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Writers' software bookshelf


Writers’ Software

Reviews of the software which is available to help writers

There are a number of software packages to help writers. We will be reviewing these and would welcome any contributions from users. For those interested in scriptwriting or poetry, there will be separate listings. Scriptwriting (for film, radio and the theatre) is particularly well supported by software packages using specialised word-processing packages which respect the presentation conventions of a script.

Software which helps with finding a name

Muse names


Muse Names

Muse Creations



Muse - screenshot










"What’s in a name?"

Anyone who has spent, I nearly said wasted, weeks of their life struggling to name an unborn infant knows how time-consuming it can be. Help is at hand, especially if your ‘baby’ happens to be a story set in ancient Abyssinia, Shakespearian England or modern suburbia. Muse Names has the answer.

The package claims to have 40,000 names classified by country or cultural origin. What turns a long list into a powerful tool for writers is the way it selects a name to match a key word. If you want a name that is warm there are hundreds. To name an aggressive character you might find your choice constrained to Gaelic or Irish. If you want a brave Ukrainian character just ask and you have four to choose from.

You can search one or all of the data sets by name or meaning. You can choose the gender and a few other search parameters. If you conceived a character to be known by their nickname, you can type it in, set the gender, select the ‘contains’ button and see if the name fits any of the known names. This Muse is wonderful food for your creativity.

With each name you get an etymological brief and some numerology, plus New Age insight. The ‘Expression number’ gives ‘the outward expression of an individual's personality’ while the ‘Soul urge’ attempts to predict the nature of the character. If you want to explore this concept further, try:

The help system was informative and worth exploring as it explains the naming conventions of other cultures. On the negative side, Africa might be too broad a category, but the names are localised in the database and a database of previous bibliographic appearances would have been informative, but this is nit-picking. The price tag of $79 also seemed a bit steep for a simple tool but there is no competition.

It is a pleasure to find a small package that behaves itself. It installed and, after the review, uninstalled itself cleanly. The commands were all intuitive and the response was quick, even on the clunky machine reserved for reviews. As a bit of a nerd myself, I detected the welcome signs of quality software supporting this product.

Writing reviews is not my favourite occupation. My views on than half of the products I have reviewed are unprintable they and end up in the bin. But this was fun. Fun to install, fun to use and fun to discover those new slants on familiar and new names. Don’t just download ‘Muse Names’, cough up the $79 fee for your own copy.

The software comes from Muse Creations Inc.



© Charles Jones 2003

Visit WritersBookstall

provides a database of 40,000 names for you to browse through.

Software which helps with the plotting

How the packages work

None of the software will actually write a word for you. What they do is provide a framework and prompts to suit the genre and style you have set.

The software is only a tool. In the hands of a craftsman, it improves quality and productivity. Even a novice will benefit from the power provided by the software. The tool does not replace the skill or imagination of the user, but it does enhance it.

The packages are not listed in any order of cost or preference. Reviews will be added as they are received.

  • Our first review is of the package called newnovelist. 'after describing the characters, the places and setting you have a wonderfully clear and detailed outline' is what our reviewer said.
    This offers a free download and 30-day trial. Tool for managing data, so might suit non-fiction projects which involve compiling history, or scientific works.
  • StoryCraft 4.3 uses The Jarvis Method, one of the standard fiction models, to help you construct your story. Good online preview so you can see if it suits you.


Specialist tools (and see freebies below)

  • The writer, which is about the business of writing, has a set of courses and some demonstration
  • StyleWriter checks word-processed documents against 35,000+ language problems and offers ways of clarifying the style.
  • Style software ideal for larger organisations where a corporate style is required but has applications in smaller projects.


Index Creation Software

This shows how CEDEX, SkyIndex and Macrex can help you put your index together.



Not all software is aimed at the creative end. If you want to make a living you need to keep track of your work and who it is going to. From commissioning to paycheck will probably be months, so some tools to help you keep track might be useful.




Scriptwriting Software

A look at the Scriptwriting Software which is available on the market and where you can find it on the web.