When it comes to choosing the best platform on which to write our novels, if you’re like me, you turn to the traditional go-to—Microsoft Word. Or you turn to Google Docs. But these days, there’s software out there that goes above and beyond all capabilities of Word or Google Docs.
Imagine if there were a platform that allowed you to not only write your book but take those first steps of outlining, sketching, and plotting out your story? And imagine if that platform allowed you to also collaborate live with other writers while you work?
Well, guess what? That platform you’ve just imagined actually exists already. It’s called Campfire. And it’s totally amazing.
I recently learned about Campfire while searching for a new platform to replace my old one, which was not at all user-friendly and way too complicated to figure out and use. In fact, my assistant stumbled across Campfire, and when she first brought it to my attention, I told her she must be mistaken. I’d never heard of this writing platform, and I’ve been a pro in the industry for over a decade.
As it turns out, Campfire is relatively new (developed and released in late 2018), but trust me when I say, in this case, new is a darn good thing. I was amazed by the features offered not only with the software download (which you can install on PC or Mac), but by the features also included directly on the website itself.
For starters, there’s their blog. With categories covering the craft of writing all the way through culture and workflow, there’s an article for just about any topic you can hope to read about. For example, under the Craft category, there are article about implementing the Hero’s Journey (you know I love the Hero’s Journey), practical tips on show, don’t tell, and even how to write a balanced villain (which I’ve told you is super important). When browsing these blog posts, I felt like the founders and I were reading the same wavelength or that he’d somehow tapped into my writer’s lizard brain and figured out exactly what I was seeking to learn.
On their online version, you can also join their community, Campfire Discord, where already over 1,500 members chat daily, swap ideas, and learn from one another’s failures and successes. Name one other writing platform that provides that kind of support. And speaking of support…the Campfire team offers tutorials and an FAQ section, as well as an opportunity to submit a support ticket directly to their tech team.
But while all those extra features are wonderful in and of themselves, the true test is whether the platform actually works, if it’s user-friendly, and if it will actually help writers become amazing authors. So…I put the software to the test…literally.
I now want to show you just some of the awesome features included in Campfire, step by step. Are you ready? Good. Let’s do this thing.
As you all have heard me say a million blue times, there’s no better way to avoid writers’ block and ensure a well-written manuscript than to plan your novel before you start writing. I know. I know. Some of you are pantsers. I get it. I used to be, too. But trust me when I say (again) that you don’t have to be one or the other. You can be BOTH a plotter and a pantser. You don’t necessarily have to outline every scene in great detail. In fact, where’s the fun in that? But you absolutely can benefit from doing a basic outline of your plot, sketching out your characters, and planning out your setting.
Let’s start where I think is best to start when planning out your novel…character development. In Campfire, you can use their Character Builder tool to easily make a list of your characters, categorize them by “good guys” and “bad guys,” and “neutral guys.” You can also type up their basic information, physical attributes, personality traits, and more inside the builder tool. You can even upload an avatar or exemplar image that represents the character in your mind. But most importantly, you can write up their entire backstory in one easy-to-find location, and you all know how crucial a character’s backstory is to the plot.
Speaking of characters, you can also create a relationship “web” to show how your characters are all related (see image below). You can connect them based on what kind of relationship they have, whether they love or loathe one another. That’s pretty cool, right?
The next crucial stage of planning your story out is creating your timeline. And Campfire makes it easy to do just that with their Timeline Creator. As you can see from the image below, you can even break your story down into the often-preferred 3 Act Method, then further breakdown the scenes, if you so desire.
Taking scene planning to a higher level, you can use their Scene Developer tool to further plot out all the scenes you want to include within each act of your story. You can even assign them chapters, if that’s something that tickles your fancy. Scenes can be organized, rearranged, and even color-coded with a click of your mouse.
Want to take notes and save them for later when you’re more certain where to place them? Use the Encyclopedia to store notes, images, etc. for later use so you never lose another great idea again. For me, this was crucial. I have a tendency to have ideas, but if I don’t immediately write them down and save them, they’re gone for good. So definitely take advantage of this tool.
And, finally, perhaps one of the most completely awesome features of Campfire is the Worldbuilding Tool. This will be especially crucial for those of you writing fantasy or even if you’re simply setting your story in any make believe location. The Worldbuilding Tool allows you to quite literally map out your setting and your new world, including creating the history of this new world/setting, facts, and landmarks, all in one central location you can refer back to at any point in the writing process. If you write fantasy stories, you know how crucial worldbuilding is, so this tool is worth it, all by its lonesome.
I hope I’ve convinced you that you must be using Campfire now. But if my words have not done this software justice, or if you just prefer to try new programs for yourself before deciding, why not take it for a spin. It’s a one-time download…no need for monthly or annual re-licensing like some programs. And Campfire backs up their incredible software with a 10-day money-back guarantee! So, now, you have no excuses.
Simply click the below link to take advantage of the best writing platform on the market today!