February 9, 2018

February 9, 2018

During November, I got the chance to try out Novlr for thirty days. This was not any sort of paid promotion, they were simply running a special that extended the two-week free trial period through all of National Novel Writing Month.

This was my first experience with a program specifically devoted to novel writing. Up until this point, I'd solely used Word for writing (well, aside from the dark ages when I used my Mom's ancient typewriter), so I can't really hold it up against any other noveling programs, but I did want to sit down and write out my pros and cons so that anyone else wondering about this program can make a more informed decision. You'll note that there are more pros than cons. I really did like the program, though I did stop using it for reasons I'll get into a little further down.

Pros:

  • Novlr is a web-based system and you can access it from any computer. This was especially helpful to me since my laptop died and I've been exiled me to a Google Chromebook. (I am very, very grateful to have this computer, don't get me wrong, but I can't use any of my old programs.) Novlr does allow you write offline, but there's no downloading or compatibility to worry about.
  • I really like the organization system. You have a drop-down menu for your different novels (projects) and you can add to them as new ideas hit you. All your chapters and notes are accessible through a menu on the left that can be hidden if you desire.  Not needing to switch between different files, as you do with both Word and Google Docs, is very convenient. And because it automatically saves things, you don't have to worry about losing data if you go from Chapter Seven back to Chapter Three and then to your notes on Character G.
  • Word count is displayed in the bottom right-hand corner. And it keeps track of not just your words in each chapter, but the words in that novel and the number of words you've written across all novels that day.
  • The stats page is something else. Hitting certain numbers and keeping track of data is a huge motivation for me, so this was almost (see my cons) one of my favorite things about this program. It keeps track of the normal ones, like words per day, per month, per year, but it also keeps track of when you usually write and the average number of words you write per day and the number of hours you've written.
  • Along the same vein, each novel has its own stats page which details stuff like words, chapters, when you started working on it, and how many words you've written in the last day, month, and year. Once again, super good for someone like me who gets really excited keeping track of those kinds of numbers.
  • They allow you to set and keep track of goals in the program. No need for a separate spreadsheet, Novlr does it for you.
  • Lots of useful features. I didn't really explore many of these since my main focus was hitting my word count, but comparing it to the features listed for Scrivenr, they're close and getting closer. They have a list of fantastic features that they either offer or they're working on.


Cons:

  • There isn't a mobile app yet. I believe they are working on this though, so I'd double check to see if that's changed.
  • The daily writing stats don't keep track of anything that is pasted in. They do still show up in your overall novel word count, but it won't influence any of the other stats. I contacted Novlr and they explained why they chose to do things this way, but for it just doesn't for the way I write. Most of my writing happens in a program called Write or Die (it's fantastic, you should look it up) and the fact that there are a timer and a status bar keeping track as I write is a HUGE motivator for me. I was writing hundreds and thousands of words a day that weren't getting counted in my overall stats. I know this mainly a me thing and most people won't have an issue with this, but I did. This was the main reason I stopped using Novlr, it just wasn't made for the way I write.
  • Price. Now, I have to say, the price is pretty reasonable. You can choose from two options: $10 a month or $100 a year. It's not as cost-effective as a program that charges a single one time fee, but it's not a huge challenge to pay. However, for me, considering my writing process and my disinterest in the features, the cost wasn't worth it to me.
  • There's was some weird formatting when I pasted my work back into my Google Docs at the end of my trial. But that might have just been me.

All in all, I did like the program. If I were to rate it like one of my books, I'd give it a 4 out of 5 stars. Honestly, the only reason I stopped using Novlr was that I use sprint programs like Write Or Die to write literally everything. Now, if they were to add a sprint feature similar to WoD, I would probably find a way to pay that $10, so I'll keep an eye out.

If Novlr sounds like something you'd be interested in you can check it out here. Again, this is not sponsored and I am no affiliated them in any way. I just had some thoughts.

Feel free to chime in below if you've used Novlr or any similar programs. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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