every writer needs: organization tools. When you open the software, you can choose between several templates, including novels, lectures, comic scripts, screenplays, and short stories.
So, what makes Scrivener the best? Here are its key features:
Simple, viable interface
Multiple templates to set up your writing
Corkboard/scene card feature for at-a-glance writing
Frequent product updates/good customer service
Affordable, lifetime license, so no subscription fees
Compile feature, which lets you export in manuscript or book formats
Integrated outlining system
Fullscreen mode for focus
Scrivener allows writers to organize by scene, providing a "corkboard," which is a central location for each scene card, which can give you a quick summary of what you've written at a glance. I recommend Scrivener for when you're transitioning from using word processors, as the interface is somewhat similar in its simplicity, but with additional features that make it more organized and optimized for the novel writing experience.
Scrivener is also quite reasonable in terms of cost. You can try a free trial to be sure you like it for 30 days. To purchase the software, you can expect to pay around $60 USD. Educators can get a $10 discount, and Scrivener works on macOS, Windows, and iOS. If you have both, you can buy a Windows/MAC bundles. The best part? You don't have to sign up for a subscription. You can buy Scrivener to own.
Paid Runner-Up: Campfire Write
For you world-builders out there, I want to introduce Campfire, the runner-up for paid writing software. Campfire is perhaps one of the most extensive and comprehensive writing programs that I've found, complete with all your world-building needs and a manuscript feature where you can connect each world-building element right to your draft. Not to mention, you can buy each module separately, for life, or subscribe on a monthly or annual basis. The only complaint I have about Campfire is the cost. It's a little pricey, with some modules costing almost $30 USD on their own.
Here are some of the features I love about Campfire:
Different modules for everything in world-building; religion, culture, characters, maps, etc.
Really nice interface with the ability to add pictures, timelines, and text boxes to each module
The encyclopedia feature, which allows you to create your own wiki for your world
Access to the Campfire blog
Synchronization both online and offline, so you can work even if you're not connected
Dark mode and customizable layouts
Tracking feature which shows you how many hours you've spent, words you've written, and modules you've created
Ability to create multiple projects
Campfire write is perfect for writers who want a little more of a visual writing experience, and the ability to organize their world-building separate from the manuscript. As I said, you can buy it by module, choosing between subscription and outright purchase, with free options for each module. Here's the pricing tiers:
Third place: Evernote
While I've never personally used Evernote, my research suggests that it's definitely top-tier, especially if you just want something simple. Evernote also has templates, which is really nice for outlining, and its own web clip function for storing research materials. The interface is nice, navigable, and quite versatile. You can use it for anything from novels to screenplays to just taking notes, if you like.
Here are some of Evernote's key features:
Simple, navigable interface
Endorsement by companies such as Inc. Forbes, and The Verge
Task assigning capabilities with due dates (so you can actually finish your drafts)
Synchronization across all your devices
Powerful search feature to locate anything you need
One of the best things about Evernote is that it's pretty affordable in comparison to the other "heavyweights." While it's essentially note-taking software, writers everywhere utilized it for entire manuscripts. You can choose between monthly and yearly plans. Here are the pricing options:
Best free novel writing software
Of course, being the starving artists that we are, we sometimes need something that's a little more affordable...as in free of cost. Here are some of my top picks for free writing software for 2024:
When you need the feel of Google Docs but with a touch more "professional author," you choose FastPencil. It's simple, free, and offers some great features, including:
Navigable dashboard and interface
Quick access to each document
Drag and drop chapters feature
You can rarely expect exceptional quality from free software, but Bibisco is one of the few you can depend on for quality and consistency. The community edition is free to use, and the software offers everything you might want from your writing platform. Here are some key features:
Virtual outlines and notecards
Scene-by-scene word processing
Analysis for story elements
Half the battle of writing is focusing, am I right? If you're anything like me, the constant distraction of screens, kids, and every other care of the modern functioning adult get in the way. Focuswriter is software built to bring focus to writers (could you guess that?) with the simplest interface on our list. It's just a blank page! Don't worry, you can still format stuff and track words, but when you need that 2 a.m. writing sprint with no distractions, this is the tool for you. Here are some of its features:
Unique focus interface
Manuscript organization tools
No pay walls, trials, or subscription fees
Daily word count and goal tracker tool
Blank page for laser-focus
If you want to be more productive with your writing, I recommend the following programs in addition to your novel writing software:
Grammarly is a program you can use as a browser plugin or directly on the web. It performs grammar and spell-checking as you go, so you can fix errors that might otherwise hold you up during your second draft edits. Grammarly offers free and premium tiers, but I just use the free version.
Freedom is software I personally use, and it's helped me shut out some of those distractions I mentioned earlier. Freedom lets you block out specific websites and even desktop apps for a pre-determined amount of time. You can set schedules or start a session anytime, from any device. You can also buy it outright, which I prefer to a subscription.
I hope this list has given you some tools for your writing. Many of these are tools I personally use, as I only want to recommend things I believe will help you finish whatever draft you're on. Best of luck in your writing, and remember, it ain't gonna write itself!