Novel Factory Review: The Ultimate Software for Writers?

Scott Allan
August 25, 2022 | 16 mins

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Read this before using Novel Factory

If you’re writing a fiction novel, there are a lot of resources and tools at your disposal. You may have heard of Scrivener, the writing software that has helped thousands of writers complete their books and become bestselling published authors.

But…as great as Scrivener is, there is another writing software that we have discovered is equally as good as Scrivener, and maybe better, depending on personal preference. In this post, we will take a deeper dive into what this tool is and how it will help you write your novel from initial outline to final draft . By reading through this review of Novel Factory, I’m convinced that you will consider using it for your next project.

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What is the ‘Novel Factory?’

Novel Factory is a novel writing software that helps writers to create their first manuscript from start to finish. It offers a variety of tools and a complete writing structure with free templates to create the story and get it ready for publication.

For experienced writers, It also contains access to many useful templates, resources and intuitive interactive features to help novelists of all levels of experience save time, be more productive, and get greater clarity on both the big picture of the project as well as the finer details. In addition, it includes a range of plot templates for popular genres, a range of character questionnaires, a subplot manager, and targeted timelines.

In a nutshell, it helps aspiring authors complete their first manuscript while learning the craft of writing a novel, and it helps established authors take care of the boring details so they can focus on the fun parts of writing.

We won’t go into every one of the sections in detail here as there is a lot to cover. Instead, we’ll focus on what we see as the most useful features, and how you can best benefit from using the tool.

So, let’s dive in first with…

Writer Writing A Review About Novel Factory

Key benefits of Novel Factory

As with several novel writing software—for example, Scrivener—Novel factory has many key benefits that make it stand out and appeal to writers.

The best 10 key benefits of Novel Factory are:

(1) Organization for all of your novel's notes in one place

Now you can save time and avoid endless searching for paper notes and trying to keep digital file folders organized. The Novel Factory offers clear, concise structures for notes on everything from plot, to characters, to scene locations, and suggestions for crafting elaborate scenes all in one place.

(2) The ability to write anywhere, on any device, at any time of day

Novel Factory 3.0 comprises a Web app and a Windows Desktop app. With the Web app you can work on any device with an Internet connection. And with the Windows Desktop, you can work locally on your PC, and even disconnect from the Internet if you desire. The two apps synchronize, so you can switch between them as needed. You can write down ideas on your phone on the bus to work, scan through character notes on the run throughout the day, and finish drafting a scene as you unwind before bed.

(3) A guide through every step of the novel writing process

The Roadmap feature is an optional step-by-step guide to writing a novel that takes you from premise to final manuscript and beyond. It draws on tried and tested storytelling methods that are used in best-selling novels and blockbuster movies. This software has been built from the tried and true fundamentals of novel writing, just like the famous authors who have written the classics.

(4) Organization of all your novel's scenes

Split your novel into scenes that can shuffle with a simple click and then drag them where you want them to go. How easy is that! You can enter, edit, and view key information relating to each scene, and link characters and locations to a given scene. When it comes to scenes, you need to know what is where so that you don’t lose time looking for all things all the time.

(5) In-depth character management tool

View your entire cast of characters at a glance or open their individual tabs and view their detailed character profiles. These profiles can be used to include everything you need about your characters, including their motivation, archetype, physical description, background, voice, and more. The character section is designed to provide prompts and guidance to help you create truly memorable, complex characters that grab the attention of your readers.

(6) Tools to keep track of individual plot points

The subplot manager allows you to create columns for plot threads, themes, items, and characters and cross-reference notes with particular scenes. Drag and drop these plot points to effortlessly reorganize parts of your plot.

(7) The ability to go back in time

With the “Turn Back Time” feature, you can view automatically saved previous versions of your draft at any time. Write fearlessly knowing you have a previous save ready to go.

(8) Manage your stories' locations all in one place

The Locations tab allows you to write down details for all of your novel's settings, including multiple images to spark your inspiration. It encourages you to consider all of the senses in your descriptions to build a truly immersive story world. It includes prompts to help you consider the physical landscape, but also the social and political aspects that might be important to your story.

(9) A simple user experience

Don’t waste any time when you first start using The Novel Factory, learning all the ropes before you can start writing. Unlike some other writing programs, The Novel Factory is completely intuitive from the first time you open it. In fact, no matter how young or old, Novel Factory is a seamless and easy-to-use tool right “out of the box.”

(10) Track your statistics

The Statistics section allows you to keep track of your word count and set writing objectives, as well as showing scene breakdowns and tracking your progress towards your goals.

Throughout this post, we will take a closer look at the primary features of The Novel Factory

The Novel Factory packages and pricing

How much does The Novel Factory tool cost?

Now that you know the key benefits of Novel Factory, you might be thinking of getting this software to begin your career as an author.

Before investing in The Writing Factory, you can test drive the software for 30 days for FREE before making a decision. This is a great way to test it before going all in with either the online or desktop version.

There are two different pricing plans for the online and desktop versions of the app. The desktop app is a one-time purchase of $39.99. That's a reasonable price, but this does not include the subplot manager if you get the desktop version and it's only available for PC. Mac users are unfortunately out of luck.

The pricing is broken down like this:

Annual subscription: 

Novel Factory Review: Annual Subscription

Depending on how many novels you are planning to write, that will sway your decision as to which package to go for. Remember: If you are not yet sure and want to try it out, there is a free 30-day trial period. If you want to do just one novel, check out the basic plan. The standard and premium include unlimited novels to write, but vary in pricing.

Monthly subscription

However, you can start with the cheaper plan (monthly) and upgrade later. No matter which plan you decide to go with, it’s great value for the money, with little difference in pricing between the two plans. 

Novel Factory Review: Monthly Subscription

At $7.50 a month for a subscription based plan, you are definitely getting your money’s worth!

Some FAQs about Novel Factory

As with any software or tool, there are always questions to be answered regarding compatibility, data or future upgrades.

Here are several of the most FAQs authors—and future authors— are asking about The Novel Factory:

Does Novel Factory work on Mac or Windows?

It works on both. The web version can be accessed on any computer, and any device that has access to an Internet browser. If you have a Windows machine you can download the Windows desktop app included with your subscription and then use Novel Factory anywhere, even without Internet access.

Is there a Lifetime Access Option, or do I have to pay for a subscription?

The problem with a lifetime license on software is that, without regular maintenance and updates, applications go out of date very quickly, and become obsolete.

Offering an affordable subscription (which in the long term could actually end up cheaper than an expensive lifetime license anyway) means the development team at Novel factory can keep on top of changes in technology, as well as constantly adding new features to make the software better.

Who is the novel factory designed for?

The Novel Factory has loads of useful resources aimed at brand new writers, as well as advanced plotting features designed for the experienced writer. Whether you’ve written thirty novels or just finished page one, there’s something in The Novel Factory for all writers.

How many computers can I use the Novel Factory on?

As many as you like. The licenses are per user, not per computer, so you can install the Desktop version or open the Online version on as many machines as you wish, as long as it's for your personal use only.

What if I use the trial then decide I don’t like it – will my work be lost?

No, you will not lose your work. You can export all your work if you decide not to continue.

Are there similar programs out there with comparable features?

Yes. You can see our reviews on Plottr and on Campfire Writing, as they are the most comparable software for fiction writers. You can find more of our reviews here.

The Novel Factory has a longer list of Frequently Asked Questions here that you can check if you want to dive deeper into the details.

What’s included in The Novel Factory Package?

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Now that you have a clear indication of how much the Novel factory is, it’s important to know what it all includes. You’d be surprised to explore the vast amount of templates, resources, and information that is available through this software. As you can see, most of the process of writing a novel is included in this package. But we recommend you test drive it first to see if it works for you.

With The Novel Factory package, you will get:

Dedicated sections for characters, planning, locations, and more

The Novel Factory offers clear, prominent structures for everything from plot, to characters, to locations, and so much more.

And the sections don't just give you a space and leave you to it. Each section is packed with useful prompts and guidance to help you build three dimensional characters, compelling plots and immersive settings.

A Plot Manager to help you develop your plot

The Plot Manager takes a systematic approach to building a strong plot from basic building blocks. It includes plot templates for popular genres to get you started.

Detailed character development prompts

The character details section offers a wealth of prompts and information about creating memorable, three-dimensional characters. It includes space to map out character motivation, that character’s archetype, their physical description, and fatal flaws.

Plot templates help you lay out a story like the pros. Each stage in the plot templates comes with detailed information that help guide you step-by-step through the main beats of your story.

Tools to keep track of individual plot points

The Subplot manager allows you to create columns for plot threads, themes, items, and characters and cross-reference notes with particular scenes. Drag and drop these plot points to effortlessly reorganize parts of your plot.

All your notes to hand as you write

As you write you will have any notes you need available to you. In an info panel on the right of your draft you can view linked characters, locations, the scene synopsis, plot points and other notes.

A guide through every step of the novel-writing process

The Roadmap feature is an optional step-by-step guide to writing a novel that takes you from premise to final manuscript and beyond. It draws on tried and tested storytelling methods that are used in best-selling novels and blockbuster movies.

Freeform notes board

A new and improved notes section good enough to be an app all its own. Add text notes, images, links, and more while arranging your notes on the digital pinboard however you like.

Manage your cast of characters

See all your characters at a glance or view their detailed individual character profiles. These profiles can be used to include everything you need about your characters, including their basic info, character questionnaires, background, their voice, and more. The character profile is designed to make your job creating deep characters as fun and straightforward as possible.

Novel Factory Review

Character creation centered on their point-of-view

The Novel Factory encourages you to experience your novel through the eyes of each of your main characters. This adds depth, texture, and realism to the plot and characters.

Manage your stories’ locations all in one place

The Locations tab allows you to write down details for all of your novel's settings, including multiple images to spark your inspiration. It encourages you to consider all of the senses in your descriptions to build a truly immersive story world.

Planning section to build your premise and synopses

Use the Five Key Story elements to build a watertight Premise, then expand it into short then extended synopses – keeping your story structure solid from start to finish.

All your Works-In-Progress in one place

The Statistics tab allows you to keep track of your word count and your writing rate. You can set targets and keep track of your progress. When you set goals, it’s easier to stay motivated on those days where you feel like doing anything else but write.

Export your work

You can export your manuscript to Word, and soon you'll be able to export all your supporting data too.

What additional resources does the Novel Factory offer?

How To Write A Novel: A Step-By-Step Guide

The Novel factory has a plethora of writing resources to help you sort out all the details for getting your book ready. There are simply too many to cover in this post, but here is a general breakdown of the primary resources you should pay attention to.

Resource #1: The Novel Writing Roadmap

Novel Factory Review: Introduction To The Novel Writing Roadmap

Every writing software needs to have this: A road map to writing your book. Novel factory is no exception. With the novel writing roadmap taking you through every step of the process, you can’t go wrong. This is a great feature of this software as the road map walks you through the steps for writing your novel from start to finish.

It’s based on established theory relating to:

  • key story elements
  • plot structure
  • character development
  • effective pacing
  • subplots
  • drafting
  • editing
  • the current landscape for publication
  • Notes
  • Items
  • Statistics

Each of the steps builds on the previous one and it works by starting with your basic story idea, then building on it in a systematic way by developing plot, characters, and settings, until you have a complete, polished manuscript.

As there are many steps to creating a novel, the roadmap focuses on all of the essential elements to get it done. The writing roadmap is just a suggested route for getting from A to B, where A is where you are now, and B is having a completed novel in your hands.

Novel factory walks you through each phase of the process in detail so that you never feel lost or that you’re left to chance when writing your book. There are in-depth articles for each step and you will master each step as you move through the process.

Resource #2: 8 Character Archetypes

Novel Factory Review: 8 Character Archetypes
Novel Factory Review: The Shapeshifter

This is an in-depth study into the various types of characters to create in your novel Novel Factory includes a list of all the character types and details on how to integrate them into your story. By skillfully applying the principles of character archetypes, writers are able to create well-balanced casts of characters that emotionally engage readers by tapping into our fundamental nature.

The List Includes:

  • The Perfect Hero
  • The Hero
  • The Mentor
  • The Ally
  • The Herald
  • The Trickster
  • The Shapeshifter
  • The Guardian
  • The Shadow

Novel Factory Review: The Shadow

This breakdown of the character types is a brilliant feature of the software. You can visualize how each of your characters has a vital role to play in the outcome of the story.

By skillfully applying the principles of character archetypes, writers are able to create well balanced casts of characters that emotionally engage readers by tapping into our fundamental nature. For more on character development, read this article.

Resource #3: Novel Writing Worksheets

Novel Factory Review: Free Writing Worksheets

The cornerstone of the Novel Factory software for writers is to handle useful information that authors might be collating in order to help them write their novel. This could be relating to plot, characters, locations and more.

As well as offering a place to keep all that data, the Novel Factory goes one step further and suggests to writers what kind of information they might want to be collecting, such as basic info, backstory or character development ideas for characters, or sensory details to do with locations – what can you see, smell, hear, taste and touch?

The writing templates are free to use with the subscription and go a long way to helping you—the author—flesh out the characters and plot details.

The worksheets include:

The Premise

Create the basic building blocks of a great story with:

  • Character
  • Situation
  • Objective
  • Opponent
  • Disaster
Novel Factory Review: The Premise

Novel Outline Worksheet

Follow a structure that has been blazing inside the human psyche since we started telling stories around old campfires- beginning with setting the scene and ending with a climactic confrontation.

Novel Factory Review: Novel Outline Worksheet

Character Basics

This is a detailed character sheet to help you keep track of key information relating to your characters. A valuable worksheet that you can tack up on your wall as your characters begin to take shape.

Novel Factory Review: Character Basics

These worksheets are just a few of the amazing resources The Novel Factory has available. Even without a membership, you can download the PDFs. With the 30 day membership you have access to everything. There are a LOT more than we could include here, so for full access to the Free Novel Writing Worksheets, check it out here.

Resource #4: Novel Outline Templates

Novel Factory Review: 8 Outline Templates That Help You Write Your Story

If you had told me that the cost of admission to The Novel Factory included ONLY eight book outline examples that walk you through every detail required to forge a great story & plot, you would have already sold me. As you most likely know, a good story without a great plot to hold it together won’t survive the writing process…so this is a critical resource to have available.

Novel Factory Review: Narrative Structure

The 8 Plot Outline Worksheets include:

  1. Character Driven Plot Outline
  2. Mystery/Crime Thriller Outline
  3. Romance Novel Story Outline
  4. Hero's Journey Novel Plot Outline
  5. ​​Universal Novel Plot Outline
  6. Detective Noir Novel Plot Outline
  7. Screenplay Plot Outline
  8. Short Story Plot Outline

In the Plot Manager, you can create the overview of your core plot using index cards, either starting from a blank page, or using one of the Plot Templates provided by The Novel Factory.

Each of the plot templates explains in detail the different beats of the structure, what their purpose is and how to best use them. Then you can move them around, add and delete parts of your plot arc until everything is just as you want it to be.

Novel Factory Review: Character Driven Plot Outline
Novel Factory Review: Romance Plot Outline
Novel Factory Review: Hero'S Journey Plot Outline
Novel Factory Review: Mystery/Crime Thriller Plot Outline
Novel Factory Review: Universal Plot Outline
Novel Factory Review: Detective Noir Plot Outline
Novel Factory Review: Screenplay Outline
Novel Factory Review: Short Story Plot Outline

Resource #5: The Ultimate World Building Questionnaire

Novel Factory Review: The Ultimate World Building Template &Amp; Questionnaire (175 Questions)

This World Building Questionnaire has been put together to help fantasy writers and roleplayers create in-depth worlds for their stories and characters.

The questions have been split into categories and subcategories for ease of use.

The main categories are:

  • Geography and Nature
  • Population and Politics
  • Culture
  • Magic and Technology

Within those high level groups you will find subcategories such as Weather, Education, Social Rules and Origins. A great resource with highly intuitive questions leading to greater clarity around your story and characters

Novel Factory Review: The Ultimate Character Questionnaire

Resource #6: The Ultimate Nanowrimo Success Guide

Novel Factory Review: Nanowrimo

Now, one of our favorite events of the year has an ultimate success guide available here in The Novel factory library of resources. This is definitely one of the best resources of the lot.

What is Nanowrimo?

Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It's an initiative to encourage aspiring writers to stop procrastinating and get on with writing the first draft of their novel. The idea is to write 50,000 words in one month: November.

You can create a free account and sign up for the next Nanowrimo right here. We'll be publishing more content on Nanowrimo too. (Coming soon!)

Novel Factory Review: What Are The Rules Of Nanowrimo

Other resources

Summary: Is Novel Factory the best tool for you?

In conclusion in our Novel Factory review, we think this is a terrific tool for authors for several reasons:

  1. It’s set at a great price for everything that is included.
  2. Integrates with NANOWRIMO
  3. Has detailed story building features
  4. A plot outlining system
  5. Stores everything in one place
  6. Step-by-step guide to writing a novel (The Novel Roadmap)

The only cons to The Novel Factory are, that it’s primarily built for fiction authors. If you write nonfiction, you will likely get very little out of most of the downloadable templates.

Overall using this software could help you become a more efficient writer, while gaining great clarity on your book. There is certainly enough content and downloadables to justify the price ten times over.

If you have any questions about our experience with The Novel Factory, drop us a question below, as we would love to hear from you. 

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