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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

Free Novel Writing Software to Get Your Next Book off to a Great Start

While the process of writing a novel is a complicated one, the software you use doesn't have to be. And with these programs available online, you can now get your novel written absolutely free of cost, so be sure to check them out and see which one best suits your needs.


Screenshot of, free novel writing software.
Screenshot of, free novel writing software.

Advertising that they have removed the hurdles inherent in the traditional book publishing industry, FastPencil is Cloud software that allows you to write, publish, and print books and eBooks anywhere you have access to the Internet.

You can think of it as Google Docs for writers. Using the software, you'll be able to create a project, invite others to collaborate with you, and communicate with other authors through the app. You can even assign a "task" for your collaborator.

Not only can you write your manuscript directly with FastPencil—you can also import a previously written manuscript and choose your page design in order to publish professionally. It's an all-in-one program that enables you to create books, collaborate, publish, distribute, and sell your work.

Here's what you get for free

The free version of FastPencil allows you to do the following:

  • Print Your Book Privately
  • Sign in with any device
  • Receive experienced and professional online support
  • Import, write, and edit your manuscript
  • Collaborate with others
  • Professionally format your book (with preview)
  • Track revision history with unlimited free digital proofs
  • Manage images and store encrypted files
  • Personalize your author store
  • Connect your events calendar and social media account
  • Interact with a guided publishing wizard and retail pricing tool
  • Complete metadata collection
  • Format your manuscript for hardcover, softcover, Epub3, Mobi and PDF eBook publishing
  • Use the Direct-to-Publish (DTP) PDF/X Import utility
  • Obtain ISBN and barcodes (with purchase of global distribution only)
  • Receive competitive royalties

Paid version

For $499, you will receive everything in the free version of the software, plus:

  • A project manager to assist you in the navigation of your purchased author services
  • 1 professional front & back cover design and 1 revision cycle
  • Global distribution for all formats (print & eBook) including distribution with Ingram, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc. for 3 years
  • An ISBN issued for each format
  • 1 half-hour scheduled marketing consultation


Screenshot of, free novel writing software.
Screenshot of, free novel writing software.

yWriter is a free novel-writing program available for download and use for Windows 7 and later (the version for MacOS is in progress). It is a word processor that focuses on breaking your novel into chapters and scenes as a way to keep track of your work and while it won't write your novel for you, it will help you get it written by focusing on scene and chapter breaks.

Since scenes can be moved around into various chapters, the developer of this software believes that it's important to have the ability to drag and drop them from one chapter to another as you work on the overall flow of your book. A scene is a pleasant chunk to work on - small and well-defined, you can slot them into your novel, dragging and dropping them from one chapter to another as you interleave strands from different viewpoint characters and work out the overall flow of your book. You can also mark a scene as 'unused' if you've written yourself into a dead end, which will keep it out of the word count and exports without deleting the content.

yWriter's creator is Simon Haynes, a designer and programmer who is also a published author. Due to his own experience with authoring a manuscript, Haynes wanted to create a program that contains tools a working novelist will find useful. On his website, he writes, As a programmer, I'm used to dealing with projects broken into source files and modules, and I never lose track of my code. I decided to apply the same working method to my novels ... and yWriter was the result. Your work is broken down into chapters and scenes, and you can drag and drop them around to reorganise your novel.

Here's what you get for free

  • Add chapters to the project
  • Add scenes, characters, items and locations
  • Display the word count for every file in the project, along with a total
  • Save a log file every day, showing words per file and the total (Tracks your progress)
  • Save automatic backups at user-specified intervals
  • Allow multiple scenes within chapters
  • Viewpoint character, goal, conflict and outcome fields for each scene
  • Reorder scenes within chapters
  • Drag and drop of chapters, scenes, characters, items and locations
  • Automatic chapter renumbering
  • Epub and Mobi export
  • Export selected chapters to RTF format, proof them, check the grammar, then import them back again
  • Export your work to LaTeX, a powerful page-description language
  • Pare your chapters into individual scenes, scene labels for word count and scene status (e.g. complete or incomplete)
  • A storyboard feature that can be viewed by character arc or work schedule tracker
  • Keep track of characters, locations, and items in different tabs
  • View your Storyboard to see how your narrative is developing
  • Generate a synopsis based on the notes you've made for each scene


Screenshot of WriteMonkey, free novel writing software
Screenshot of WriteMonkey, free novel writing software

If you find that you're often distracted while writing on your laptop, WriteMonkey is a great option. It advertises a distraction-free working environment with what seems like a sparse interface, but you'll be surprised to learn all of the options it offers. Also, it's a portable app, so it runs from a USB drive that you can use on whatever computer you want.

Here's what you get for free

  • Writing software that allows you to focus on your writing without distraction
  • The ability to copy files and directories in any folder on your machine
  • USB installation on any windows computer
  • The freedom to choose your own UI language (separate download), colors, fonts, page layout and many other aspects of the program.
  • A customizable info bar where you can scale up your text for easy reading, save different profiles, etc.
  • Software that is fully UTF-8 compatible and will recognize virtually all international characters


Screenshot of LibreOffice, free word processing software.
Screenshot of LibreOffice, free word processing software

LibreOffice is a project of the not-for-profit organization, The Document Foundation, and is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. It's open-source software that can be used as a replacement for the Microsoft Office Suite, including a word processor called "writer." Beyond the word processor, the LibreOffice suite offers users the ability to create and edit spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams and drawings and is available in 115 languages.

LibreOffice Writer offers almost all of the same features seen in Microsoft Word and is a great desktop publishing tool for anyone who doesn't want to pay for the Microsoft Office suite. You can track changes, index, and organize your document with the same ease seen inexpensive word processing programs, and even save your file to make it easily transferable between LibreOffice and other programs like Microsoft Word.

Along with a full set of editing tools, a thesaurus, and dictionaries (in multiple languages), LibreOffice has a great support forum available for any questions you have on how to use the software.

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