It has been fascinating to watch the development of literary tools since the turn of the century. As technology has rapidly evolved and software becomes integral to our day to day life, it is no wonder that a myriad of businesses have popped up offering services to assist writers in their process. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and one issue writers have faced since the dawn of time is editing, organising and completing their work. Every writer will have experienced writers block at some point, as well as being unsure how to finish a story or edit it down to its most impactful moments.
A company utilising modern technology, to try and help writers with this process is NovelPad. Their writing software aims to help authors organise, write and edit their novel. It is certainly a fascinating idea and the intersection of these two worlds could yield some great results, but how will writers feel about utilising technology in this way? And does it work as intended? In this review we will break down exactly what NovelPad does, how and why writers may benefit from using it, pricing and any alternatives for writers to consider.
What is NovelPad?
NovelPad was founded only a few years ago and is one of a huge number of SaaS (Software as a Service) companies to emerge in recent times. Their aim is to be an easy to use and straightforward software that helps authors write their novel as effectively as possible, providing added insight and analysis.
NovelPad lets writers add scene cards to the plot board, organized into plots and subplots and then lay them all out on the chapter board to manage the story. If the writer wants to add scenes as they go, they can add them from the editor tab.
They also have a feature called Scene Card, which stives to be a core principle and focal point of creating the user's novel. It allows users to craft and recraft their story by merely dragging and dropping various plot lines, scenes etc into place. It also allows them to create rewrites of specific scenes, monitor progress, archive, label and assign chapters and locations with one click.
A quick edit option lets users jump from anywhere right into a scene of their choice and edit with ease. The tool enables users to create notes, reminders and more whilst attaching them to a deadline or target date, giving users a tangible goals and targets to work towards. Novelpad also aims to provide a simplistic and user friendly interface to allowing their users to focus on their writing, whilst benefiting from the software without being confused or distracted by it. Finally it has what it calls ‘best in class’ grammar, spelling and style checking which is available, as is all the above, on any synced device, allowing writers to switch between phone, tablet or computer and continue their work seamlessly.
Beyond the software features, it has an online community which sits in their chat server, allowing cross collaboration and support from both other users as well as in house editors and internal NovelPad staff.
How a Writer Would Benefit from NovelPad
As you can see above, there is great depth in NovelPad’s features, but how would all of this benefit a writer specifically?
Well, to have all of the story mapping laid out across all of their devices would likely provide a clarity and holistic overview to the book that may not be otherwise possible. Even if a writer was to write all this out by hand, taking this paper with them everywhere they go would likely be a hassle, as well as the complexities of re arranging or editing which would be far less simple then doing this online.
Also, whilst writing is often considered a solitary persuit, having input and feedback from multiple sources is almost certainly going to be beneficial. Most writers will at the very least work with an editor, but for those without a publishing deal or who are pursuing self publishing, this may be harder to find. Having a community of writers and designated editors within the NovelPad platform may be very appealing.
Finally, having grammar and other checks is not just useful but vital to the writing process. There is nothing worse than taking the time to write a great story and potentially sending out for publication or as part of a submission only to uncover some basic errors that undermine the work. And whilst there are plenty of tools that provide this service, having it all housed under one platform rather than forcing the writer to switch between various products, would certainly facilitate a much easier process.
The NovelPad pricing model seems to be fairly straightforward which is both a pro and a con. The lack of flexibility or option for a free trial may prove a sticking point for some, but the clarity in pricing makes the choice fairly binary. Users can select between a $15 monthly fee or an annual price of $120, which is more of an outlay and commitment but represents a 33% discount. Both options include the below features as part of the service and price.
Up to 100 novels
Create characters, locations, and plots
Check spelling and grammar with ProWritingAid
Work offline or online
Import from Word, OpenOffice, and Markdown
Export to Word, PDF, & Markdown
Contextual reminder notes
Scene and aggregate analytics
Theming (Editor Dark Mode)
Discord writer community
It will likely depend on how many projects a writer is working on at one time, as well as how long they think they are likely to use the service, in order to determine which option is best for them.
Broadly speaking, there are two main alternatives to using NovelPad. The first is to use a company similar to NovelPad, of which there exists plenty. This would be if there was a particular feature or function that is of prime importance to a writer that NovelPad does not have, or if the pricing model does not align with their own personal finances. A quick online search reveals a wide number of companies offering similar, as well as some easy comparison charts. It is certainly advisable to do some research before selecting an option.
The other alternative would be to be completely self sufficient in the writing process and not enlist any outside help. If a writer didn’t have the technology to utilise such a product, the finances to pay for it or the mindset that would benefit from it, then going solo may be the right path. Writing is often thought of as a traditional pursuit and so some writers may be reluctant to use technology in this way, or may feel that that they have the capacity and capability to do everything they need by themselves.
NovelPad Review – Final Thoughts
It is clear then that NovelPad is a good product solving a genuine problem for writers, as well as modernising what can be considered a legacy process.
That does not mean however that using their product is vital for every writer. It may well be beneficial for many, but not essential to all.
Ultimately, it will be up to each writer to do their own research to discover if NovelPad could help them in their writing journey. Any writer that does feel the need for some extra help from a tool however, would likely benefit from using NovelPad. And any writer who is curious or unsure, may find that trying it out for a month in order to familiarise themself with the tool and experience first hand what type of impact it has, is the best course of action.