Campfires are in our DNA. Since the earliest days of humanity, people have gathered around campfires to tell stories and share experiences with one another. Even though the way we tell stories has changed over time, their importance to us on a personal and cultural level hasn’t. Campfire Writing’s name draws upon this legacy of story and the way in which its told. But is it suited to the needs of today’s storytellers and writers?
If you’re looking for a specialist solution to help you write your next fiction book, you’ll want to read this Campfire Writing review. We’ll break down everything you need to know in terms of what Campfire Writing does, how much it costs, and how to decide if it’s the right option for you.
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What is Campfire Writing?
Campfire Writing is a software tool that serves the need of fiction writers, particularly those working in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. It’s packed with features that aren’t available in standard writing tools.
If you’re a fiction writer, you were probably pretty excited the first time you discovered the range of specialist fiction apps out there. It’s a great feeling to know that tools have been created with your particular needs in mind. However, that feeling of excitement could have soon turned to annoyance or apathy. Yet another writing software to read about! The novelty soon wears off.
Thankfully, Campfire Writing can honestly claim to bring some different things to the table, both in terms of functionality and pricing. But, before we delve deeper into the capabilities of the tool, let’s get a feel for its basic qualities.
To be clear, Campfire Writing is suited for fiction writers. We can’t recommend it as the right choice for nonfiction writers, as almost all of its functionality aims to serve storytellers. There’s nothing wrong with aiming to serve fiction authors over nonfiction writers. But be aware if you primarily write nonfiction you’ll probably want to check out other writing software options.
Which devices does Campfire Writing work with?
You can use Campfire Writing in one of three ways:
- As a tool that you access via web browser
- As a downloadable app for Mac
- As a downloadable app for Windows
There is no specific support stated for Chromebook or Linux, but if you use those systems, you might be able to find a workaround.
Overall, most writers will find the range of options for using Campfire Writing to be more than sufficient. If you need to use the tool on the go, your mobile browser should allow you access to the info you create and store in Campfire Writing.
What are the key features of Campfire Writing?
The key concept underpinning Campfire Writing is that of ‘modules’. Modules is the term Campfire Writing uses to describe the various features it has available to writers. It’s also a somewhat unique way of organizing a software tool. Whereas most tools bundle all their features together whether you want to use them or not, Campfire Writing’s modules allows you to only use and pay for the modules you need.
Now that the basic idea and benefit of a modular approach to fiction functionality is clear, let’s take a look at the specific features on offer.
At this time, Campfire Writing offers users the following 17 modules:
- Characters. Store detailed information about your main and supporting characters.
- Manuscript. The writing tool itself where you can craft drafts and final versions of your novel or story.
- Locations. The places where your story takes place.
- Maps. Interactive and colorful maps for your story. You can even nest maps, such as by nesting a series of city maps within a state, further nested within a fictional country, for example.
- Research. The quality of a book is often directly tied to its research. Store and access all your research in the same environment you write in thanks to Campfire Writing.
- Timeline. Visualize the timeline of your story and have graphics showing how multiple timelines interplay and interact.
- Arcs. Getting story and character arcs right is key to creating a gripping and immersive experience for your readers. Arcs allows you to visualize and manage everything in one module.
- Relationships. Creating multiple characters can lead to complex relationships. Getting these wrong can ruin immersion for a reader. Specify and track relationships in this dedicated module.
- Encyclopedia. Campfire Writing allows you to create and access Wikipedia-style content about the fictional world you create.
- Magic. Does your story use magic? If so, Campfire Writing has a detailed module allowing you to keep track of your creations here.
- Species. Store details about the fictional creatures you create in this dedicated story module.
- Cultures. Keep track of detailed information about fictional cultures as part of your worldbuilding efforts here.
- Items. You store details about any type of item here, including conventional ones or magical ones as needed.
- Systems. Enrich your story with information about systems you’ve created including those in the political realm and even cults.
- Languages. The power of fictional languages to add richness to a story cannot be overstated, just ask any fans of Lord of The Rings or Star Trek. Create your own fantasy languages here.
- Religions. Religion has a powerful influence on real and fictional societies alike. Create and manage your own religions here.
- Philosophies. Determine the philosophies that will guide the world of your story here and keep track of their beliefs and implications.
As you can see from the list of modules above, Campfire Writing is ideally suited to sci-fi or fantasy authors, although could prove useful for fiction authors of any type.
Aside from its modules, Campfire Writing’s other key feature is the ability to collaborate easily. Different users can be added to the same project, allowing for seamless and synchronized collaboration to take place.
Who created Campfire Writing?
Campfire Writing is a relatively new tool for fiction authors compared to some other options on the market. It was originally created by Jason Louro back in 2018. Louro was a college student working on a screenplay. He found it difficult to organize and keep track of his work and creative process so he created a software tool to meet his needs.
The Mac and Windows versions of Campfire Writing only launched properly back in December of 2018 after the online versions were tested extensively beforehand.
At this time, there is a core team of six creatives and other professionals working on making Campfire Writing the best it can be.
Who is Campfire Writing for?
As stated earlier in this review, Campfire Writing is not best-suited to nonfiction writers. Its functionality is created for storytellers and sci-fi and fantasy writers in particular.
In our opinion, Campfire Writing is ideally suited to the following two types of writer. Others might find it useful, but you’ll get the most value out of it if you’re a:
- Fiction writer of fantasy or sci-fi. The ability to create systems of magic, for example, as one of the modules of Campfire Writing, shows that this is an ideal tool for fantasy authors.
- Worldbuilders. If your story requires in-depth worldbuilding, you could use Campfire Writing for this particular purpose. The map system and ability to create Wikipedia style articles allow you to stay on top of the complex world you create.
Campfire Writing – Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve looked at what Campfire Writing is capable of, and who it’s well suited to, let’s check out a summary of its pros and cons.
- Detailed functionality for fiction and worldbuilding.
- Flexible pricing, not a pricing model seen in other writing software.
- New and innovative tool created by a storyteller.
- Potentially more expensive than other specialist writing tools.
- More suited to sci-fi or fantasy rather than some other fiction types.
- Not really suited to nonfiction writers.
Overall, if you’re a fiction writer of sci-fi and fantasy, Campfire Writing is a great choice of software for you. Take the time to compare it to other options in terms of cost and functionality, but we’re confident you like what you find.
- Related: We have reviews on dozens of other software, tools, and programs for authors on our Review page.
How much does Campfire Writing cost?
You can sign up to Campfire Writing for free and try out its modules without the need to even input credit card details. This helps to avoid the common problem of forgetting when to cancel a trial and getting billed for something you don’t really want.
If you decide to invest in the paid version of Campfire Writing you can either choose a subscription model or a one-off payment for lifetime access.
The unique thing about Campfire Writing is you can customize which modules you have access to and only pay for the ones you use. For example, if you want to use the maps module, but have no use for the philosophies module, you will pay less.
Some of the cheaper modules cost $0.25 per month, such as the philosophies and religions modules. More expensive modules like characters and timelines come in at the $1 a month mark. The core writing software, known as manuscript, costs $1.50 a month.
If you prefer to pay for Campfire Writing on an annual basis, it’s 16% cheaper than paying monthly. For example, the cheaper modules clock in at $2.50 a year, whereas the more expensive options like characters are $10 a year. The core writing software is $15 when paid for on an annual basis.
Perhaps you’re fully sold on Campfire Writing and what is has to offer. In which case, you can pay $7.50 to access the cheaper modules forever, and $30 for the more expensive options. The core writing software clocks in at $45 for lifetime use.
Overall, the payment model for Campfire Writing is unique and one of its attractive features. You only pay for the features you need and for as long as you need them. Just be sure to do your homework and see if other software solutions represent better value.
Alternatives to Campfire Writing
There are lots of different specialist writing tools available these days, so do some homework and try out different apps before you make your final decision.
You can read a rundown of some of the best writing software here, and check out a dedicated guide to distraction-free writing tools in this article.
Campfire Writing Review Final Rating
Overall, we give Campfire Writing 4 stars.
The functionality for fantasy and sci-fi fiction authors is impressive. We’re also fans of the flexible pricing model on offer.
If you’ve used Campfire Writing, please leave us a comment and let us know your experiences with the tool and if you’d recommend it to your fellow authors.