There’s a ton that goes into writing a novel, and I am just beginning to understand that fact. The entire process involves ton of awe inspiring creativity, especially while writing fiction, and more so while writing fantasy fiction.
It’s only natural that a lot of writing tools - be them software based, or hardware have had the opportunity to help you write yours. Besides, all these magnificent writing tools - they do make me tick. One of the many reasons why sharing them here is a big part of what this blog is all about. There are some plenty of awesome writing tools, apps, and what have you out there. As such it was a no-brainer that I’d to share a post with all of you, when I first found out about Novelize.
Novelize, is a web application for writing; primarily for novel writers like us. It’s one app that has the potential to store everything you may need to write that novel you’ve been thinking about. Right from your notes, to your character outlines. What’s more, is the fact that the application is created by a fellow writer. Someone who couldn’t find a simple web app that could provide him with all the tools he sought for finishing his novel. Thus Novelize was born.
Since Novelize is the work of a writer, it automatically translates to - being made for writers, at the least most parts of it, if not all. I’m confident in the fact that most writers would find Novelize useful for doing what they love - writing.
What are you waiting for? I highly recommend that you use Novelize, or in the very least bit, give it a whirl. I am absolutely, and positively sure that you’re not going to be disappointed.
Plus, it’s only going to get better!
Novelize: Features And Review Points Of Note
- Awesomely Smooth Interface: When you do first login into the app, it’s not clear as to where to start. But when you do fiddle around, and read the getting started guide, it immediately becomes very intuitive to keep using it. Looks can be deceiving - this is especially true in the case of Novelize. It may look as if there’s a lot of things going on in the interface but as soon as you start using Novelize, it becomes easy to understand. I’d suggest watching the introduction video embedded above to get the feel of the app.
- Distraction Free Mode: The distraction free mode is great! Easy to use, and find in the interface. Easier to get out of. When writing in the distraction free mode, there are about three controls directly accessible, apart from the buttons right at the bottom to add a scene, or a chapter. It’s good. I only wish there was a night mode too, which we could be used in combination with the distraction free mode. But, that’s still achievable via your OS of choice - well, at least on most OSs.
- Very Well Organised Navigation: As I mentioned above, when you do first login into the app it may seem busy. But in reality, it’s quite intuitive. The navigation elements are placed where they need to be. This fact itself proves how much thought has gone into it’s creation. The only thing I kinda missed when I first started using Novelize is that the Add Chapter, and Add Scene buttons seem very greyed, washed out, and are placed right at the bottom. They blend in completely with the UI. So, when you’re first using the web app, it does take some time figuring out how, and where you can add a scene or a chapter from. There’s a small paragraph, in the getting started guide, but not many of us will be patient enough to read it. Again, as I mention above, watch the introduction video. A lot of things become clearer post watching the introductory video.
- Novel Metadata Management: Managing details about your novel, manuscript, notes, etc. is pretty straight forward, and again very intuitive. There’re three hidden panels that give you access to a whole set of goodies once drawn out, easily. Changing the title is simple, you don’t have to navigate away from that chapter, and scene you’re currently working on - again, these small details prove how much thought has gone into making this app. To edit your novel’s metadata, just click on Manage to open the Manage Panel, and you’re on your way to describing your novel.
- The Notebook Panel: You can keep track of all your thoughts, characters, items, dates of events, events, notes, and so on. It’s a brilliant stroke, to have it right next to where you want it. Digging out a character profile you wrote, while writing a scene is damned simple. You don’t have to leave the page you’re working on. Again, I am just bowled away with the amount of thought gone into making Novelize. One of my favorite features in Novelize. It’s amazingly clever. Easy to use, has ton’s of details that you can use to chalk down on your characters, fine tune them along the way. To add/edit/delete character profiles, access the notebook panel, and click on the character button. Apart from the character profiles, the notebook panel host’s other sections that you can use to sketch the idea behind your novel. If I may, the Notebook panel is essentially the heart of your novel, in Novelize. You will find yourself using it.
- Publishing: One of the three main side panels is dedicated to publishing your document. You can download it as a manuscript, properly formatted for you. You can export it as a pdf, or a docx. You have to option to chose the font, the font-sizes, the page size, etc. It’s great! What more could be done here, is to give some more options to export to maybe Dropbox, sync it with other services like Evernote, iCloud and so on. Doing this will enable some of us to essentially have a backup, and in some cases be able to write offline just incase when the Internet is off, or not available.
- Inline Editing: Editing titles of your chapters, their descriptions, and the content of your scenes is made very simple. Just click on the respective elements, to edit them. Done.
- Chapter, and Scene Organisation: Again, this is extremely simple with Novelize. You don’t have to leave the page where you’re working. It’s a couple of clicks; some drags, and drops to getting the organisation right.
- Mobile Editing - Writing your novel on the go, is all that much simpler now more than ever. Novelize has definitely made it more than possible to be able to keep writing no matter where your are, or what commitments you have to attend to. Imagine, all that research data, character profiles, notes, thoughts, and ideas. All of that, available to you while you’re writing your novel. The mobile interface does work wonderfully. The only gripe I have is that my thumbs are huge, and precisely for that reason I almost deleted my first scene. Yikes! Below is a small two minute video, of me trying out Novelize on the iPhone. on the title it does let me change it.
Novelize Mobile Edition Review.
- Modes: Apart from the three panels, and the distraction free mode, you get 3 modes to work with, viz. Write Mode - for writing your novel. Plan Mode - for creating a quick plan for your novels, and the Outline Mode - for creating chapter / scene outlines. The way this has been organised in the app is again testament to how much thought has gone into making it. Kudos.
- Progress Reporting: Always visible, progress reporting. No matter which pane, or panel you are in, you will always have your progress available at a slight glance. The progress indicators, currently, show the number of weekly words written / target no. of words, and total words / total no. words. You can set both of the targets you want to set as your weekly, and total word writing goal, from the Manage panel.
- Name generator: This is one feature, I love. When you’re creating your characters in the Notebook Panel of the app, you have the option of generating character names. This one pain point of mine, I can’t seem to come with creative names. And the name generator definitely helps!! See the video below for a small demonstration on this one.
- Adding / Deleting Novels: It’s very easy to add more novels, and start working on those. Or to delete one. You can create a new notebook, or use a current one. The feature of grouping novels, into a notebook is great. Especially if you’re writing a series, or some such. Well thought through. Text Formatting: You can very easily format the text by selecting the text you want to format, and right clicking on the mouse you get a lot of options.
All in all, I do love what Novelize offers to writers. I also love the fact that it’s so intuitive, and clearly there’s a lot of thought gone behind making it. Yes, there are somethings that can be further worked upon. But, nothing that hinders you in any way whatsoever, from writing. November is almost here, and so is NaNoWriMo. If you’re looking for a tool to use for writing your novel, Novelize can be it! It’s got everything ready for you.
Not so long ago, I wrote a review on Novlr. Novlr’s great, but I do like the approach that Novelize takes, better than Novlr. I like how everything has been thought through, so that it’s easier for you just write. Novelize get’s out of your way, and does help you do one thing without any drama - write.
Will I Recommend Novelize?
Yes. In fact, I am transferring my account to a friend who’s writing a novel currently, and Novelize would be perfect for her. I loved it so much, that I thought Novelize would do some good for her, and help her finish her’s.
On A More Personal Note - Will I Be Using Novelize To Write A Novel, Anytime Soon?
No. But that’s not because it lacks anything that I need. In fact, it’s got everything needed for me to write mine, and frankly speaking it does a better job that what I am using currently. The thing is I am already setup to write mine with another tool, and I’d hate to shift over to Novelize mid-way through it.
No rocket science here. There’s only two options. If you’re just starting out, you can create a free account. That gives you the basic feature set, along with creating one novel, and one notebook. The other option is to upgrade to the feature packed account, with all the bells, and whistles for $5/mo at the time of writing this review.
What are you waiting for? I highly recommend that you use Novelize, or in the very least bit, give it a whirl. I am absolutely, positively, sure that you’re not going to be disappointed.
Plus, it’s only going to get better!
Full disclosure: Josh Evensen, the creator of Novelize approached me to write this review. I’ve had a lot of time playing with the free account, as well as the the paid account. My opinions, and observations noted here in this post, are not biased. But are as fair, as they, and I can be. With that said - Josh, thank you for the wonderful opportunity. I do like Novelize a ton!