At the core, novelWriter is a multi-document plain text editor. It uses a markup syntax inspired by Markdown to apply simple formatting to the text. It is designed for writing fiction, so the formatting features are limited to those relevant for this purpose. It is not suitable for technical writing.
Your novel project is organised as a collection of separate plain text documents instead of a single, large document. The idea here is to make it easier to reorganise your project structure without having to cut and paste text.
You can at any point split documents by their header, or merge multiple documents into single documents. This makes it easier to use variations of the popular Snowflake method for writing.
Below are some key features of novelWriter.
- Focus on writing
The aim of the user interface is to let the user focus on writing instead of spending time formatting text. Formatting is therefore limited to a small set of formatting tags for simple things like text emphasis and paragraph alignment. When you really want to focus on just writing, you can switch the editor into Focus Mode where only the text editor window itself is vissible.
- Keep an eye on your notes
The main window can optionally show a document viewer to the right of the editor. This view panel is intended for displaying another scene document, you character notes, plot notes, or any other document you may need to reference while writing.
- Organise your documents how you like
You can split your novel project up into as many individual documents as you want to. When you build the project, they are all glued together in the top-to-bottom order in which they appear in the project tree. You can use as few text documents as you like, but splitting the project up into chapters and scenes means you can easily reorder them using the drag and drop feature. You can start out with a few documents and then later split the document into multiple documents based on its headers.
- Keep track of your plot elements
All notes in your project can be assigned a tag you can reference from any other document or note. In fact, you can add a new tag under each heading of a note if you need to be able to reference a specific section. Note tags are organised into categories with specific reference keywords.
- Get an overview of your plot elements
In the Outline View on the main window you can see an outline of all the chapters, scenes, and sections of your project. If they have any references in them, these are listed in additional columns. You can also add a synopsis to each document, which can be listed here as well. You have the option to add or remove columns of information from this outline. A subset of the outline information is also available in the Novel View as a replacement for the main project tree.
- Building your manuscript
Whether you want to compile a manuscript, or export all your notes, or generate an outline of your chapters and scenes with a synopsis, you can use the Build Novel Project tool. The tool lets you select what information you want to include in the generated document, and how it is formatted. You can send the result to a printer, a PDF, or to an Open Document file that can be opened by most office type word processors. You can also generate the result as HTML, or Markdown, both suitable for further conversion to other formats.
novelWriter with default theme:
novelWriter with dark theme: