Novel Factory Review: Great for Storytelling Beginners! [2024]

Novel Factory Review

Key Takeaways:

  • Novel Factory offers beginner-friendly tools and templates for novel and short story writing.
  • The software includes character-building questionnaires, plot managers, and organizational features.
  • It provides an intuitive interface and synchronized data across devices, which makes it convenient for writers to work from anywhere.

As an aspiring novelist, you know you need to think up a great plotline, relatable characters and their backstories, interesting and unique settings, and even maybe a fun plot twist! But, how do you organize all your thoughts to make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle?

While you can use writing software (or even AI novel writing software!) to help you plan out your story beats, most of these software programs can’t help with other, more complicated writing tasks. They also often don’t help with setting writing goals or organizing your thoughts so clearly. Enter The Novel Factory!! 

I’ve tried out lots of different writing software programs. In this article, we’ll review one of the finest creative writing software programs – Novel Factory. You’ll learn about its features, costs, and whether or not it can help you with your novel or short story. Let’s get into it!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.


What Is Novel Factory?

Novel Factory is a software program that helps writers create their first draft. It’s equipped with several tools and plot templates provided to help any writer create great stories that audiences will love reading! There’s also a subplot manager to handle all your core plot details. 

novel factory

With this, you can kiss goodbye to writer’s block, as its interface creates an environment with ideas to help you kickstart and finish a whole novel.

There’s also a character-building questionnaire, novel writing roadmap, plot manager, notes board, and other exciting features to ensure you escape all the boring stuff, save time, and become more productive.

novel writing software

Novel Factory

Novel Factory is a software program designed for writers to create their first draft. It offers various tools and plot templates to help writers develop stories, including a subplot manager and a character-building questionnaire.

Overall, it is recommended as a useful tool for novel planning and outlining, especially for beginning creative writers who are not yet familiar with how to plot out a novel.

Who Created Novel Factory?

Novel Factory was created by Katja Kaine, a novelist who writes fantasy novels for children and young adults.

The startup founder once said in an interview that the software was borne out of the passion for providing a straightforward process for novel writing. 


Katja Kaine created Novel Factory to offer an easy and automated way to share her insights and methods for novel writing with the world.

Top Benefits of Novel Factory Software

We’ll highlight a few benefits of this software below. 

  • A hitch-free writing process: Start and finish your novel with a smooth ride on Novel Factory. Use its professional writing tools and plot templates to get the best with less effort. 
  • Organized sections: Novel writing can be messy – building characters, writing the plot, taking notes, and everything in between. However, Novel Factory helps you fix these pieces into various segments, making it easy to find, sort, edit, or remove them as you deem fit. 
  • Saves time: The app brings all writing processes into one big plan, saving you time.  
  • More productivity: With more time, you can focus on other pressing matters like book launches (such as described in this article from Scribe Media), marketing, and interviews. You can even prepare to write future novels. 

Best Features of Novel Factory

Novel Factory has a popular character builder and a vast library of templated plots in various genres that help you come off as a pro.

It’s also got a step-by-step guide for helping beginners learn how to write their novel.

novel factory roadmap

Here, we’ll highlight some of its best features.  

Intuitive User Interface 

Novel Factory includes an impressive user onboarding design that helps you start writing your first novel right away. 

writing software user interface

Organized and Dedicated Sections 

On Novel Factory, there’s a section for everything relating to the novel writing process, from blank pages to the final manuscript, often in a drag-and-drop format.

Each one has prompts to guide you through the required supporting data or what actions to take next – they’re like your writing guide for a good story. 

The layout is based on a 15-step process, each with its own dedicated section. For example, the first step is to write a premise based on five major story elements: character, situation, objective, opponent, and disaster.

premise of a story infographic

In this section, you decide on your character’s name, followed by the situation they find themselves in following the inciting incident.

Then, you state your character’s main objective in the story, followed by their main opponent or opposing force trying to prevent them from reaching that objective.

And lastly, you consider the disaster – or biggest challenge – the character must overcome at the climax of the story.

When you have all these elements figured out, you can summarize them into one or two sentences, giving you a brief overview of your whole story.

novel factory premise input

Each section follows this fundamental process, where you have the opportunity to add as much data as you wish to establish key components, such as an outline of the plot points, a character section, synopses, scene blocking (essentially a planning section for each chapter of your novel or each scene of your script), a locations section, subplots, and sections dedicated to specific drafts of your work.

The idea here is that by the time you dive into your first draft, you know your characters, conflicts, settings, and other vital elements inside and out.

This allows you to approach your writing work from a macro level to a micro level, focusing on the items you might have in mind going in and the ones you might not have yet considered.

Character Builder

Great stories begin with complex characters. In the Novel Factory, you can build your story’s characters using special sections filled with prompts and questionnaires. This helps you create the perfect image of each character.

There’s plenty of room to write about your character’s voice, personality, past, how they look, and more.

With the character questionnaires, you can work on one character or all of them at once. You can make detailed profiles for each character, describe how they look, and even add pictures or artwork for a quick visual reference.

character builder

There are interactive sections on backstory, personality, physical appearance, friends and family, past and future, love and relationships, conflict, work and education, hobbies, favorites, possessions, spirituality, values, daily life, and a selection of miscellaneous questions.

Typical questions include everything from “Are they optimistic or pessimistic?” to “What sort of clothes do they wear?” to “What past act are they most ashamed of?” to “If they could have a superpower, what would they choose?”

You can add lots of potential details to each character. The more you look into who your characters are via the character questionnaires, the better you’ll understand their choices, thoughts, and actions as your story unfolds.

And remember, don’t just put all your energy into your main character. Your supporting characters, antagonists, and villains are just as important. This feature allows you to give each one the care and consideration they demand to help you write a better story.

Plot Manager

You can take all the tiny bits of ideas and piece them together like a pro using the plot manager feature.

This feature helps you arrange the various parts of your plot arc in a simple drag-and-drop block style, leaving you with an otherwise watertight premise based on both the big picture and individual details.

It also allows you to move around each plot point to adjust the overall structure to suit your changing narrative.

storyboard plot manager

And since a story is more than just the main plot, it’s essential to consider your subplots.

While the main plot is the central driver of the story, the subplot(s) add color and depth by introducing layers and complexity, mainly through supporting characters and their direct or indirect connections to the main character.

Additionally, then, the subplot manager helps you dive even deeper, allowing you to map out your various subplots in just as much detail as the main plot while also showing a visual representation of how they tie into the overall storyline.

subplot manager

Put together, it’s a step-by-step guide to go from the blank page to an initial idea to an eventual final draft of a multi-layered story.

Plot Template

Don’t have a plot yet? Use the plot templates featuring several genres, from romance to horror, to map out your plot points with the appropriate story structure and kickstart your writing journey. 

Like the plot manager, this is done in an index card style. It helps you map out your plot from individual scene blocking to the big picture of your first manuscript.

plot templates

Location Builder

The Location Builder works a lot like the character builder. It lets you think critically about the settings of your story. You can make a list of important places in your story and use questionnaire prompts to add more details to each.

location builder

Sections include people, senses, landscapes, climate and weather, flora and fauna, population, governance and economics, education and employment, industries, conflict, family, social rules, food, art, religion, language, fashion, entertainment, science and technology, and even magic.

Typical questions include everything from population size and natural resources to “How long are the seasons?” to “Is there a class system?” to “How does it smell?” to “What is considered a rude gesture?”

This allows you to uncover details about your story’s world and settings that you may not have considered at first glance – such as each location’s natural, industrial, socio-economic, religious, and historical aspects.

Synchronized Data

Write from your PC, take notes with your phone, and finish up with your iPad – all your data is synchronized. You can log in from a web browser or use the desktop app with similar features and everything intact. 

As long as your internet connection is intact, you can sync your work across multiple devices over the cloud.

Saved History 

Novel Factory autosaves your work in the Turn Back Time feature. There, you can find and use previous versions of your work. This way, if you’re unsatisfied with your final draft (or any draft along the process), you can revert to a previous version with the click of a button. 

Progress Statistics 

This feature helps you learn about the project’s progress and keep track of how many words you’ve written, with breakdowns on word count by metrics like section or date. You can also spice up your writing journey by setting daily word count targets. 

I love this feature, as it helps keep me on track with my writing projects!

novel statistics

Export Your Project

While writing on Novel Factory can be fun, you can export your project and all data to a Microsoft Word doc in a few clicks. So, you’re not tied to the app if you ever need to take your work elsewhere. 

export novel

Who Should Use Novel Factory?

Novel Factory has several rich features to fit new and established novel writers. 

While new writers will find it valuable for putting the entire novel writing process together, an experienced writer might use this tool to save time and increase productivity. 

However, the software features are geared towards supporting more fictional writing. So, non-fiction writers would be better served by using a different book-writing software program such as Scrivener

I honestly think it’s best for beginning novelists, as more experienced writers will likely already have their own process for many of the character, world and plot-building templates and builders that Novel Factory includes.

Novel Factory Plans and Pricing

Novel Factory offers several plans on a monthly or yearly basis.

All features are included, with the ability to sync between the desktop and online web versions so you can work on the same file regardless of platform. 

The desktop version is only available on Windows-based computers, so Mac users must rely exclusively on the web-based version.

Monthly Plan 

There are three subscription packages in the monthly plan. You can subscribe to the basic, standard, or premium package. The only difference between them is the storage space and the potential number of novels you can write. 

monthly pricing for novel factory

You’re only allowed 50 MB of cloud storage and a single novel for the basic package. This costs $7.50 per month and is best if you’re starting as a writer, working on your first manuscript, or only interested in tackling a single novel at a time. 

The standard package costs $20 monthly and offers 500 MB of cloud storage. You can write unlimited novels on this plan within the storage limits. This is an excellent option for established writers working on multiple novels or a series of novels.

The premium package at $60 offers you over 5GB of cloud storage and unlimited novels within the storage limits. This is a more professional plan aimed at writers with a heavy novel or page count in mind. 

Yearly Plan 

The yearly plan offers the same packages as the monthly payment option. However, Novel Factory software offers you two months free for each package you order on the yearly plan – you pay for ten months instead of twelve. 

yearly pricing for novel factory

In other words, you pay: 

  • Basic package – costs $75/year and provides 50MB of cloud storage.
  • Standard package – costs $198/year and provides 500MB of cloud storage.
  • Premium package – costs $600/year and provides 5GB of cloud storage.

However, if you’re on the fence about the best options, you can use the 30-day free trial to test the online and desktop versions. It’s available on both a desktop app and an online version over the web. 

Novel Factory Pros and Cons

Novel Factory offers some of the best outlining features. However, there are still a few downsides to using it. In this section, we’ll discuss some of its pros and cons.

Novel Factory Pros

  • Detailed planners: The software features enough space to input as much detail as you want, especially in the setting and character development sections. There are also prompts with questions that help you to dive deep into these story elements. 
  • Work on the go: Work never stops – you can take it wherever you go, as long as there’s internet access. Log in with any of your devices and continue writing from where you stopped. 
  • Ready-made templates: There are templates on over nine different genres you can build on. And a subplot manager to take things further.
  • Track your successes: You can see milestones you’ve achieved, or word counts you’ve reached in the statistics section. 
  • Set Goals: Work gets better and fun when there are goals to score. Novel Factory allows you to set daily word count goals, measure your progress and efficiency, and keep your eyes on the finish line. 
  • Moderate Price: The cost of Novel Factory is fair for the tools you get. With $75, you can write your first novel, while with $200 or $600, you can create an unlimited number of novels all year round. 

Novel Factory offers several perks that push any novel from idea to polished manuscript. However, there are a few things worth considering. 

Novel Factory Cons

  • Not ideal for all types of writers: Novel Factory templates are best for fiction writers. Although you can download your template, non-fiction writers might not get the best out of it. The world-building section might not be detailed enough for some fantasy or science-fiction writers. 
  • It might be complex for some writers: Some writers may find the elaborate detailing complicated, especially in the character-building section, where there are over 280 questions for a single character. Although answering all the questions isn’t compulsory, seeing them can be discouraging for novice writers.
  • Compatibility: Mac users are limited to using only the online version, as currently, no desktop app is available for the OS. 
  • Limited import functionality: If you’ve already written a manuscript in a different program, there is limited functionality to import the entire document into Novel Factory. When you generate a new novel file, you have the option to import a file only from Word, Richtext, OpenOffice, or HTML. You also have to separate your manuscript into scenes (i.e., chapters) to fit into the structure set out by Novel Factory. Otherwise, if you’re currently writing on Google Docs or some other unsupported platform, the only solution is to generate scenes and copy and paste from the existing work into Novel Factory, which could be time-consuming, depending on the size of the work to be transferred.

The Novel Factory team continues to work on the software to ensure that it’s suitable for many writers and compatible with as many devices as possible. But there are several other options you can try out if you don’t find this a good match for your task. 

Novel Factory Alternatives

Here’s a list of some Novel Factory alternatives. 

  • Scrivener (better for non-fiction writers)
  • Sudowrite (better for creative writers who want AI assistance with their story)
  • Dabble (very easy to use)
  • Storyist (a similar alternative)
Novel Factory Review

Final Thoughts

Novel Factory can be a great writing tool for your stack if you need a place to organize your thoughts and plan your work.

It’s best for newer writers who still need help planning out their locations, characters, and plot-points. I think that most experienced creative writers will likely have their own processes for these already.

Beginning novelists and short story writers will get tons of value out of Novel Factory’s planning and organizing tools!

Common Questions (FAQs)

Is Novel Factory worth it?

Novel Factory has several impressive features suitable for new and experienced writers. Compared to other outlining apps with specific functions, it’s all-inclusive and can help you start and finish your writing in less time. It’s worth a try if you’re looking for a way to arrange your writing processes together and get things rolling fast.

Is Novel Factory free?

Novel Factory is only free for 30 days as a trial. You can use any of its features and choose between desktop and online versions. However, you’ll have to make some financial commitment to enjoy more. Currently, the desktop version is only available on PC, while the online version works across most platforms.

What do you get if you win NaNoWriMo?

If you win NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, you’ll receive several rewards. The main prize is the satisfaction and achievement of writing 50,000 words in a month. However, winners also get access to a range of perks, including:
Winner’s Certificate: A downloadable certificate to celebrate your accomplishment.
Winner’s Badges: Digital badges you can share on social media or your website.
Discounts on Writing Software: Offers and discounts from NaNoWriMo sponsors, which often include popular writing software and tools.
Access to Winner-Only Offers: These might include discounts on publishing services, writing courses, or other resources for writers.
Note that NaNoWriMo focuses more on the personal achievement of completing a writing challenge rather than offering physical prizes.

Interested in writing a novel? Check out these other fantastic articles!

Sudowrite Review: A Fantastic AI Fiction Writing Tool

The Best Writing Tools for Fiction Writers (Reviewed!)

The 75+ Best Gifts for Writers (For Every Budget)

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