Here at MUO, we love writing and have always tried to bring you tools that will help with your writing, such as Nancy’s guide to inspiring apps for writers, Jeffry’s list of Firefox addons for writers, and Karl’s review of VocabGrabber. Today I’d like to offer an impressive open source application called , which can automate the entire writing process for you. This way, you can focus on what you do best – writing stories.
Writing A Novel With Storybook
What impressed me the most about this organizational tool is that it is capable of helping you sort out and organize even the most complicated novel with multiple storylines. The software comes loaded with tools to create, sort and connect the chapters of your book with individual scenes, your list of developed characters, and you can even “strand” together your scenes into a sequence that forms individual storylines that you can link together.
To get started, just click on New and name the novel or story that you’re working on. The main screen is divided into a left panel for the development of your strands, and the right panel where you can explore your entire story by individual elements like characters, locations and more.
To create a new scene (strand), just click the green plus icon, assign a date and title to the scene, and then write a quick summary of what you want that scene to entail. Don’t worry about the strand you’ve assigned the scene to – you can change it at any point, and you can also link it to other strands later.
You can create new characters and locations from the main screen, or from the individual strand creation window. Name your character and note all of the characteristics. The software will keep track of everything for you, so any time you need to remember how old your character is or what they do for a living, you can just go back to your explorer and click on the character.
For each scene, you’ll link together characters and fictional locations that are involved in the scene. This builds the storyline database that will help you keep everything organized. This way, later when you’re trying to remember if a certain character ever interacted with another character or visited a certain location – you’ll have a way to double check.
As you build story strands and link them together, you’re essentially building the outline of your larger story or novel. As the plot gets larger, this becomes an amazing tool that keeps everything organized for you so that you don’t have to rack your brain trying to keep everything straight. No more risk of inadvertently creating an impossible plot – for example, like having a character accidentally meet another character for the “first time”, multiple times in your story.
Of course, Storybook does provide the basics. You can form a general outline of each chapter by clicking on “New Chapter” from the menu and quickly describing what the chapter is going to be about. This is a good first step before you start digging into the plot and building your individual strands.
My favorite part of this software is the “Novel Explorer” bar where you can see every element of your entire story at a quick glance. Characters, locations, strands, chapters and even subsections of your chapters are all available from this one spot. This makes it a total breeze to research your planned storyline while you’re in the midst of writing your current chapter.
Another of my favorite parts of this software is the “idea” feature. Click on the lightbulb at the top of the main window and the “Ideas” tool will pop up. Here you can jot down a quick idea that you don’t really know what to do with yet. You’ll never forget a great idea again, and you can just come back later to figure out where you want to work it into your plot, and track the status of each of your ideas by moving them into the started, completed or abandoned categories.
You can really see the power of the software when you check out the charts and tools section. The software lets you see every aspect of your story in a chart format that connects characters and strands by date or scene. It’s an amazing thing. There’s even a Gantt chart for your characters!
If you’ve ever thought writing your own novel but were afraid the process would be far too complicated – you no longer have that excuse. Storybook takes all of the complexity out of character profiling, plot layout and creating your story outline. It’s the easiest way to manage the technical aspect of writing while you focus more of your time on the more creative act of actually writing the story itself.
Give Storybook a try and let us know if it simplified your writing process. How did you make use of Storybook for your project? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
Image Credit : Churl