What's the most derivative, cliche novel writing software or ... ?
October 27, 2019 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend who's trying to find "... novel writing software--or, say, a book or a website--that will guide me through structuring the most derivative, cliche, plot-and-character driven kind of novel? I want to mess with it... or maybe not. Based on my research so far, Novel Factory seems like a good option, but I'd like to know what else might be useful."
posted by philip-random to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Your friend might want to explore One Stop For Writers with different thesauruses for motivations, traits and so on, as well as character building tools. You can sign up for free to look at the top levels of most tools, and there's a free two week trial you can activate once you've signed up, without giving your credit card number.

There's also Save The Cat, which is a book designed for screenplay writers, but because it breaks down the three act structure with a transformational hero, it has a lot of useful information for novelists as well. Pick one of the ten basic plots, identify the subgenre, create a logline, then fill out the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet.

Scrivener is a powerful tool, but it does not hold your hand in the way that it looks like Novel Factory claims to (I haven't used Novel Factory). There's a useful intro to Scrivener course on Lynda.com that's available for free if your library is partnered with them.

I will say, if your friend goes into the process with disdain for their genre and the people who read it, they'll have a hard time creating anything that fans of that genre would want to read. For example, a lot of people see that romance writers can make good money and figure that they can cash in with some shallow bodice rippers, but they soon find that the kind of romance reader that goes through a dozen books a month is genre savvy, has high standards, and doesn't appreciate being patronized. Write what you can honestly love.
posted by shirobara at 1:11 PM on October 27, 2019 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I found this piece really interesting and you could modify it to not just be about mysteries: One Neat Trick to Writing Great Mystery Plots.
posted by sallybrown at 2:36 PM on October 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Dramatica Pro has a novel wizard that asks you to fill out a question sheet (it offers three levels of complexity) about the parts of your story and then generates a story outline for you. Essentially it's your novel, neatly summarised. They go in depth into the theory behind stories (archetypes etc) so it might be overkill, but they do offer a free demo.
posted by ninazer0 at 3:01 PM on October 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

This question also reminded me of Jim Butcher's introduction to Deborah Chester's The Fantasy Fiction Formula, which you can read if you click 'look inside.'
posted by shirobara at 7:02 PM on October 27, 2019

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