I started writing a science fiction/fantasy novel as a hobby, and I am looking for a software (other than Word) which make easier to write it. Here is what I am looking for:

Must have:

  • Free
  • For Windows
  • Be able to list characters, and if possible reference them on the novel.

Nice to have:

  • Be able to keep track of the storyline.
  • Format the text depending of the writing genre (I read that depending of the writing genre, the format of how it is written the novel changes).
  • 1
    Have you looked at these?: 10 programs for writers – OrangeKing89 Jul 16 '15 at 17:30
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    What do you mean with "track the storyline" and "track/reference characters"? – holroy Jul 16 '15 at 18:21
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    For the track storyline, be able to somehow know how the storyline is going on each chapter, without the need to read the entire chapter. Maybe something that allows add comments to each chapter will be enough. – scubaFun Jul 16 '15 at 18:53
  • 2
    For the reference characters, for example, if I write the name of the character, the software could go to the list of characters, and add it on the text for me. Like an auto-complete. – scubaFun Jul 16 '15 at 18:54
  • 1
    @peterh No, I have not read this one, although I heard about this novel before. Definitively I will start reading this one! – scubaFun Jul 20 '15 at 13:28

Try looking at Bibisco. It's free and open source, and helps you with brainstorming, forming characters, keeping track of plot threads, and chapter writing. It has a very nice interface and is easy to understand and use.

  • This program which is released under the GPL license, does that have any effect on stories written within the program? – holroy Jul 17 '15 at 19:38
  • No. Anything you create with a GPL license is yours to do what you want with. The restriction of a GPL license is that you can't repackage or modify the software and license it under a license other than GPL. – jpyams Jul 17 '15 at 19:41
  • @holroy it just can't in any way – Croll Jul 17 '15 at 20:33
  • Thank you for the recommendation. Once I get the time to test it, I will let you know about the results. – scubaFun Jul 20 '15 at 13:30


Off the top of my head, this is your best option:


Manuskript provides a rich environment to help writers create their first draft and then further refine and edit their masterpiece.

With Manuskript you can:

  • Grow your premise from one sentence, to a paragraph, to a full summary
  • Create characters
  • Conceive plots
  • Construct outlines (Outline mode and/or Index cards)
  • Write with focus (Distraction free mode)
  • Build worlds
  • Track items
  • Edit and re-organize chapters and scenes
  • View Story line
  • Compose with fiction or non-fiction templates and writing modes
  • Export to HTML, ePub, OpenDocument, DocX, PDF, and more
  • Additionally Manuskript can help in many more ways with a spell checker, markdown highlighter, frequency analyzer, and automatic save in open and plain text file format.

It's completely free and open source and it'll do everything you requested.

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