Save the Cat Template Added

A little while back a friend of mine who does a bit of work as a director/screenwriter pointed me at Save the Cat , considered the ideal structure for a movie.

I had read the book and found it fascinating, (there is version for novel writers as well, but I had the script one)

Then I found this great blog post by @savannahgilbo and it all clicked for me I wanted a save the cat template for wavemaker, so took the basics and added it.

Make sure you pop over to see her take on it at

Novel Writing Software for Linux

The title is actually a bit misleading. Wavemaker runs on everything. Including Linux (I personally use it on my Ubuntu Laptop, my chromeOS laptop, as well as my Windows PC and my Android Tablets and Phone)

For the uninitiated it does look a bit like a website, (Which in fact is ALSO is). There is however one major difference.

You can install wavemaker locally, and run it offline!

It’s a Progressive Web App – Here’s how to install it

I use a lot of different devices , and wavemaker was built to do all the same stuff on all of them. Using this technology makes it much, much easier. The key elements are you need to have a PWA compatible web browser (Right now that’s Chromium and Chrome, but the other browsers are all planning to support this ).

So If you haven’t already install chrome/chromium and simply visit It will prompt for an install.

Free Novel Writing Software?

Why Wavemaker novel planning & writing software is free.

I started out building wavemaker as I wanted software that suited me. Don’t get me wrong, there are some nice programs out there. Scrivener is really good, Atomic Scribbler is nice, Manuskript is decent  and so on ….. 

But none of them are cross platform. Wavemaker  works on virtually anything and syncs between devices easily so you can write at your desk, or while walking the dog (Yes, I actually do this, dictating into wavemaker on my phone while out and about)

But Why Free??

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take your money if you insist 😉
(You can become a patron at the  Wavemaker Patreon)

But my aim is to create some great free novel writing software, for ME. 
The fact you get to use it is a bonus. Also I really ENJOY creating stuff like this. If ever I get enough Patrons to support me I’ll go full time at this, but until then I have to squeeze it into my spare time.

I’m also  Open sourcing the code for the older versions, and will do with the current version when I have all the bit’s I want done – I want to do this as others will be able to help by adding features, fixing bugs and making it better. 

This is what makes Wavemaker truly unique. It’s goals are to be as inclusive as possible, as useful as possible and as easy to use as possible.

If you want to try out this amazing Free Novel Writing Software then give it a go. There’s nothing to lose 🙂

How to install a PWA

Wavemaker is a PWA (Progressive Web App), which at it’s most basic level is a website that you can install locally and run without an internet connection. If you visit with a browser that allows you to take advantage of this (Google Chrome at time of writing is the first) You get the install button appearing

At time of writing Windows/Linux/ Android do this by default (as should iOS) – on a mac you may need to enable the browser settings for Chrome

If it the button doesn’t appear check the 3 dot menu

Why use PWA’s

Easy. Wavemaker is designed to be an online tool – it can run offline very easily, but about 95% of what you download as part of the software is basically the web browser (chromium) to run the actual software in!

Using a PWA means I don’t need to create installers and apps for every platform – I just make one website that you can install locally and run offline. A Major bonus is that the software can automatically update from the website if it needs to – boom, it’s now evergreen software 🙂 This leaves me more time to make the software better for everyone, rather than hunting down a problem with a specific installer.

This is a new technology, but you can expect this to become pretty common now. Google, Microsoft, Apple and Firefox are all keen on this technology so it should be widely supported on all browsers pretty soon.

Wavemaker Version 3 is Live

Version 3 is now live, you can find it  at


Wavemaker is a Progressive Web App now which will install virtually anywhere and run offline, It’s also been built to work on tablets and phones!

Managing Your Work

Your Projects need to be safe, Wavemaker has changed and now uses a local database to keep your projects in, this can be easily backed up and moved, as can individual projects – you can also back it up to google drive and restore it to a different device with a click.

New Features

It took a while, and we have a LOT of new features – multi level organisation, formatting options and distraction free ….

New note taking Database

This is based loosely on google keep, keep notes and photos tagged in an easily searchable database – top tip – use it from your phone to record pictures of locations!

Snowflake Tool

An old favourite back again – build your idea up from a simple paragraph

Planning Board

Manage all your scene and character notes!

Grid Planner

Based on  the planning grid used by  JK Rowling. 

Timeline Planner

Another old favourite – build up your story by event planning

Challenge Mode

New Export Options

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.


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
  • 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.