Ask any authors what novel writing tools they would recommend everyone should use, they will give you a list of tools that they love.
While it’s great to hear their recommendation, the problem with this type of question is that each of them will give you a different recommendation.
Sure, their recommendations tend to overlap with one another.
But it can still feel confusing which novel writing tools you should use, especially if you’re just getting started.
It sure does feel like you need to use all of them.
With many different recommendations thrown at you, does it mean you should take their recommendations with a grain of salt?
Well, certainly not.
But it sure helps with identifying the available tools out there, particularly the new ones.
The questions you should ask before you get any novel writing tools
With so many novel writing tools out there, it can be hard to know which ones that work best for you.
So answer these questions first before you splurge on any of the recommended tools that come your way.
What kind of authors are you?
Are you someone who writes a book chapter by chapter? Or are you the kind of person who writes a book based on anything that comes to your mind?
If you’re like me who writes a book chapter by chapter, the good news is even writing software like Microsoft Word and Google Docs will work just fine for you.
Do you write a book that requires you to have references and citations within your reach?
A writing tool such as Quillbot can be a wonderful addition to your writing process.
You can even install the Quillbot add-on on Microsoft Word too if you prefer to write the book in Microsoft Word instead of Quillbot.
If you’re curious about Quillbot, you can read my experience with using Quillbot right here.
But what if you’re more of a discovery writer then?
If that’s you, then using Microsoft Word can be a total nightmare for you since it can be hard to track all the writing you did.
But with software like Scrivener, you can see the writing bits and bobs along with your research materials all in one dashboard.
Want to add the part that you write separately into your book? You can compile all those separate writings that you do in one file.
Just to let you know that you can use Scrivener even if you’re someone who writes a book chapter by chapter.
But if you can do it even with tools like Microsoft Word, then you don’t need something fancy such as Scrivener.
And that leads me to my next point.
Do you have the budget for it?
Yes, Scrivener won’t cost you an arm and leg, especially when you can get it at a discount.
But it can still be a little overkill if you don’t have a budget for it.
Should you forgo Scrivener if you don’t have the budget to get one?
Well, it goes back to my first point. If Microsoft Word or anything equivalent doesn’t work for you, then it’s worth considering getting Scrivener.
But if your budget doesn’t permit you to get Scrivener right now, the best thing you can do is to put everything you write in a separate file but in one folder.
Yes, Microsoft Word doesn’t have any fancy interface like the one you see in Scrivener where you can see everything in one place. And it can’t even compile the bits and bobs into one file too.
But the method that I suggest will work great for the time being until you finally get Scrivener.
Do you want it to do more than one thing?
When you think of Microsoft Word, you may think that you can only use it for writing, editing and even formatting.
But I bet you don’t even know that you can actually use Microsoft Word to design a book cover, do you?
And yes, you can even use Microsoft Word to create a book cover for print too, not just for the ebook.
As you can expect, there’s a learning curve involved if you want to use Microsoft Word pretty much for everything.
But in a nutshell, you can do all sorts of things with Microsoft Word, especially with add-ons such as ProWritingAid and Grammarly.
Can you do the same with Scrivener?
Yes, you can. But many people that I know who use Scrivener tend to use Scrivener solely for writing.
Want something that has the best of both worlds? If that’s you, then I highly recommend you have a look at Atticus.
Just like Microsoft Word and Scrivener, you can write, edit and format your book in Atticus.
The only downside with Atticus is that it can be a little pricey for some people. But then again, it’s still not so bad considering that it’s a one-time payment.
Do you intend to hire people to work on your book?
If you plan to hire an editor to work on your book, then having these tools can help you with polishing the book before you send it to the editor.
Sure, some of you will question why you need to get these tools when the editor can do the job for you.
But if you want to save money on the editing cost, then it’s best that you use these tools beforehand.
It also allows the editor to focus on what matters the most for your book which is to focus on your story structure and character development.
What tool you use to write the book won’t matter much to your editor. But it sure makes their work so much easier if you use tools like ProWritingAid, the Hemingway app, and Grammarly.
Of course, you can still use these tools even if you don’t intend to hire an editor.
I will say that it’s even more important than ever to rely on these tools if they can help with polishing your book without having to hire someone.
Do you need help with brainstorming ideas?
You already know how the story will begin and unfold in the end. But even if you’re clear about what needs to happen in each chapter, there are times when you’re stuck and you don’t know how to continue the story.
If you tend to be in this situation more than you can count, then it’s worth having a look at an AI tool like Sudowrite and the Co-Writer feature in Quillbot.
While the brainstorming feature in Sudowrite isn’t perfect, I will say that it’s interesting to see what AI will cook up for you.
You’ll never know what sort of suggestion the AI can come up with based on what you write.
Just to be clear that this is optional. There’s nothing wrong with brainstorming ideas on your own if using AI tools isn’t your thing.
The novel writing tools that I personally use
If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, then it’s not that hard to know the tools that I personally use and recommend.
But if you don’t feel like scouring all over the blog, you can take a look at the list of all the tools that I personally use in my writing process.
Yes, I know that I’m one of the few people out there who still use Microsoft Word to write books.
But I don’t see any reason to switch to a different tool when Microsoft Word works just fine for me.
Yes, it takes patience to get Microsoft Word to behave. And it has a steep learning curve too if you want to make full use of it.
But the world is indeed your oyster if you know how to fully utilize Microsoft Word.
Want to turn Microsoft Word into a writing powerhouse? You can do that by adding add-ons to it.
While many of the add-ons have a free version, I find that a handful of them will work better if you upgrade to the premium version.
As someone who struggles with writing sensory descriptions, ProWritingAid is heaven-sent. All you need to do is to highlight the sentence you want to rephrase and let ProWritingAid works its magic for you.
Of course, ProWritingAid can do other things such as grammar and plagiarism checks.
But I’m using it more on rewriting the sentences since this is the thing that I struggle with the most.
You can read more about my experience with using ProWritingAid in this blog post right here.
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To be honest, I thought that I don’t have to use the Hemingway app anymore since ProWritingAid already did the heavy lifting for me.
But I was wrong about that.
When it comes to highlighting which sentences need to be simplified, no other tool can come close to the Hemingway app.
Think of the Hemingway app as a tool that polishes your writing before you hit the publish button.
Shorter but precise sentences – that’s the end goal you’ll get when you use Hemingway app in your writing.
If you’re curious about how the Hemingway app, you can read my post about it right here.
Yes, you can use ProWritingAid to fix any grammar errors with a click of a button. But for some reason, some of them can still slip under the radar.
That’s when Grammarly comes in handy. You can use it to fix any grammatical errors that ProWritingAid missed.
While I only use the free version of Grammarly, I also had the chance to test drive the premium version of Grammarly a while back.
You can read about it right here if you’re curious about the Grammarly premium.
See things for yourself
While I provide suggestions on who should be using these tools, I still think that the best way to find out if the tool will work for you or not is to test it out yourself.
And yes, even if they’re the tools that may not necessarily be right for you.
Remember that everyone’s writing needs and preferences are different.
What works for one person may not work for another. That’s why it’s always worth giving a tool a try, even if you’re not sure it’s the right fit for you.
Who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.
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