Web Culture

Create Your Short Stories & Novels With StoryBook

Ryan Dube 20-04-2011

create short stories softwareHave you ever had the idea to finally sit down and write that great novel you’ve always wanted to create, but you kept putting it off because the whole process just felt too complicated?  If you’ve ever read a Tom Clancy novel, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Some novels have dozens of main characters and several threads of storyline all going on at the same time. How does the author keep it all straight?


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 A Writer's Guide to Free Apps for Inspiration and Organization Read More 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 Storybook, 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.

create short stories software

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.

short story software


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.

short story software

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.

short story software


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.

short story software free download

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.

short story software free download


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.

short story software free download

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.

Create Your Short Stories & Novels With StoryBook story8


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.

Create Your Short Stories & Novels With StoryBook story9

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!

create short stories software

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

Related topics: Organization Software, Reading, Writing Tips.

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  1. Alexis Westwood
    April 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Just what I was looking for. Thanks for posting!

  2. Jimmy Rogers
    April 23, 2011 at 12:55 am

    After toying with it for only a short while it comes off somewhat buggy and very half-baked. I was hoping it could be kind of a small resource for short story writing (not really into novels at the moment), but a lot of the dialogues and actions are heavily rules dependent (or will open dialogues that would make invalid actions). It just doesn't feel fully developed yet. Now maybe it's just the creation of a guy who's a lot better than me at programing, but as an end user, it's making it hard for me to trust it with my stuff.

    • Anonymous
      April 23, 2011 at 11:47 am

      Really? That surprises me - I tested it out for quite a while because I've been looking for a tool like this for some time for my own writing. I was really pleased to find it because of the trouble it saves keeping track of facts. I didn't have any problems at all.

    • Alexis Westwood
      April 26, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      Had no problem at all. Works fine for me, fast, easy to use, too. Heavily rules? Well, sure you have to define a short name for a character, because it's used in the overview. But you can even use the automatically generated. Wouldn't call that heavily ruled. Maybe you just don't have all information you'll need for a good story, or not yet.

  3. WriterBabe
    April 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Great piece of software! Has all features one need to write a novel.

  4. WriterBabe
    April 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Here is the quote: "Is there a version for Mac OS X?

    Mac OS X is officially not supported yet. The Mac port is currently ongoing, and will be available on SourceForge as a separate project. Meanwhile what you can do as Mac user:

    * If you have technical knowledge (Unix tools, console / terminal), you may try the version for Linux.
    * An other option is using a Virtual Machine such as VirtualBox (Open Source) or VmWare.

    Nothing wrong about that. Don't see your problem.

  5. Mark
    April 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    The Storybook link does not seem to work. Is there another link?

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