The first question is whether you even need novel writing software. The short answer is: no, you don't. All the great classics were written without novel writing software, after all! It is far from essential.
... having said that, novel writing software can be a terrific help in writing your novel. Writing a novel is challenging enough - anything that can help make it easier is worth considering. Those classic novels were written without word processors, after all, without being able to cut and paste, or search and replace - but no writer nowadays would give up his or her computer.
And so, read on for my suggestions about the best novel writing software.
I've only recently bought Scrivener (for a long time it was only available on Macs and I have a PC), and I have to say I'm loving it. It's a hugely feature-rich tool. I am impressed with how well thought out and intuitive it is, which makes it easier to use. Having said that, there is so much going on that there is a reasonably steep learning curve. The tutorials are good though, and there are other resources to help you learn. And you can get good use out of it even as a beginner.
Scrivener doesn't impose any structure on you, but neither does it hand-hold you with a pre-formed structure. It's all down to you. Having said that, you can create and save templates with your own structure.
All in all a lovely tool and I love it. It's a steal at only $40.00 too.
The Marshall Plan Novel Writing Software is a software program based on novelist and literary agent Evan Marshall's best-selling book of the same name. The software gives a very specific and precise template to follow to produce a novel which will, in Mr. Marshall's professional opinion, sell.
It is a very well thought out program that takes you by the hand and guides you through a systematic and tightly constructed novel.
Now, having such a strict template would suit some writers more than others. If you find it comforting and empowering to have such a tight blueprint, then I think this is a very good product for you. If you would find it stultifying and as if you're wearing a strait-jacket, then it's not.
The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Software is also not a low-budget option at $149.00. There is a 30 day money back guarantee though, so you can try it and only keep it if it works for you. And if it's right for you then it's a small price to pay for a tool to turbo-charge writing your novel.