Finding the right writing software can make all the difference in finishing your book. The right software will streamline your planning and organization process and provide the tools you need to sit down and get that novel written. But looking for the best options often feels like a long and tedious process when you know you should be writing instead.

Your book deserves to exist! So, instead of spending hours researching writing software, let’s look at them together.

This article will compare the best writing software available and give you pros and cons for each one so you can choose the best writing software for you and your work.

**Please Note: This post may contain affiliate links. However, I only recommend products I have personally tried and honestly believe in.**

Why Use Writing Software?

Writing a book or novel is a long and complicated process. Whether you spend time plotting and planning your book before you start, or you plan as you go, keeping track of all the details along the way can be frustrating.

And then, once the first draft is complete, you still have to edit and format your book before you can send it off to an agent, publisher, or printer.

Using a proven software app to simplify each step of this process relieves a lot of stress and can help you get your work out there more quickly. Plus, staying organized can aid your creative mind moving forward and prevent writer’s block. (If you would like more tips on getting more done, check out my post: 5 Easy Ways To Be A More Productive Writer.)

To be clear, you do not NEED special writing software to write a book.

So, don’t use that as an excuse not to get to work. All you need is a word processor with which to type out your chapters. This is why my first software review is for Microsoft Word.

However, if you are looking for a program that can help you streamline the entire book-writing process, then check out some of the other options on this list.

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Microsoft Word

Perhaps the simplest and most basic software you could use for writing your book is Microsoft Word.

This program is available on most devices and you are probably already using it for other things in your daily life. This means you probably won’t need to spend extra money it. Plus, many writers prefer to stick with what’s familiar. Here are the biggest pros and cons to using Word for your novel.



  • Simple to use for basic writing
  • Many editors like to edit through Microsoft Word because of the “track changes” feature



  • Your work is not on the cloud, so you cannot access it from other devices.
  • If you don’t save and backup your work regularly, you could lose data
  • Formatting your work can be complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • You cannot keep your background information in the same document

Google Docs

Perhaps the next step up from using Microsoft Word is writing through Google Docs.

I start a lot of my stories and blog posts using Docs because it’s simple and easily accessible. Anyone can create a free google account and use the Docs application to work on their projects.



  • Free to use
  • Similar to Microsoft Word, so there is little learning curve
  • On the cloud, so you can access your information from any device
  • Easy to share documents with other people through email or Google Drive



  • You have to export your document to another program for proper formatting
  • Program only works when you are connected to the internet
  • Very limited organizational options for plotting and planning


Many consider Scrivener to be the “gold standard” in writing software, and it used to be my favorite.

However, after the software crashed my computer in the middle of NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago, my feelings have changed. I nearly lost half of my manuscript and had to spend hours retrieving it in the dark depths of my hard drive.

Still, Scrivener offers so many options for organizing your book and research that it deserves to be mentioned in the list. Features include outline view, notecard view and even color coding options.

I love the synopsis feature and the ability to organize my research material right in the software. If you are looking for a powerful program to put on one device, Scrivener is worth looking into.


  • Premium organizational features, including outline view, storyboard view, color coding, and more.
  • Basic goal setting capabilities
  • Organizational options for characters, setting, and research
  • Split-screen feature for viewing documents side-by-side
  • Full-screen mode for distraction free writing
  • One-time purchase price that is cheaper than many other program’s yearly membership



  • Not cloud-based, so you can only access your work easily on one device
  • Requires a lot of computer power to run
  • Complicated software takes time to learn and use
  • Does not integrate well with other word processors, so you can’t copy-and-paste information seamlessly from other programs (the format will be different)



Manuskript is an open-source writing platform. It’s technically free, with the option to contribute through donations.

The software is a downloadable program for your computer with various writing modes, including a distraction-free mode to help you stay focused on your tasks. The storyline, outliner, and notecard features are pretty basic, but this can be a good thing if you are looking for a simple tool with little-to-no learning curve.



  • Free to use
  • Downloadable, so you don’t need to be connected to Wi-Fi
  • Offers a Distraction-Free mode for added concentration
  • Includes very basic organizational elements for plotting, character development, and setting development



  • Not cloud-based, so you can only access your information from one device
  • Doesn’t offer a lot of features which can hinder detailed novel organization
  • Doesn’t always work well with every type of computer
  • Because the software is more of a hobby for its developers, rather than a career, updates and bug fixes only come when they have time to work on it.



Bookcicle is a newer writing platform that was developed to provide tools as both a writing software and an author platform. The basic version is free and offers the most necessary writing features.

Organization elements for plotting and planning are a little sparse, but you can still keep basic character and setting information at your fingertips for when you need it.

The premium version is inexpensive and starts at less than $6 per month (as of the time of this writing). This version offers several exciting features, such as in-depth analytics, AI writing assistance, and peer reviews.



  • Free version and inexpensive paid version
  • Cloud-based, so you can access your information from any device
  • Basic writing software that is easy to use
  • Author Platform tools for promoting yourself and your work
  • AI writing tools and peer review tools available
  • Simple goal-setting and tracking features
  • Uses Grammarly for spelling and error checking



  • Few plotting and planning tools
  • Information organization tools are basic
  • Layout is generic
  • No free trial for the paid version so you can’t try it out before you upgrade


Shaxspir is a downloadable program with cloud syncing capabilities. The program is free but offers an inexpensive paid version for just $8 a month (at of the time of this writing) that adds helpful premium features, such as linguistics analysis.



  • Free downloadable program so you don’t have to be online to use it
  • Cloud backup and cloud syncing capabilities
  • Basic Organization elements for character and backstory development
  • Spelling and Linguistics checker for the pro version
  • Simple goal-setting features
  • Built-in Thesaurus



  • Because it syncs upon start-up, booting up the program can take a while, which reduces writing time.
  • Functions like a digital notebook, so organizational features for backstory are limited
  • Had some problems getting it to run on my computer after initial set up

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Dabble is an online cloud-based software for writers. Instead of paying a single price and downloading the software, you pay a monthly membership that gives you access to the various features available in the online app. These features include plotting tools, sticky notes, and goal tracking. 


  • Cloud-based, so you can access your writing from any device
  • Basic organizational features for character and setting development
  • Story card view for plotting
  • Collaborates with Pro Writing Aid for spelling and grammar checking
  • Basic goal-setting and tracking options
  • Available on mobile through your browser



  • Free trial but no free version
  • Plotting and planning elements are pretty basic
  • Goal setting options are only for word count
  • Monthly subscription cost is higher than others on this list that offer just as many features


Squibler is another online writing software that stores your writing on their server rather than on your computer. They charge members a monthly membership fee which grants access to all the features available.

These features include Squibler’s own editor, cork board organization, goal setting and brainstorming tools. Squibler offers different versions for different types of writers so you can choose which works best for you.

I would recommend Scribler more for non-fiction and technical writers than for novelists.


  • Cloud-based, so you can access your writing from multiple devices
  • Basic organizational features for character and setting development
  • Chapter view or corkboard view available
  • Several goal-setting options
  • Offers templates for many types of writing projects



  • Free trial but no free version
  • If you cancel your subscription, you only have access to download your work once, then you lose all access
  • Costs the same as or more than several other options, but does not seem to offer more value.


LivingWriter looks like a simplified version of Scrivener. However, there are a few unique features that are worth mentioning.

First, it is an online software with an affordable monthly membership rather than an expensive one-time purchase price.

Also the “story elements” feature allows you to organize data about individual characters or settings and then easily access it and display it on the side of your screen as you write your manuscript.

The software also has the option to export directly to Amazon Kindle, which is an especially useful feature for ebook writers.


  • Cloud-based, so you can access your writing from any device
  • More detailed organizational features for character and setting development
  • Chapter organization and story board organization available
  • Plotting outline templates available
  • Easily share your work through email
  • Upload writing directly to Amazon Kindle
  • Goal-setting options include word count, story goals, and NaNoWriMo integration



  • Free trial but no free version
  • Once you unsubscribe, your work is only available to you to download for up to one year
  • Requires a bit of a learning curve to get started


Campfire is an organizational software specifically made for writers and storytellers. The platform is cloud-based, however they have a desktop app available as well.

The initial Campfire account is free, but you can purchase upgrades for individual projects to customize your dashboard depending on what fits your needs.

They also offer several learning resources for writers, as well as a community platform to share work between users.


  • Free version available
  • Cloud-based, so you can access your writing from any device
  • Downloadable desktop app and mobile app
  • Customizable upgrades so you don’t pay for things you don’t use
  • Great organizational features for character and setting development, as well as premium world-building tools
  • Customizable Timeline feature for plotting and planning
  • Advanced export options
  • Sharing options for community feedback on the platform
  • You can link your campfire account to your NaNoWriMo account
  • Statistics tracking dashboard



  • Free version only supports up to 25k words
  • No goal-setting features on the platform
  • No exportable outline or synopsis features
  • No full-manuscript view

The Best Book Writing Software – My Top Picks

Every application on this list has merit, and you could use any of them to write your novel. However, in my opinion, there are three that stand out above the rest.

  1. Campfire – Campfire has almost everything I need to write my novel. And I like I can customize my experience based on my writing needs.
  2. LivingWriter – My second choice would be LivingWriter because of its similarity to scrivener and its organizational features. However, unlike Scrivener, it is cloud-based, so I can access my work from my phone or tablet and I don’t have to worry about losing my projects.
  3. Bookcicle – As a writing software, Bookcicle shows a lot of promise. It’s not as advanced as many other options, but it is inexpensive, and its author platform opportunities are worth keeping an eye on.


 You do not need special software to write your book. However, writing software can give you an advantage in finishing your project.

Having the right program can help you streamline the process by supporting the various stages your writing project goes through. Supportive applications will make it easier to plot and plan your story, draft your manuscript, edit your project, and format it for publishing.

I hope the comparisons in this article help you choose the best writing software for you and your work.


Do you have a go-to writing software you like to use? Tell me about it in the comments!

**Please Note: This post may contain affiliate links. However, I only recommend products I have personally tried and honestly believe in.**

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