The idea to make novelWriter came about because most good software i could find for fiction writing seemed to focus its development on Windows and MacOS. Even those that had once supported Linux, had decided to drop the support.

As a Linux user for many years, this was very disappointing to me, so I started making my own editor, the way I imagined I wanted it. At that time I had mostly fallen back on writing my novel projects in LibreOffice Writer. While it is an excellent word processor that I still use often, it lacked many features I was looking for. I wanted an editor where I could split everything up into chapters or scenes, and move them about as I wanted. I also wanted to have all my notes in the same place, and be able to cross-reference them in my text.

Thus the idea for novelWriter was born.

It took me three attempts between 2016 and 2018 to get something I felt was heading in the right direction. At the time, I was a PhD student at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland. My first two attempts at making an editor for fiction writing failed, so in 2018 when I started my post-doc at CERN, I ran into a PhD student who also liked to write fiction in his spare time. He got interested in my little project, so we spent many coffee and lunch breaks to sketch out the features we’d like to see in a novel editor.

The programming was more my area, so I did that, while my colleague did a lot of testing and gave me feedback on what did and didn’t work. After a while, more people got interested in my project and started providing feedback on my GitHub repository.

The rest is, as they say, history. More users brought more feedback, more ideas, more releases, and an increasingly better text editor.

While the project is somewhat limited by early design choices in terms of framework and programming language, it has been possible to grow and expand it. The scope of the editor has been deliberately keep narrow over the years. It is after all an editor designed specifically for writing novels and short fiction, and not anything else. This has made it possible to avoid feature bloat and keep improving on what it is designed to do.

novelWriter is still under active development, and I personally use it for all my writing projects. This is not likely to change any time soon. I hope you too find it useful, and my wish is that it will help writers focus on writing in the future.

– Veronica