Updated: Sep 19, 2020
[NOTE: This post was originally written in November 2016. Some features or functionalities of the reviewed program may have changed since then.]
Welcome to Part 8 of my “Free Writing Software Review” series. This is a companion series to my earlier post, “Free Scrivener Alternatives.”
This week’s topic: TrueNovelist!
TrueNovelist is unique among the programs I reviewed in that it is online only; there is no software installation. The entire program runs in your web browser. This could be useful for working on-the-go.
The opening page of TrueNovelist is pretty simple. You create a free account and log in, and then you are able to create a project. For testing out this software, I created a project called “Trial”.
Once your project is started, you enter a screen with a left-hand navigation bar, a right-hand menu, and a center space. When you click on a new area in the left navigation, whether it is a scene, a folder (like Research), or a character icon, you get a blank text screen in the center to type into.
You can choose from a list of icon appearances to categorize by icons in the left menu in whatever way works for you. You could use these as a form of visual notes if you wanted to.
You can create characters and places in addition to scenes, though everything is basically just a text box that you type your information into.
While working on my project, I accidentally clicked on something that took me back to the Home page, but when I came back, it had autosaved my work. This is a really helpful feature!
TrueNovelist has a cool Stats section that will track how many words you write per day and give you “Average Words Per Minute” and “Average Words Per Hour” stats, and even track the time you started and stopped writing. It also lets you set a goal for Words per Day, and tracks it on the main screen with a simple #words/goal statistic (you can see this in the right-hand panel of the image above). It also tracks these stats over time for the project as a whole. Here’s what the stats screens look like (Don’t be startled by the word “Trial!” That’s just what I called my project because I was, well, trying things out.
But this is not a trial version. The entire program is completely free.):
When you want to, you can download the project as a .zip file, which includes .html files of the project, both for the “Full Story” and also navigable within Windows Explorer by Part, Chapter, etc., with individual .html files for each scene and for each section within your Research folder.