Today I’m reviewing Notebook AI, a world building site for writers, RPG players, and anyone else interested in creating a world.
Maybe some of you have heard of Notebook AI. If you haven’t, let me tell you more. (If you have, skip to the next paragraph for my review). Notebook AI is a website that allows you to create a world and detail it out there to keep everything organized. You are able to create individual universes, in which can live a myriad of different things. In the free version, you can add unlimited characters, including their look, nature, socialness, history, family, inventory, pictures, and notes. You can add unlimited locations and unlimited Items, all with a large list of descriptors to help you visualize and categorize these parts of your story. The premium version adds in other categories such as creatures, jobs, governments, magics, and other helpful world building tools. On top of that, you can write within the program or add documents. In the premium version, they are also working on an AI that analyzes your writing for readability, clarity, and themes.
Now, you may wonder if Notebook AI is worth it. In my opinion, YES!
PSA: The links I have included have a referral code (aka if you sign-up, I might get a small profit), but honestly, whether or not you click that or type it into google, I highly recommend this program. Seriously, if you have qualms about referrals, check it out yourself and sign up for the free version. I recommend this on its merits alone. Read below for the pros AND the cons of it. (I like to try to see both sides).
I began with the free version months ago and I felt like I got a chance to learn about my characters more in depth. They have numerous promptings under each category and I feel like I gained the ability to create a much more rounded character. And one that I can remember later while I’m writing. For a long time, I had a word document with each character listed out and a long blob of text to describe them. Every time I needed a small detail, I’d stop and read for five minutes, completely interrupting my flow. This fleshes it out and makes the information easy to access.
The ease of access is the second reason I would recommend it. It is organized well. You can get to each of your characters, locations, etc easily, it’s user friendly, and it encourages you to keep adding things from the home page. It has been phenomenal having everything in one place where I can quickly jump to. “What color was his hair?” “Was that scar on the right cheek or the left?” “Did that pommel have rubies or sapphires?” I have those answers and I didn’t spend twenty minutes searching my story to get them.
Another great feature, which I mentioned above in my description, is the writing portion. You can upload documents and write on them right in the program. And for premium users, you’re able to have an AI analyze it for you. I learned how many times each character’s name appeared, who the story seemed to focus on, the themes it could see. And this is still being tested so it isn’t perfect but it gave me a good outside perspective of my story that I sometimes have a hard time getting elsewhere. Who else is going to tell me that the current emotion felt most often by my characters is sadness? It also let me know the readability of my story by age range which was helpful to gauge my audience when I begin to look towards publishing.
Finally, in the same writing section is a feature called ‘prompts’. You can go to that and it’ll just prompt you to answer more questions about the world you’ve already built. “Who was Amel’s father?” “What year was Callaway City founded?” These things that you may not have had an answer to right when you created it but you can now think about and create. It’s a really fun way to spend an hour, just beefing up your story. (For me, it tends to be a killer way to get past writer’s block while staying in the story).
As with every program, this one isn’t perfect though. There are a few flaws that I’ve noticed and I don’t want you to go in blind. First, creating multiple universes is easy (five in free version and unlimited in premium) but it can sometimes get confusing. Each character, location, item, etc is tagged with a certain universe. But when you go look at the ‘Character’ sheet, it doesn’t automatically sort that out for you. Each section helpfully allows you to search by universe and other tags. But you have to choose to sort or otherwise you just get one long list of every character in every universe. A few of my characters have accidentally made jumps from one to another because I wasn’t paying enough attention.
Second, some of the really cool features are premium features. The extra world building pages (creatures was the one I really wanted) are all premium. Free does give you unlimited characters, locations, and items, which sustained me for many months and through a lot of short stories. But I finally did have to bite the bullet and go to premium for the extra content. The AI function is also a premium feature which wasn’t really in my original consideration, but I have loved since discovering.
The plus side of premium is that it is only between $7-$9 a month (depending on if you’re billed monthly or yearly). Seriously, you can skip two lattes a month and be able to enhance your worlds. Completely worth it to me (and I really love lattes).
So, to sum everything up, I recommend Notebook AI. It is a helpful tool for writers to assist as you build, maintain, and add vibrancy to your stories. It has been revolutionary in my writing!
Sign up here if you’re ready to try out Notebook AI for yourself.
If I missed any pros or cons, please let me know. Again, the links are referrals for me (so if you like this review, I would ask you use them) but if they throw you off at all, check it out for yourself and enjoy the more vibrant world you’ll get because of it!
Is your story one blob of text that looks daunting to the most enthusiastic reader?
Here are the times when you should make a new paragraph:
- When someone new is speaking.
- After dialogue before action that is not directly related to the speaker.
- When a new person arrives
- When the setting changes
- When you introduce a new idea or thought
- When the time changes
- When your paragraph is getting lengthy.
Are there any more you would include? Add it in the comments!
“I can’t handle it anymore!”
“We’ve been walking for five minutes.”
“I know, it’s terrible!”
Any stories from this prompt submitted using my contacts page have a chance to be published on my site with a link to your page. Have fun writing!
We’ve all been there. The best novel idea is bouncing around in your head and you’re staring at a blank piece of paper, trying to figure how to break the ice and start putting words to paper.
Oh, that feeling is rough. It’s like, “C’mon, I’ve got gold in here, I just need that first sentence to really kill it.”
Well, let me tell you. You will rewrite that sentence. Now, I would recommend doing it later instead of six million times before you even start. You’ll lose that golden idea you’ve got before you finally put that last punctuation on your sentence, trust me. So, I’ve come up with some tips to help combat that. These tips are things I’ve used (or learned the hard way that I should have).
- Write the most cliche thing ever.
You will rewrite this later in your editing phase, so sometimes I start out with something like “Once upon a time” or “It was a dark and stormy night”. It lets my mind move past it but it also sounds kind of right (thanks Disney) so that you won’t keep worrying over it.
- Skip the first page all together.
I know, this one sounds a bit strange. But jump right into the middle of a scene. Keep it near the beginning, but craft the scene bouncing around your brain rather than forcing yourself into one that isn’t there yet. Act as if you already have those entry scenes. This gets you into the action fast.
- Tell us the ending.
This only works in some novels, so use it cautiously. But, telling your reader the ending with the very first sentence brings in this tension throughout the whole novel of how we get there. Many novels have done this well, starting with something like “This is the story of how I died” or “This is how I ended up becoming queen.” But remember, it adds suspense throughout which means no big reveal later. Weigh the options.
- Tell someone about it
Things tend to come more naturally when talking so get with someone you don’t mind giving a brief overview of your story. Explain the premise and then ask yourself and answer to them “So, how did all this begin?” See what flows out and tweak that.
- Don’t procrastinate
This is the most generic bit of advice but the most important one. A lot of people, myself included, try to nail that first sentence and never get anywhere else with their story. Put something, anything down and move on. If you start researching or brainstorming and it just begins to take away from your story, you’ve hit the danger zone. Remember, this is a first draft. You can perfect later.
I’ve been writing for years, so the idea of teaching myself the habit of writing seemed ridiculous. But, that is currently the dilemma I’m facing. As any author knows, writing changes over your lifetime. There are times where you can sit down and write for eight hours straight. And then there’s times where you fit in five minutes every week.
I’m getting off a season of life that was the latter. I went from stealing away time to having almost two hours every day and more to write.
And suddenly, my fingers froze.
Do you know that feeling? It’s not quite writer’s block. I know what I want to write and even, shockingly, how to start. But diving in, immersing myself, feeling the keys beneath my fingers and letting myself sit in the world I create is intimidating.
So I’ve been slowly learning to write again. It starts with just a little bit. A page, a paragraph. I even reread the last few pages I wrote just to ground myself, whatever helps ease me in. I sit down, limit my distractions, and write. Write even when my brain is jumping to the list of chores I still need to do or what I want to pack for lunch or how loud the neighbor’s lawn mower is this morning (which is very, in case you’re wondering). I write even when it’s hard. Because deep down, I know that writing is my passion. My husband can attest, I will go on and on about my characters and my world. I love it.
And yet, I’m relearning it. Teaching myself to put in the time, put the effort in. I have a cup of coffee, some wordless music, and I write. And, word by word, I’m learning how to write again.
Have any of you felt like this? Do you have any tips or tricks that help when writing becomes hard or it’s just too easy to get distracted? Let me know in the comments, I would love to try them out!
Thanks for reading!