I suppose I’ve always been sceptical of novel writing software…after all, how can a programme possibly understand a story?
Of course, programmes don’t, and novel writing software generally concentrates on something else – organising the various elements of the novel. Programmes like Storybook are actually similar to manually recording notes on pieces of card and placing the cards next to each other – except the programmes are easier and have a lot more to offer.
Storybook is open source, meaning its free. With Storybook, you can
- Keep records of all scenes by date
- Make notes on each location, character and theme
- View the progress of the novel in a number of ways
- View various progress charts
- Export programme generated reports to PDF, Rich Text and others.
I particularly like the strand feature. This enables writers to attach a theme label to the scene in question. People can link scene themes and include more than one theme per scene. It’s fascinating to see the charts afterwards, the way one theme relates to another. I tend to use the strand feature to include story questions and observations. For instance,I have:
- Dream, psychology
- Life in the village
- Central character’s marriage
- Family background
- Complex plot
- Scene setting
- Chill factor