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Fiction Writing Software

Many years ago, I bought the fiction writing software Plots Unlimited. An updated version of this novel writing software is now available as Storybase 2, Windows based software that bills itself as the "ultimate clipboard of storystarters and writing prompts."

When I bought my software, I hoped to find some easy, scripted path to writing a novel, a sort of "write by number" kit, and of course no software can provide that. I did find the software interesting for its content, which used the Monomyth, otherwise known as the Hero's Journey, as the basic pattern for its narrative guidance. This fiction writing software contained all the right information, but no magic cure for putting that knowledge together to form an award-winning story.

The longing for fiction writing software, or more specifically novel writing software that will create miracles, is still alive and strong in me. Every time I sit to write, I wish I could find some magical software to make writing a novel faster and simpler, but no such product exists. Let me save you a lot of money and repeat that. It does not exist. Sorry, but that's the truth.

In my quest to find the perfect writing strategy, I believe I have looked at every piece of fiction writing software and novel writing software out there, and none of them will make writing much easier than you find it now.

Still, fiction writing software is not a complete waste of time. All the software I've looked at provides hundreds of prompts to spark the imagination and to help create conflict situations. For example, in Storybase 2, you might choose a protagonist, Alex, an antagonist Pat, along with a couple of mindsets such as anger and suspicion, and an action, and the software will suggest a sentence designed to stimulate ideas for scenes. The Storybase demo provides several examples of how this could turn out: Alex discovers evidence linking Pat to a scandalous situation or Alex invents a story in order to get something from Pat. Mundane as these may sound, I can imagine the right sentence leading to an original and imaginative scene.

More importantly, fiction writing software instructs, and the instructive examples alone can justify the expense.

A short list of products for novelists and short story writers, in various price ranges, includes:

  1. Writer's Cafe US $45-$65

    For Windows and Linux
    Immediate download or CD

    Writer's Cafe is "designed to be a playground for the imagination, making writing fiction fun and fulfilling. But it's also a serious tool for professionals, with highly configurable formatting, import/export and reporting facilities."

  2. Dramatica Pro US $220-$270

    For Windows and Mac
    CD only

    Dramatica Pro "works with you to develop stronger, richer characters that leap off the page while weaving your themes into your plot seamlessly. Plus, it helps you identify and eliminate unwanted story choices before they become problems." This one has a lot of nifty icons and colour coded segments that make plotting a story interesting, and plenty of narrative advice.

  3. Write Pro US $450 in three parts, each $99, $149, & $199

    For Windows
    Immedieate download

    WritePro is fiction writing software "that guides you step by step in the creating of rounded characters, suspenseful plots, and sparkling dialogue. It eliminates writer's block completely, enables you to avoid trial and error, and you see proof of your improvement within minutes. It comes with a built-in word processor and saves everything you write automatically."

  4. Fiction Master US $300

    For Windows
    Immediate Download

    FictionMaster is offered by the makers of Write Pro, but is more advanced and "guides the writer in making characters truly memorable, unveils the Actors Studio technique for creating instant tension in any scene, shows exactly how to master suspense throughout a novel," and allows writers to "transfer a paragraph, a page, or a chapter of your own writing into the program, improve it under the expert guidance of Sol Stein, and transfer it back out to whatever word processor you're used to."

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