While a notebook and a corkboard work like a charm, story development software is way cooler and feature-rich.
It is great for formatting and putting your thoughts in order.
No story development software will write your book for you (dang!), but it can assist with the entire process.
Why choose a story development app?
From carefully planning a new novel to putting jumbled thoughts in order, and structuring your prose or poetry, a story development app will be your little helper.
An idea could hit you anywhere and without a tool to compile those thoughts, you have them scattered in-between places and sometimes lose them.
What you need is good story development software, and I’ve compiled the best solutions for you. They are all highly recommended by authors and writers.
The 5 Best Story Development Software Solutions
These software solutions will help you stay organized and give you the best formatting options out there.
Scrivener is a powerful writing package for story development. If you are a screenwriter, you will love its basic yet very efficient screenplay formatting component.
It offers templates for screenplays and fiction & nonfiction manuscripts. As a management system, it allows you to organize your research, notes, concepts, and documents for easy access. You can choose to plan out the whole process first or write in any order and restructure later.
Scrivener has very impressive features which include a corkboard and an outliner. It also has a split-screen mode for working on more than one document at once. It even allows you to drag and drop virtual index cards on its corkboard and automatically rearranges your manuscript accordingly.
You can even take “screenshots” called “Snapshots”, save a copy of a document before modifying it.
Its editor lets you do as much formatting as you would on a word processor. You can add comments and annotations, even insert images, tables, and lists. When you’re done writing, you can export it into different formats: EPUB, Mobipocket, and even markup languages.
While the software won’t tell you what to write, it gives you all you need to start writing and keep writing. Novelists and screenwriters love it.
One indie writer, Merlin Mann, described it as an application that “gives you the freedom to make a mess, the confidence to know you’ll clean it up, and the semantic relationships to tie it all together in whatever way makes the most sense to you.”
It is available on macOS and Windows and allows you to download a free trial version that offers the same features as the full version for 30 days. It costs $49 to get its license for either operating system or $19.99 for iOS.
Story development is easier with Celtx. This is one of the best story development software solutions for screenwriters. A plethora of story development tools back its industry-standard script editor.
With its storyboards, you can build your stories shot-by-shot and even integrate images as you organize sequences.
Celtx offers different professional storyboard templates, all of which are FREE. Some are ideal for commercials, others are for animations, film, television, and games. With them, you can plan your visual approach for any project.
It also provides storyboarding resources to help you through the process. Developing a comprehensive storyboard is a major part of story development for screenwriters, and this software offers great solutions.
Another impressive feature is its connected workflow. It keeps every member of the production team engaged and informed. It even allows for collaborative script editing.
You can integrate index cards can directly into your script editor. In-line script breakdowns let you identify what you will need for production easily. You can even get a project catalog to organize everything about your production, from talent to props, location, and crew.
With this tool, you can focus more on writing and creativity while it takes care of formatting and communication.
Its free plan is great if you are just getting started with game writing, screenwriting, or short-form video. Its affordable Individual & Small Team plan for scriptwriting costs just $15 per month (billed annually).
You can try it for free with full access to all paid features, but only for a maximum of 2 projects. After that, you need to subscribe to continue access. They offer a 14-day trial period for their enterprise-grade solution, the Celtx Pro.
3. Final Draft
Final Draft is one of the choicest story development software used by professional screenwriters. BBC, Netflix, and Sony Pictures, amongst others, use this screenwriting tool.
It is a powerful planning tool. It spurs your motivation as the script takes shape before your eyes.
You don’t just get to write screenplays; you can also format them with ease. With over 300 templates at your disposal, you can always work your magic.
It can also be used to write novels and manuscripts in over 97 languages, and it has a formatting assistant that automatically arranges your work to conform to industry standards.
Final Draft has a friendly user interface with tools for outlining, story structure, collaboration, and editing. It also provides videos on how to use these tools.
Its Outline Editor lets you critically view your screenplay structure, while its Track Changes tool gives you more control over the editing process. It allows you to keep records of edits you made and choose whether to accept or reject them.
The software also has a Beat Board for organizing your ideas in a customizable, visual way. You can store character research and even plan set pieces. This feature has flow lines that help you connect ideas or “beats”, which can be texts or images, and create a story flow.
Its collaboration feature allows you to work on your script or Beat Board with other writers in real-time. Its Beat Board and Outline Editor arguably make Final Draft the best story development solution available.
It works well on Mac and Windows computers and offers a 30-day trial version. It is also available for iPhone and iPad. You can buy a full license for $199.99.
Novelists love Storyist. Not only does it keep your writing organized and easily accessible, but it also helps to track your plot, character, and settings.
It has a rich text editor for creating well-formatted manuscripts and screenplays and even features templates for each. With readily available index cards, you can sketch out your story and refine it later as you write. With Storyist, you can display your index cards right next to your manuscripts.
Storyist enables you to see all your characters on screen as you write. Your research and character information is always within reach. Hence, story development progresses easily and smoothly.
It provides style sheets featuring common manuscript and screenplay formats but also offers customizable options. It also has an outlining tool that gives you a quick overview of your story.
It can create ePub and Kindle ebooks and allows you to import and export your work in different formats, including Final Draft, Microsoft Word, Fountain, and so on.
If you need to focus on telling your story, Storyist is a good, low-priced story development software solution at your disposal.
You can buy it at $59 for your macOS, while it doesn’t require a subscription for iOS. Its only downside is that it only works on said operating systems. You may opt to download its free version first, to see if its features adequately cover your needs.
5. Movie Magic Screenwriter
This award-winning word-processing story development software is used to format novels and screenplays. With over 100 templates in its latest version, you can brainstorm, write, and rewrite your story.
It contains updated spell check dictionaries and has an Import Text feature for importing texts or screenplays already written in other word processors. You can likewise export your script into different formats, including PDF.
You can write with a partner via its iPartner feature. It has a new NaviDoc technology feature that allows you to create your script outline with acts, sequences, scenes, and so on.
You can use NaviDoc as you would with index cards while viewing your script at the same time. It has a note panel with which you can jot down research questions, revision notes, and casting suggestions.
It also has a SmartCheck feature that scans your script and corrects common formatting errors.
It is one of the best story development software solutions because it is easy to use and very intuitive. From getting your ideas down to production rewrites, it offers what every elite screenwriting software should have.
It is available for both Windows and macOS, and you can purchase it for about $150.
Aim for ease with these best story development software solutions.
Having all you need in one space and keeping organized is the first step to getting your story going. Smart outlining features and formatting options make story development even easier.
We hope you find these tools life-saving and de-stressing, even though they won’t write your story for you.
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