Usually, when reading long novels or series of books (or TV series and films), it is hard to keep track of all the characters that appear, from the principal to the secondary ones. So I'm looking for a software (Android app or Linux program) that will help me with that.

Requirements it should meet:

  • create relationships maps, for instance trees where the nodes are characters' names
  • create short 'personal descriptions' for each character, i.e. possibility to take notes associated with nodes
  • create 'projects' to be associated with each book where I can store a number of different maps

Ideally, but not necessary:

  • add other attributes to the character, such as photos or symbols (like icons)
  • create 'factions' to group the characters, which means some sort of attributes that I can use to sort them


  • possibility to choose between different 'map types'.

It is better if the software is free, though for good tools I am willing to pay up to 10$.

  • Windows, Linux, mac, Android, iOS, browser? Free or do you have a budget? The more that you tell us, the more likely that we can help you.
    – Mawg
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 12:54
  • Here is a similar question, but apparently focused more on the physical drawing of the diagram. It also focuses on Windows, though there are mentions of software for other platforms in that question, answers, and comments.
    – John Y
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 13:16
  • Also related: softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/38417/…
    – John Y
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 13:21

3 Answers 3


The trick here is to think line an author.

Let's try and reverse-engineer the authoring process by using the same tools that they do.

I did some research on such software last year and only found one good, free one for Windows (YMMV).

It should do most of what you want, but I am not sure if it can handle it all (like factions - maybe Mind Mapping would be better).

Take a look at yWriter ...

yWriter is a word processor which breaks your novel into chapters and scenes, helping you keep track of your work while leaving your mind free to create. It will not write your novel for you, suggest plot ideas or perform creative tasks of any kind. yWriter was designed by an author, not a salesman!

Feature list:

  • Organise your novel using a project. Add chapters to the project. Add scenes, characters, items and locations.
  • Display the word count for every file in the project, along with a total.
  • Saves a log file every day, showing words per file and the total. (Tracks your progress)
  • Saves automatic backups at user-specified intervals.
  • Allows multiple scenes within chapters Viewpoint character, goal, conflict and outcome fields for each scene.
  • Multiple characters per scene.
  • Storyboard view, a visual layout of your work.
  • Re-order scenes within chapters.
  • Drag and drop of chapters, scenes, characters, items and locations.
  • Automatic chapter renumbering.

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See also, this question https://writers.stackexchange.com/questions/8938/software-for-developing-and-organizing-characters

If you don't like the program, but do like the approach, then just google for more authoring software.

For instance, look at this comparison matrix enter image description here

Or try these (and otehr Google hits) :
- http://www.cultofmac.com/197893/nanowrimo-apps/
- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/a-novel-idea/id421948244

  • Thank you for your answer, but I required an Android app or Linux program. I will for sure take a look at authoring software, though, it's a very good idea.
    – user19124
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 10:02

It sounds like the iMapping Tool could work well for you.

There, you could create nested maps, which usually works better for hierarchies plus relationships because you do not need the lines for the hierarchiy that would be crossed by those for the relationships. Additional Information and pictures are also no problem. While not officially supported, it does work on Linux.

Why don't you try the free version and report back?

[Disclaimer: The iMapping Tool is developped by me.]

  • 3
    This your tool, right? If yes, please disclose this in your answer :)
    – unor
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 11:22
  • You have to go along way to beet FreeMind - freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
    – Mawg
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 13:16
  • @Mawg freemind is widely used and very useful as long as a) you stay in a hierarchical model without many interrelations and b) you do not need more than around 100 nodes. Most Mindmap users say that for maps with 100 branches and more, mind maps kind of loose the fun... Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 15:47
  • Your tool looks good, but the prices are a bit high. I will try it and then come back.
    – user19124
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 10:04
  • @NicolaBastianello It is 30,- € for students (maybe that is hard to see on the german site). Still too much? (And thanks for the feedback anyway!) Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 18:10

I would suggest checking out TheBrain. It looks quite impressive in how it organizes the links visually. And, you can add notes, pictures, etc. There are different types of maps available. And it has an Android app. The basic app is free but there is also a Pro version that you need to pay for.

Another mapping tool I found is Kumu, although it is purely a web app. Looks very neat, has, from what I've seen, most of the features you are looking for like connections, picture upload, notes. If you are ok with your project being public, i.e. you are the editor but everybody can see what you do, then it is free. If you want it to be private, it is $9/month.

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