Writing children’s books is a unique challenge. Book markets for young readers have very specific guidelines, often demanding more creativity and professionalism from authors even than the adult market does. Just as important as a brilliant and well-written story is a professional, polished presentation. There are many software programs to help with different steps of the writing process, from brainstorming and organizing to formatting the final product.
Book Writing Software
The Marshall Plan: Novel Writing Software. Created by literary agents Martha Jewett and Evan Marshall (also the author of "The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing"), this software creates a template in your word-processing program to guide the novel-writing process from genre choice and novel length to crafting characters by gender and age and writing the scenes necessary for your children’s novel.
New Novelist. This program helps organize thoughts, notes and ideas in one place to propel writers toward finishing a novel. It allows the flexibility to write the way you think, whether your novel idea is based on a scene, a character or a plot turn. You can even work backwards, writing your story from the end to the beginning.
WritePro. This program allows the children’s writer to focus on single passages or portions of a manuscript, clarifying them at the structure and language level to result in more vivid and entertaining prose. It provides a special focus on dialogue, language techniques, showing and not telling and even flashback organization. A unique feature of this program is its attention to crafting a title and writing a book description that will catch an editor’s interest.
Write It Now. This program organizes thoughts and ideas in a variety of formats to help the author create and visualize plot, character and other elements for a children’s book. Writing targets keep track of words written each day, and brainstorming tools in a variety of formats allow an author to think more creatively. Chapters and scenes can even be viewed and edited in a storyboard format.
Storybase 2.0. Offering thousands of creative writing prompts and suggestions, this software helps authors brainstorm ideas and focus those ideas to craft more logical stories. While it does not create templates for plot or storyline, this program may benefit those with writer’s block who need a fresh perspective.
Formatting and Editing Software
Wizards for Word: Authors. Modules of this program work within Microsoft Word to help authors format their manuscripts for a professional presentation. Children’s novelists will find the Dialogue Wizard helpful for streamlining character voices and dialects. Children’s nonfiction writers will benefit from tools to help standardize their manuscript’s formatting. The program numbers pages, formats a document according to style guides such as "The Chicago Manual of Style," and finds and corrects such problems as incorrect grammar or extra spaces between sentences and paragraphs. The program also contains a Query Letter Wizard for writing a synopsis and query letter to send to editors.
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