Story Writing Software

There’s more to writing than a word processor.   There are probably  a lot of people out there who think of themselves as ‘pantsers’,  but the ‘plotters’ need to plan – and wavemaker has the tools to help them.

Timeline

Wavemaker Novel writing Timeline Tool

Need to get everything down and in order? – the timeline tool is great for working through your plot. Get key events/ scenes down and it you can go back and grow the timeline into a detailed set of events for your story

The Snowflake Novel Planning Tool


Wavemaker Novel planning Snowflake Method Tool

This is where wavemaker started – I had read about the snowflake method and it was really similar to a ‘3×4 cards’ system I was working with. Eventually I built a basic web tool to do the job – it then grew …… much like a snowflake itself as it gathered more detail.

This works by making you focus on keeping each card short, you then split a card up when you need to add more detail. Doing this you can build up your story slowly and adding detail as you go.

The Cards Planning Board

Wavemaker Cards ‘trello’ style planning tool

This is a bit like the planning boards I use as a software developer. They are amazingly useful for planning what and where you put scenes and ideas….

All this  …. and we still haven’t reached the writing tool! 🙂

Version 2.6 Update

This update is mainly cosmetic. I have decided that I’ll only roll out new downloadable versions on 0.5 updates (so next one is 3, then 3.5 etc)

  • Added New NaNoWriMo Template 
    https://wavemaker.co.uk/blog/nanowrimo-template-news/
  • Changed the Timeline so it uses placeholders rather than text for the blank option
  • CSS changes for mobile layout to the Snowflake tool
  • Ctrl -Up and Ctrl-down bound to zoom to help with smaller screens on chromebooks – not really an issue in most cases and not on the browser version as the browser handles that itself

There are some major behind the scenes changes I want to make which need a lot of work, so small incremental changes may happen more frequently.

NaNoWriMo Template News

I was never satisfied with the Nanowrimo template built into wavemaker. Today however I found this. The new template will be arriving in version 2.6 due shortly 🙂

The Manuscript Shredder NanoWrimo Template

Using this I have updated the template in wavemaker, but I strongly suggest you head on over to  The manuscript shredder  for more info on it!  

There is also a great book for those of you looking to take part as well.

Other Resources

This roadmap is a combination of several sources.

The Snowflake Method

I first came across this while reading up on writing techniques and found it fit nicely with what I called my ‘Cards’ method.

Read about the snowflake method here : The Snowflake Method

The ‘Cards’ approach was simple.

  1. Write a summary of your story on a  5×3 lined card
  2. Take 3 new cards and break that summary into a beginning, middle and end.
  3. Throw away the original card
  4. Take the first card and split that 
  5. ……… repeat as needed

This led to the first tool I built to do this electronically – can it can still be found in the wavemaker software as the snowflake tool

The BUT/SO rule

What makes for a good story

I read quite a bit and there have been some great books out there that keep me interested and engaged. However one of the things I noticed was wrong with bad stories was when things just kept happening to the protagonist, things that were out of their control.

The story was driven almost entirely by outside events, and before long I lost interest. When I saw the south park creators talking about this subject it just made sense.

Consequences of actions

Want a great example of this – The Martian by Andy Weir. After the initial sandstorm almost everything that goes wrong for Mark Watney is caused by his actions and his choices.

It can be summed up as

Mark is on Mars BUT he is stranded SO he tries to grow potatoes for food BUT he does not have enough water SO he tries to make water from rocket fuel ……..

Hence I call it the BUT/SO rule.

Getting Started writing with wavemaker novel writing software

Where to begin?

On your first look at the software you’re probably wondering what’s a good starting point. It’s designed to be used how YOU want to use it, so send feedback if you’d like to see something in there.

My personal place to start is the timeline tool, especially when hammering out an basic idea.

The Timeline Tool

I find it really useful to cobble together a simple timeline of the events in the story. This is a standalone tool that I added purely so that when you start a project you can quickly put something together that outlines your story. You can of course completely ignore it if you want 🙂

The Snowflake Tool

I do most of my plotting in the snowflake tool. It’s great for expanding out your story,  breaking it down into manageable chunks that allow me to focus on that part specifically. 

The Cards Tool

The main editor allows you to fill out the cards from the snowflake tool in more detail, although it’s handy to use the Cards tool by adding scene and character notes in the editor.  You can build up a pretty extensive todo list of things to write about

The Editor

The main editor window is where you can get right down to the real work. You can see the scenes you’ve planned to write, the structure should all be there. Now comes the grind of turning all your best laid plans into a rich detailed novel.