Hundreds of templates organized for writing Scenes, Sequels and Motivation-Reaction Units. Outline, character and location spreadsheets for organizing your stories and generating blueprints and drafts with one click each. Name generator (over 20 nations). Cliche and style checker. Rewrite sentences and dialogue with one click (styles include hard-sounding words, longer words, mellifluous words, more; accents include medieval, southern, Scottish, Valley girl, more). Easy to customize application colors. Export to Doc, ePub, Html, PDF or Text.
IdeaWordChef Novelist includes all the rewrite functionality of WordChef Student AND helps you outline and write a novel fast!
WordChef Novelist has 5 tabs: "Words", "Sentences", "Names", "Phrases" and "Novels".
The "Words" tab helps you find the right word.
You can look up definitions, synonyms and antonyms, of course, but you can also look up rhyming words; homophones (words that sound exactly alike such as "there", "their" and "they're"); hypernyms (what a thing is, e.g. a dog is a canine, a mammal, an animal, etc.); hyponyms (examples of a thing, e.g. Affenpinschers, Afghans and Airedales are dogs); and holonyms (things that have a certain part, e.g. tires are a part of airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, etc.); and meronyms (the parts of a thing, e.g. a flower has anther, petal, pistil, sepal, stamen, etc.). If you don't know how to spell a word, you could use the wildcards button (just put an asterisk where you're unsure of the letters). If you have letters that you'd like to unscramble to spell a word, such as for a game of Scrabble(c), use the unscramble button. And you can use the reverse dictionary to look up words whose definitions include the search words, e.g. looking up "curved blade" returns yataghan, trimmer, sickle, scythe, scimitar, saber, etc.
The "Sentences" tab lets you rewrite a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire scene or paper at the click of a button.
For example, if your original sentence is this: "The quick red fox jumped swiftly over the lazy brown dog and disappeared into the deep dark forest." then clicking the Alliteration button gives you this: "The fast ferruginous fox gamboled fleetly across the faineant fawn Canis familiaris and departed into the fathomless foggy forest" and clicking the Mellifluous button gives you this: "The lively coral fox sprang speedily across the indolent dark brown Canis familiaris and vamoosed into the fathomless dun wildwood." The rewrite choices include: alliteration, assonance, consonance, sibilance, big words, small words, alphabetically earlier words, alphabetically later words, hard-sounding words, soft-sounding words, pretty words, mellifluous words, rhythmic words and rhyming words.
Tip: You can give each character a distinct voice by writing their dialogue with a different button, e.g. maybe one character uses big words, one uses hard-sounding words, and another uses mellifluous words.
The "Phrases" tab contains both phrases and templates that you can use for writing scenes.
The phrases and templates are organized into several main categories: Animals, Body, Clothing, Fighting, Emotions, Eyes Face and Hair, Food and Drink, Landscapes, Memory, Personality, Questions and Said, Sex, Sleep, Smells and Sounds, Smiles, Voices, Weather and Time of Day. And there are numerous
sub-categories. For example, sub-categories of animals include: amphibians, birds, domestic cats, wild cats, dinosaurs, dogs, horses, mythological and snakes.
An example of a phrase, under Food and Drink -> Breakfasts, is this:
"a bowl of Cheerios floating in milk, topped with a sliced banana and a pound of sugar".
Templates are more complex.
Templates show one or more examples, then the template, and often list values that can be used to fill in the template.
For example, the "Weather" template has these examples: "The early January snowstorm stomped over the Sierras like an angry giant" and "The late summer rain caressed the fields like a generous lover."
The template looks like this: "The _early_mid_late _month_time _weather _verb the _location like _emotion _animal_or_occupation."
Notice all the "variables" that begin with "_" underscores, such as "_verb" and "_emotion".
To use the template, you replace the variables with values. For example, in this template, the suggested values for "_verb" include: attacked, Baptized, caressed, cooled, covered, crawled over, drenched, dried, flew over, froze, heated, hugged, lay over, pounced upon, ran over, rescued, sat upon, skipped over, smothered, steamed, stomped over, streamed over, stroked, thawed, threatened, touched, trod over, walked over, warmed
The idea is that you would double-click the value you want, press CTRL-C to copy that value, then double-click the variable to be replaced, and press CTRL-V to replace it. After all the variables in the template have been replaced, you click on the "Remove # Lines" button to get rid of all the comments and examples and sample values, leaving you with just the filled-in template.
The "Names" tab lets you find or generate character names.
For example, you could type "wolf" and click on "Search Boys' Names" and WordChef will display all the boys' names where wolf is part of the meaning, e.g. Adalwolf, Adolph, Bardalph, etc.
Or you can generate a name by clicking on either "Generate Boy's Name" or "Generate Girl's Name" and selecting a country. For example, if you chose
to generate a girl's name for Italy, you might get this:
Random girl's name: Abri Di Stefano
Alliterative girl's name: Arabella Amato
WordChef gives you two choices, one where the first and last names are randomly selected and another where they start with the same letter.
Both choices are randomly generated, so if you select to generate a girl's name for Italy again, you are likely to get two different names!
The list of "countries" includes: America, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hawaii, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Native America, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, and Vietnam.
The Outlines tab has six buttons: Start Here, Idea, Plot & Structure, Lists, Outline Spreadsheet, and Save Outline.
Start with "Start Here -> Instructions" for instructions on how to create a great outline, including character and location descriptions. In the instructions, you'll also find suggestions on choosing a title for your story.
Go to "Start Here -> Where To Get Ideas" to find out where to great story ideas.
After you have a story idea and title in mind, use "Start Here -> Create A Folder For Your Story" to create a folder for your story.
Now go to "Idea -> Author" to bring up a file where you record the title of your story, your name, email, phone number and address.
Then go to "Idea -> Genre" to pick the genre for your story. Selecting the genre will auto-populate the "Length" file with the suggested number of words for this genre. It will also tell WordChef which scenes to include when it generates a skeleton outline file.
Go to "Idea -> Query Letter" to bring up a form letter to fill out for a literary agent (good idea even if you intend to self-publish, to make sure your novel is something that other people will want to read).
From there, go to "Plot & Structure -> Plot." If you want to follow Randy Ingermanson's "Snowflake Method" for writing a novel, you'll bounce back and forth between the Outlines tab and the Characters tab. In any case, in the Plot menu item, you will: (1) write a 1-sentence plot summary of your story; (2) enlarge that to write a 1-paragraph plot summary; (3) enlarge that to create a 4-paragraph plot summary; and then (4) enlarge that to create a 4-page plot summary.
Next you'll select "Plot & Structure -> Throughline" to pick the type of ending for your story, e.g. happy ending, tragedy, tragicomedy, etc.
Now you select the Story Structure. For example, a Hero's Journey structure (as seen in Star Wars and Wizard of Oz) has different key scenes than in Romance stories. Selecting a Story Structure lets WordChef know which key scenes to include in your skeleton outline file.
Then you select a point-of-view for telling the story, either 1st or 3rd person.
Then you can specify how many words you expect to write for each scene. For example, if your novel length is supposed to be 100,000 words, a scene length of 1250 would mean you need to write 80 scenes. WordChef (a) uses this information to calculate the number of scenes required and (b) uses this information when generating an Outline skeleton.
From there you go to "Outline Spreadsheet -> New Outline" to generate the skeleton outline spreadsheet.
The outline spreadsheet has several columns.
The 1st column is labeled "Key Scene" and is filled in for the key scenes commonly found in the Story Structure that you selected.
The 2nd column is labeled "A,R" to indicate if this is an "Action" or a "Reaction" scene. Dwight Swain recommends alternating action scenes (what he calls simply "scenes") with reaction scenes (what he calls "sequels"). The idea is that every action scene ends in a disaster; the disaster leads the character to think over their choices and make a decision; and the decision leads to the goal of the next action scene; and so on. Every action scene has 3 parts: a goal, a conflict, and the disaster. Every reaction scene also has 3 parts: a reaction (to the disaster), a dilemma, and a decision. The last 32 columns are for you to write down each of these parts for each conflict or alternative for each scene.
But before you get to these columns, there are a few other columns up front to tell you about.
After the "A,R" column are columns for Day, Time Or Season, Location, Int./Ext., Weather, Point-Of-View, Dramatic Entrance, Traveling To, Set-up, and Goal (for action scenes) or Question (for reaction scenes).
If you start every scene with a Dramatic Entrance; follow that with the scene's Goal or Question; follow that with a series or conflicts (for action scenes) or consideration of alternatives where there is no completely good alternative (for reaction scenes); and end that with either a disaster or a decision; then, my friend, you will have written a page-turner, a story where the reader can't wait to turn the page to see what happens next!
The Characters tab has 3 buttons. The most important one is the Characters Spreadsheet button.
If you filled in the point-of-view character for each scene, then "Characters Spreadsheet -> Get Characters From Outline" will create a skeleton characters spreadsheet with each character's name on a separate line. Do this. It's quicker than looking up and typing the names and saves typos.
The columns are numbered and named.
If you're using Randy Ingermanson's "Snowflake Method" to write a story, the columns numbered from 1.1 through 1.15 roughly correspond to step #3 in that method; the columns numbered from 2.1 through 2.18 roughly correspond to step #5; and columns 3.1 through 3.10 roughly correspond to step #7.
Column "1.1 Role" is to indicate the role this character plays in the story. "Lists -> Roles" displays a list of character roles.
Columns 2.1 through 2.18 describe the character's physical appearance. Under "Lists" you'll see: Arm Shape, Body Shape, Eye Color, Eye Shape, etc. And, if you expand any of those, you'll see several choices (there are a lot of eye colors and shapes you may not have thought of)! Or, if you just want to see all these lists at one time, use "Lists -> Display Physical Attributes In Window." Do you have to use one of the suggestions in the lists? Heck no! These are just here to help you, to make things easier. You can use whatever values you want!
Later, in the Novels tab, when you generate a Blueprint, WordChef will use the characters' physical attributes to fill in some templates, such as the ones for emotions and feelings. So, back in the Outline tab, all you have to do is fill in the emotions and feelings in those columns for each scene, and WordChef will generate the words for you --- which, of course, you are free to use, change, replace, delete, or do whatever you'd like. It is, after all, YOUR story!
The Locations tab has 3 buttons. The most important one is the Locations Spreadsheet button.
If you filled in the location for each scene, then "Locations Spreadsheet -> Get Locations From Outline" will create a skeleton locations spreadsheet with each location on a separate line. Do this. It's quicker than looking up and typing the names and saves typos.
There are several columns here. The most important are See, Hear, Smell, Taste and Touch. The values you enter in these columns also are used in templates when WordChef generates a blueprint for your story.
The more common ways to write a novel are the pantser, plotter and snowflake methods, and all these methods are supported by WordChef.
In the pantser method, you start writing and let the characters tell you where the novel should go.
In the plotter method, the entire novel is carefully plotted and planned before it is written.
In the snowflake method, created by Randy Ingermanson, you start small, with a 1-sentence summary of the plot; you then expand that into a paragraph;
and then you bounce back and forth between the character descriptions and the plot, expanding on each as you go. Eventually you end up with complete,
detailed lists of all the scenes and characters in your novel. Then you begin writing your scenes.
So how do you write a scene?
Dwight Swain recommends alternating "Scene" scenes (what WordChef calls "Action" scenes) with "Sequel" scenes (what WordChef calls "Reaction" scenes). An "Action" scene has 3 parts: goal, conflict and disaster. The character has an initial goal, they get into a conflict, and the "Action" scene ends with a disaster. You follow this "Action" scene with a "Reaction" scene that also has 3 parts: a reaction (to the disaster of the previous scene), a dilemma, and a decision (which leads to the goal of the following "Action" scene).
But that's just the high-level view of how to write scenes.
At a lower-level, Dwight Swain recommends writing each scene using MRUs --- Motivation-Reaction Units.
The motivation is something external that the character perceives, e.g. "He felt the barrel of a gun against his back".
The reaction has 3 parts: a feeling, a reflex, and rational speech or action. The feeling is described, not told, e.g. instead of saying "He was outraged" you would write something like "Bill's eyeseight was blurred and blood raced through his limbs." You follow this with a reflexive action, e.g. "Bill raised his clenched fists." And you would follow this with some rational speech or action. You do not have to have all three parts (feeling, reflex, and rational speech/action) but you have to keep the parts in this order. And you write a series of MRUs for each scene. Nothing more, nothing less.
So how does WordChef help?
1. The 4th row of buttons on the Novels tab has "Motivations", "Feelings", "Reflexes" and "Speech & Action". Whoa! A row of buttons containing templates
to help you write MRUs!
2. At a higher level (umm, literally), the 2nd and 3rd rows of buttons include "Goals", "Conflicts" and "Disasters" --- yes, for "Action" scenes! --- and
"Reactions", "Dilemmas & Decisions" --- for "Reaction" scenes. You might notice a few extra buttons. I added "Entrances" because it's nice to get a character into a scene somehow. I added "Exits" because it's nice to have a way to end a "Reaction" scene other than just with a decision. And I added "Glimpse Of Face" because it's nice to see a character's face every so often.
3. At a higher-level still, the 1st row of buttons help you generate an idea for your novel (under "Start Here->Idea"); pick a story structure; plot (describe) some important scenes that your novel should have; keep detailed data files for characters and locations; generate a character arc; and
auto-generate an outline, blueprint and draft. If you're a pantser, you'll probably just ignore these buttons. If you like Randy Ingermanson's snowflake
method, you'll probably bounce back and forth, adding more and more detail to the character data files and to the outline and blueprint files. If you're
more of a plotter, you'll probably just use the buttons in the order they're shown.
Can you edit the outline to be however you want it to be?
Yes! I recommend it. This is your novel, after all. You should have it your way.
WordChef can also auto-generate a draft. You can list any of the templates on the 2nd-4th rows in the scenes in your blueprint. Then, when you click on "Outline, Blueprint, Draft -> Draft", the templates you listed will be inserted into your draft scenes. You'll need to update the templates to replace the variable with values, and then you'll have a rough draft!
There are other buttons on the "Novels" tab.
WordChef can rewrite the tense of the selected text, e.g. past perfect, future perfect continuous, etc.
WordChef can rewrite the pronouns, e.g. from he/him/his to she/she/her, etc.
WordChef can rewrite the style, e.g. to hard-sounding words, long words, assonance, consonance, etc.
WordChef can rewrite the accent, e.g. to English, Medieval, Southern, etc.
WordChef can check the status of your novel, including word count.
And WordChef can export your novel to Doc, ePub, HTML, PDF or Text.
WordChef can perform a style and cliche check.
WordChef can check the grade level, which might be useful if you're writing for middle-schoolers or some other age group.
And WordChef can encrypt and decrypt files, which could be useful for storing passwords in a file or sending an encrypted message; of course, the recipient would also need WordChef and you'd have to tell them the key to use to decrypt the message!