I have spent some time looking at various software packages (see Software for Writing) amongst which is The Novel Factory (Windows only). This package is from a UK company and full details are available on their website. I firmly believe that different types of writer, writing project and level of experience may well require different tools. There is definitely a place for The Novel Factory and I discuss how well it fills it.
Who is the Novel Factory aimed at?
This product is aimed at people who want to be guided through the process of writing a novel rather than experienced novelists. It is fairly prescriptive in the way it works which is normal for this type of product.
It isn’t a challenger for something like Scrivener but I would imagine that the market for people who want to try to write their first book is rather large. It is a market in which more established products such as New Novelist operate.
What does it offer?
The Novel Factory guides you step by step through the writing process via its roadmap. This is a logical sequence of steps from initial concept right through to final edits and submissions. It takes a monomyth style approach to plot (which it calls the Universal Storyline) and has a straightforward interface to move you through the writing process.
What does it do well, what could it do better?
There are many things I like in terms of the interface and support for character creation. Customer support is good in my experience and there is a 30 day trial period available. I also like the way that the publishers actively seek feedback and are happy to enter into conversation (by email) even when you are just using the trial version.
The product is fairly new and this means it is well maintained and evolving. This does also mean it has some features that are nice to have but not fully realised. One of these (in my view) is the image library – there is a really interesting feature in that when you create characters or locations you can attach pictures to them. This is great but having a built-in library is (perhaps) not necessary, particularly as there are not very many pictures included.
The writing process is rigid and I did feel constrained sometimes: my style is not to work start-to-finish at outline then draft and so on but to want to drift around various scenes as I have ideas. That isn’t to say my own writing process wouldn’t benefit from more discipline.
I believe that, should it take off, this is a product with a lot of potential. As of now it does what is says but I think it has the makings of a more versatile product and I am very interested to see how it develops.
The product costs £24.99 but as I mention there is a fully supported 30 day demo you can download. If you think this might be for you then do try it.
I was provided with a free copy of The Novel Factory which I have used to produce a short story and that experience is the basis for my comments. All opinions expressed are my own and I am not affiliated with the company in any way, nor am I recommending that you purchase the product.