The mechanics of short story writing is simple; you can even write them using paper and pencil sitting in the wilderness. When it comes to writing a novel, though, the details are often more complicated that a simple notebook or word processing program can handle. You need something that not only allows you to write, but that helps you to organize your writing and make it better. If you've been writing your books in Word, Open Office, or another word processing program, a dedicated novel-writing program can make your life infinitely easier. You may have even tried the more popular apps that have been around for years, but these newer versions have a lot to offer any author.
The StoryWeaver system is ideal for beginning authors and those who find themselves stuck halfway through the writing process. This system breaks down your book into distinct steps and leads you from one section to another, creating a cohesive novel. Each section includes an important step in storytelling. By following the steps in this system you'll end up with a novel with a logical story arc that keeps your readers turning pages until the end. The system is intuitive in that it builds your particular path on the sections you've already written. StoryWeaver is $29.95, and they offer a 90 day free trial.
For writers who have a hard time working story arcs, who get lost in the middle of the book and need a roadmap to completion, the Marshall Plan software can be a lifesaver. Enter the details of your novel and this software produces a useable outline. Follow the outline and you'll have an interesting, fast-paced novel ready to submit or publish. You'll get a complete template of any story and the ability to write it in any language. The Marshall Plan software includes multiple instruction books for authors, and costs around $150 with a 30-day guarantee.
Dramatica Pro 4.1
With fans such as Wes Craven and Writer's Digest, Dramatica Pro has the street cred to show what a powerhouse program it is. This program will take you from a basic novel idea to a finished and polished product. You'll deal with theme, plot, characters, and scene to create a complete outline, then move on to writing your finished draft. Dramatica Pro lists for over $250, but you can often find it online for under $100.
On the other end of the author's spectrum, LitLift is absolutely free, both in terms of money and structure. It includes a plotline and storyboard feature that organizes the details of even the most complicated plot, and the rich text editor lets you write the way you want to. LitLift is online and is absolutely free. The secure site will save your work, but it also allows you to share portions to increase interest in your book before publication.
While not a tool for writing your novel, EditMinion is a one that will make your live editor very happy. It takes care of those pesky problems such as misspelled words, passive voice, problem prepositions, and cliches. Run your first draft through EditMinion and you'll eliminate a lot of costly work you editor might otherwise have to do.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be With You!