Novel Writing Software Review: StoryBook

Well I’ve been searching for the perfect software for my needs. I decided to give Storybook. So, a little about Storybook from their website.

Storybook is a free (open source) novel-writing tool for creative writers, novelists and authors which will help you to keep an overview of multiple plot-lines while writing books, novels or other written works.

Storybook assists you in structuring your book
Store all information about your characters and locations in one place. Then, use the included Storybook features for managing chapters, scenes, characters and locations. A simple interface is provided to enable you to assign your defined characters and locations to each scene and to keep an overview of your work with user-friendly chart tools.

Originally when I started inputting my information, I thought this was an editor. THIS IS NOT AN EDITOR. Storybook is specifically designed to organize the summaries of scenes, chapters, locations, and characters. The design is pleasing to the eye, and not complicated to use. I rather liked it. The problem for me was the lack of an editor. I prefer to do all my writing on the computer, so this was a definite liability for me. yWriter, a piece of software I also reviewed includes many of the same features as Storybook as far as I can see. However, it’s less pretty, but ALSO includes and EDITOR.

It actually took me awhile to really find the benefit of this program over yWriter. I came back to it a day later and used Storybook to plot out several books in one file. Here is where I found the program very useful. Instead of using the Strands for plots within a Novel, I used the Strands for entire novels. By doing this, I believe I used Storybook in way which made it a more valuable software program. Typically, I wouldn’t want to keep several books in one file. However, since this doesn’t include an editor and only includes summaries, it makes it ideal for keeping track of a series or several story lines which converge. In my opinion, that is.

Later I did a search for software to help with plotting. Duh! Isn’t that what Storybook is all about? So I revisited Storybook and plugged in some scenes and ideas for my WIP. The thing with Storybook is it allows you to create scenes without assigning them to chapters or strands. I found this concept very helpful. As a writer, I often get a scene in my head and typically jot it down in a disorderly fashion (a random file, comments in Word, end of the novel, wherever).  Here I can jot down my notes, maybe even write a bit of the chapter in the note section (though no major formatting).

All-in-all, it’s a great tool. It’s also open source, donations encouraged.

EDIT: It appears the developer’s website is either down or gone. However, it looks like a copy of StoryBook can be found here.