Category: novel writing software

How to Master Character Creation in 7 Simple Steps

How to Master Character Creation in 7 Simple Steps

Characters are the engine of every story.

Quite often, indeed, they live longer than the story itself. How many of you happened to remember perfectly the characters of a novel read many years ago and not remember the plot at all?

Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

For this reason, it is very important to understand how to master character creation: here’s how to do it in 7 easy steps.

Step 1: download bibisco, your character creation program

Since the creation of the characters is essential, it’s necessary to have the right program that will help you in this task.

bibisco is a novel writing software focused on character creation.

Our vision is that characters are the driving force of any novel. So bibisco is packed with tools designed specifically for character creation.

bibisco is a desktop application for Linux, Mac, Windows. It’s available in 14 languages: Czech, Dutch, French, German, English, Italian, Polish, Portuguese (for both Brazil and Portugal), Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Turkish.

You can download bibisco from the official website: https://bibisco.com.

Step 2: create your project

Once bibisco is installed, it’s time to create your project.

Choose the title (you can always change it later), register yourself as the author, select the language and you are ready to go!

create a project in bibisco
How to Master Character Creation in 7 Simple Steps
create a project in bibisco

Step 3: create your first character

It’s time to create your first character!

bibisco divides the characters into two groups: the main characters and the secondary characters.

characters' section in bibisco
How to Master Character Creation in 7 Simple Steps
characters’ section in bibisco

Each main character has a conflict, the driving force of the story. Secondary characters instead don’t have a conflict, but they are useful for the development of the story.

In this tutorial we focus on the creation of the main characters: let’s create the first one by assigning it a name.

Step 4: get to know the character in depth

This is certainly the most important step.

All the great characters in the stories have one thing in common: they are believable.

Characters who are either completely good or completely bad are stereotypes and therefore not believable.

What makes a positive character interesting and believable is discovering their dark side. What makes us empathetic with an evil character is knowing that before they became who they is, they was a sweet and generous person.

So, how then can we create interesting characters? Knowing them thoroughly, so that it emerges their human nature, with strengths, weaknesses, contradictions.


bibisco offers an innovative, simple and fun way to get to know the characters: by interviewing them!

Character's interview in bibisco
How to Master Character Creation in 7 Simple Steps
Character’s interview in bibisco

Through 138 questions divided into 6 sections (personal data, physical features, behaviors and attitudes, psychology, ideas and passions, sociology) we can know everything about our characters.

Main character's section in bibisco
How to Master Character Creation in 7 Simple Steps
Main character’s section in bibisco

It’s also possible to enrich the knowledge of a character by associating images with it. One of the images can be selected as profile picture.

The associated images and the profile picture can be used as a source of inspiration while building the character or later when writing the story.

Character's images visible while writing in bibisco
How to Master Character Creation in 7 Simple Steps
Character’s images visible while writing in bibisco

Step 5: get to know the story of the character before the story’s beginning

The way of being of each of us, in every moment of our life, is determined by our character and by the experiences we have lived up to that moment.

For this reason, bibisco provides two tools for knowing the character’s life before the story begins.

The first tool is a dedicated section in which to describe the childhood, adolescence, school and professional life of a character up to the moment of the beginning of the story.

The second tool is a section in which to indicate the significant events of the character’s life, with dates and descriptions.

Character's event section in bibisco
How to Master Character Creation in 7 Simple Steps
Character’s event section in bibisco

The events indicated in this section will then be merged into the novel’s general timeline.

Step 6: define the conflict of the character

As we discussed in detail in a previous post: no conflict, no novel!

Every main character has a conflict: a dream to be realized, a reaction to an external event, an inner need.

The conflict leads the character to action and thus to start the story.

bibisco has a dedicated section in which to describe the character’s conflict.

Character's conflict section in bibisco
How to Master Character Creation in 7 Simple Steps
Character’s conflict section in bibisco

Step 7: define the evolution of the characters

Every story is the story of a change in the condition of things and the evolution of the characters during this process.

And the evolution of the characters is the most interesting aspect because it’s what excites, inspires or upsets us. It’s what we’ll remember when we forget the plot.

As discussed in a previous post, every author should always ask himself: can my readers see themselves in my characters?

bibisco has a dedicated section in which to describe the character’s evolution during the story.

Character's evolution section in bibisco
How to Master Character Creation in 7 Simple Steps
Character’s evolution section in bibisco

Conclusion

This is how to master character creation in 7 Simple Steps.

Now it’s your turn! Download bibisco now and start creating characters your readers won’t forget.

What’s new in bibisco 2.3?

What’s new in bibisco 2.3?

A new version of bibisco is here. So, let’s take a look at what’s new in bibisco 2.3!

Before diving into the new features of our favorite novel writing software, I would like to point out two things that are particularly important to me:

  • All the new features come from suggestions and ideas from users. So if you have new ideas for features you would like to see implemented write to info@bibisco.com. I will certainly evaluate them!
  • When the new version was announced, I received many messages of congratulations and affection. This is the greatest satisfaction for me.

OK, let’s get started!

Profile image management

In this version of bibisco (Supporters Edition only), it’s possible to associate a profile picture to characters, places and objects.

What's new in bibisco 2.3?Characters' profile picture
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
Characters’ profile picture

The profile picture will always be visible when working on a character, location or object.

What's new in bibisco 2.3?
Main character's section
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
Main character’s section

Events

I think this new feature (Supporters Edition only) is particularly interesting. It allows us to associate events with characters, locations, objects or the setting.

What's new in bibisco 2.3?
Character's event
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
Character’s event

We can trace the important events in a character‘s life; his birth, the beginning of high school, the move to another city. For a location, we can instead trace the events that are important for our novel; the construction of a skyscraper, an earthquake, a riot. The same thing can be done for an object: the date of its invention, the first time it was used. Of course, this feature is very useful when applied to the setting, especially if we are writing a historical novel.

All created events are integrated into the timeline. In this way, it’s possible to have a global vision of all the important events of the novel; both those described in the scenes and those not.

Prologue, epilogue and parts of the project

It’s now possible (Supporters Edition only) to manage prologue and epilogue.

What's new in bibisco 2.3?
Parts management
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
Parts management

And we can divide our novel in parts.

Unlimited notes

This is certainly the most requested feature by users!

From this version of bibisco (Supporters Edition only), you can add unlimited notes in the new Notes section.

What's new in bibisco 2.3?
Notes section
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
Notes section

For each note it is possible to associate, in addition to the text, unlimited notes.

Export selection

Sometimes we want to export just a chapter or a character sheet instead of the whole novel. With version 2.3 (Supporters Edition only) of bibisco it’s now possible.

What's new in bibisco 2.3?
Export selection
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
Export selection

You can export:

  • Novel and project
  • Only novel
  • Only project
  • Chapter
  • Character
  • Location
  • Object
  • Note
  • Architecture
  • Narrative strands
  • Timeline

Objects’ analysis

The analysis section has been expanded (Supporters Edition only) with the objectsanalysis as well.

What's new in bibisco 2.3?
Objects' analysis
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
Objects’ analysis

Timeline: export and day of week

Version 2.3 of bibisco also presents interesting new features for the Timeline.

It’s now possible to export the Timeline to PDF, DOCX and TXT.

Timeline
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
Timeline

In addition, the day of the week is also shown in the timeline.

Automatic backup

The new automatic backup function makes backups of the project you are working on at regular intervals and each time you exit the project.

By default, bibisco:

  • makes an automatic backup each time you exit the project, both when you close bibisco and exit the project without closing bibisco.
  • makes an automatic backup if there are any changes in the project and 2 hours have passed since the last backup.
  • keeps a maximum of 10 backup files for a single project in the backup directory. When the maximum number of backups is exceeded, the oldest backup file is deleted.

You can always change these defaults from the settings:

Automatic backup settings
Automatic backup settings

The automatic backup feature increases safety in bibisco project management. To learn more about this topic take a look here.

Direct navigation between scenes and character interview’s sections

Some users have complained that it’s a bit cumbersome to switch from one scene to another. Or from one section of the character interview to another.

Direct navigation between scenes
Direct navigation between scenes

Starting from this version of bibisco, it’s possible the direct navigation between one scene and the next and between the various sections of the character’s interview.

Slovenian translation

Thanks to Tatjana Prelog, bibisco is now available also in Slovenian!

Slovenian translation
Slovenian translation

Minor changes

And finally, here are some minor changes in the new version:

  • In English version introduced the singular they in place of the form he/she.
  • Add words to the dictionary also for Windows and Linux.
  • Increased the scenes’ area in the detail of the chapter

Conclusion

After a year of work, here is the new version of bibisco 2.3.

It has been a long journey but I’m really happy because I think bibisco can help writers even better to write their novel.

So what are you waiting for? Download and try the new version bibisco!

PS: If you need information about the update from a previous version read here.

You can not please everyone. Who you are writing for?

You can not please everyone. Who you are writing for?

The key to successful writing is to understand who you are writing for.

If you are interested in writing, it’s not enough for you to have a vivid imagination and time to put words to paper.

You can start by letting your ideas pool and then create a storyline that you can work with. But, in order to successfully do this, you need to consider who you are writing for.

There’s a big difference between the style of the Harry Potter series and the Da Vinci Code. The difference isn’t in the writer or even defined by the genre, it’s in who the target audience is.

Understanding who will be reading your novel ensures you create a story that they will enjoy reading. This approach ensures you are aware of the most appropriate writing style to keep your reader engaged.

The Message

Once you’ve established your target audience, you need to answer this question: what message are you conveying?

There’s a big difference between creating a factual story and a fictional one. A factual story revolves around the facts, your aim is to tell the story compellingly but stay true to the facts. A fictional story gives you a license to write almost anything. But this is where writers often lose focus.

That’s why you need to establish a core message first.

Are you writing about love? Perhaps you’re looking at your vision of the future, or want to write a classic action hero story.

Your message can even be a feeling that you want to convey, such as awe, or even to make people feel connected.

You must know what your message is before you start writing. This will ensure your writing stays true to your message.

When you know the message you’ll find it easier to write and you’ll know exactly who you are writing to.

It’s more than just a genre of people, knowing your message allows you to visualize your readers, enabling you to write to them as though they are friends.

Choosing The Tone

Once you’ve established your target audience and your message you’re going to need to consider the tone.

In some cases, this is defined by your message.

For example, if you’re looking to write a historical romance then the style of writing is already dictated by the speech patterns of that era.

But, a modern romance has a very different tone, as does a futuristic thriller or love story.

Alongside this, you need to define what point of view you intend to adopt. Are you writing as the main protagonist or as an innocent bystander? You need to define what perspective you’re adopting to ensure you maintain this throughout the novel.

How bibisco can help

bibisco is especially helpful at this stage.

It has a premise tab that enables you to define the purpose of your novel in one sentence. That’s your message.

You can not please everyone. Who you are writing for? - bibisco premise card
bibisco premise card

bibisco also offers the opportunity to define the conflict within your novel. By interviewing the characters, you can get to know them thoroughly and identify the central issues to be resolved in the novel.

You can not please everyone. Who you are writing for? - bibisco character’s interview
bibisco character’s interview

Conclusion

Successfully writing a novel requires you to define who you are writing for.

This creates the definition of the novel and the direction.

These are the two most important elements and it’s worth taking your time working these out.

With them done properly, the art of writing is surprisingly simple, you simply need the right novel writing software to support your ideas.

You can’t please everyone, but you aim to please yourself and your intended audience, bibisco can help you achieve this.

Does your novel writing software analyze your novel?

Does your novel writing software analyze your novel?

Do you know how many times your characters meet each other? Do you know where the main character meets his lover for the first time?

This is the novel analysis and it’s really useful to have a clear vision of how our novel is structured.

So, does your novel writing software helps you to analyze your novel?

Novel analysis with bibisco

When I designed bibisco, I first wanted to include the features for the study of the character and the definition of their conflict.

But then I wanted to insert a feature that I have not found in other novel planning software: the tools to analyze the novel.

Let’s take a look at the analytics features offered by bibisco.

Chapters’ length

Does your novel writing software analyze your novel? - bibisco's chapters length analysis
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s chapters’ length analysis

In this analysis, it’s possible to observe the length of each chapter and compare it with the others.

You can analyze if the length of the chapters is homogeneous in the novel and if there are chapters that are much longer or much shorter than the others.

Characters’ distribution

Does your novel writing software analyze your novel? - bibisco's characters' distribution analysis
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s characters’ distribution analysis

This analysis is particularly appreciated by users of bibisco, because it allows analyzing the presence of the characters within the novel.

It also allows observing the distribution of the presence of the characters between the chapters.

Some characters may be present only at the beginning of the novel, others only at the end. Generally, the protagonists have a constant presence throughout the novel. If a character doesn’t show up for half a novel, that becomes immediately apparent.

Furthermore, through this analysis, it is possible to find out at a glance when two characters are present in the same chapter.

Locations and Narrative Strands’ distribution

In addition to the distribution of the characters, bibisco also allows us to analyze the distribution of locations.

bibisco's locations' distribution analysis
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s locations’ distribution analysis

And the distribution of narrative strands.

bibisco's narrative strands' distribution analysis
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s narrative strands’ distribution analysis

Characters’ list of appearances

bibisco's characters' list of appearances
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s characters’ list of appearances

This analysis, for each character, provides the list of all their appearances in the novel in chronological order.

For each apparition you can find:

  • date and time of the apparition
  • location
  • scene
  • chapter

This is extremely useful for ensuring consistency (How can this character be in Dublin when he was in Sydney an hour earlier?), especially for very long novels with a lot of characters.

Use of points of view

Does your novel writing software analyze your novel? - bibisco's use of points of view
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s use of points of view

In this analysis, the writer can study the use of points of view in the novel.

Was the use consistent? From the point of view of which characters was the story told?

This knowledge is particularly important because every story changes according to the point of view of the teller.

Tag your scene and bibisco do the magic

bibisco automatically generates the analyses illustrated in this article.

The writer simply has to tag each scene with the characters that appear, the location and time in which it takes place, the point of view used, the narrative strand to which it belongs.

bibisco's scene tags
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s scene tags

Conclusion

A good novel writing software must help the writer not only to write the novel but also to analyze it.

bibisco offers deep analysis and at-a-glance infographics detail about chapters’ length and how characters, locations, points of view and narrative strands are distributed chronologically and across chapters.

This means you can easily see where things happen in your novel.

Such information could be invaluable for preventing inconsistencies and, ultimately, understand the structure of your novel.

Are your characters people or stereotypes?

Are your characters people or stereotypes?

Harry Potter, Tom Sawyer, Princess Leia, Romeo and Juliet.

If you are an aspiring writer or an avid reader, you know the abovementioned names aren’t of any ordinary people. They are the protagonists, the main characters of some of the greatest novels of all time.

See, how swiftly you recognized them! As if they were your best companions for a long time. And trust me, they were.

Characters are key to a memorable story

When we read a story or a novel, oftentimes, it’s the characters that we remember the most; not the plot or the conflict. After all, it’s the characters that make a story humane; taking us on a dreamlike journey with their merits, contradictions, flaws, etc.

As a result, if you are writing a novel, the success of it is not going to depend on which novel writing software you are using. But it is certainly going to depend largely on the believability of your characters.

The more humane and real they are with both the perfections and the flaws; the more chance they have got to be genuine and to rise above the generic stereotypes.

Give your characters a unique life of their own

To avoid falling into the trap of stereotypes, the most practical way for writers is to begin with giving characters a life of their own.

Where they were born? How old are they? How do they look like? What relationship do they have with their father? And with the mother? Asking all these questions would gradually give your characters a basic structure.

However, it may also make your characters feel very generic. I mean, you don’t remember Harry Potter just because of how he looked like or where he was born, do you?

Help your characters surprise you

As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and simple-hearted than we supposed. And we ourselves are, too.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

People are not as simple and straightforward as non-living things. We are a delicate mix of good and bad, novelty and flaws, selfishness and selflessness, sensitivity and insensitivity, and so on at the same time.

So, your characters shouldn’t be all perfect and rigid. Rather, they should be as surprising and multi-dimensional as the real people.

Utilize a novel planning software like bibisco

bibisco – an innovative novel planning software – offers an exciting feature to dive deep into the complexity of human nature, helping you to create your characters as people and not as stereotypes.

With a set of difficult questions, bibisco guides you to find out information about your characters that don’t easily meet the eyes.

Are your characters people or stereotypes? - bibisco character's dashboard
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s dashboard

For example, it’s easy to answer whether your character is brave or not. But it’s certainly not easy to answer how is the relationship with their father? Or how do they react to successes and failures? By asking a series of such questions, bibisco would force you to think elaborately about your characters and go beyond the realm of your novel.

Are your characters people or stereotypes? - bibisco character's interview
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s interview

Eventually, these thoughts and imaginations would shape the ways your characters would be behaving in the particular instances of your story, making them real and not just a stereotype.

Conclusion

While there is no story without conflicts, there is no conflict that the readers would actually care about without real and believable characters. So, make sure your characters represent actual people with all the complexity before giving them challenges to solve.

A novel writing software like bibisco can surely benefit in creating multi-dimensional, humane characters; thanks to its brilliant character development features consisting of a set of difficult questions.

Are you ready to create your characters as people and not as stereotypes? Try out the feature now and let us know how exciting your experience was in the comments!

This is why you need a novel writing software

This is why you need a novel writing software

Andrea, do you think that a writer really needs a novel writing software?

This is the question they ask me at every interview about bibisco.

After all“, they say, “it’s about writing and to write you just need Microsoft Word. Isn’t it?

Writing a novel is like building a house

Someone thinks that a writer can write an entire novel feverishly, guided only by the sacred fire of inspiration.

This idea is quite naive.

Writing a novel, instead, is like building a house. Words are bricks, but it’s not enough to put one brick after another. If you build a house without a blueprint, it’s bound to collapse.

Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.

Ernest Hemingway

Writing is only a part of the entire work

When you write a novel, writing chapters and scenes it’s only a part of the entire work.

The other parts are the research and study of the social and temporal context in which the story takes place, the design of the characters and the plot, the planning of the activities and the control of their progress.

And so, you have to be very organized and disciplined to manage all this mass of documents.

A novel writing software helps you in all stages of novel creation

A novel writing software, like bibisco, can help the writer to organize the work in all its phases in a single integrated novel development environment.

There are no more files scattered in complex directory trees, but all the elements of the novel are well organized and immediately accessible without having to look for them in the file system.

This is why you need a novel writing software - Chapter's detail - bibisco blog useful resources by your novel writing software
Chapter’s detail

Moreover, it is always possible to have an eye on all the material produced for the novel while writing.

In bibisco, with the project explorer, you can have all the information about the chapters, architectural elements, characters, locations, objects, and all the notes always available in a sidebar while you are writing.

Do you really need a novel writing software? In bibisco, with the project explorer, you can have all the information about the chapters, architectural elements, characters, locations, objects, and all the notes always available in a sidebar while you are writing.
Project explorer

A novel writing software helps you to analyze your work

A novel writing software can help the writer not only to organize the work but also to analyze it.

For example, in bibisco, you can analyze the length of the chapters to see if it is homogeneous between them.

In bibisco you can analyze the length of the chapters to see if it is homogeneous between them.
Chapters’ length analysis

Or you can study the characters’ distribution to see which ones appear most often, to check when a character appears for the first time, to identify how many times two characters appear in the same chapter.

In bibisco you can study the characters' distribution to see which ones appear most often, to check when a character appears for the first time, to identify how many times two characters appear in the same chapter.
Characters’ distribution analysis

You can also see your novel represented in a timeline.

In bibisco you can see your novel represented in a timeline.
Timeline

A novel writing software helps you keep track of your progress

A good novel writing software also helps you to plan and track the progress of your work.

In bibisco, for example, you can set your words goal, your words per day goal, and your deadline.

Do you really need a novel writing software? In bibisco you can set your words goal, your words per day goal, and your deadline.
Project’s dashboard

And you can check your progress over time.

In bibisco you can check your progress over the time.
Project’s writing history

Furthermore, in bibisco, any element of the novel such as chapters, scenes, characters, places, objects, architectural elements, has its completion badge (red, yellow, green) to have at a glance the status of the work.

This is why you need a novel writing software - Characters' section - bibisco blog useful resources by your novel writing software
Characters’ section

Conclusion

A novel is a complex artwork.

A novel planning software, like bibisco, helps you in all the stages of the creation of the novel: research, design, planning, and writing.

And you? Do you think you need a novel writing software?