Writing a book can be quite tough, and so it makes you wonder, what if there are tools that can make the process a little easier?
Well, such tools exist, and while they won’t write your book for you, they go a long way to improve the outcome of your work.
One such tool is Campfire Pro. I have used this tool for a number of projects and trust me, it is great, but alas, Campfire isn’t for everyone.
Fortunately, there are a lot of Campfire Pro alternatives in the market, and in this article, we will cover some of them, but first, let’s take a look at what Campfire Pro does and what it might be lacking.
What is Campfire Pro?
Campfire Pro is a story planning software that is targeted at writers looking to organize their stories.
With this program, you can create characters and arrange the wording for your story whether you are a new writer or a veteran. This software will allow you to manage characters, events, and scenes in a timeline that helps you keep track of their link to other characters and situations.
Campfire also helps you categorize events based on their significance and it is fully customizable. So you can create any character you want and add as much information to their backstory.
Once you’ve created a character, you can export their profile as a PDF or reuse it for other stories without having to create them all over. You can alter events and scenes for your new story and it will reflect on the profile of the character.
Campfire Pro is an excellent tool for aspiring novelists who want to self-publish or be published by a publishing company. I found it quite easy to use especially with help from their short YouTube video.
You’ll love it if you enjoy writing fan fiction and want to keep your thoughts organized. And if you want to try it out first before buying, you can use the free demo to see if it works for you.
There’s a standard version of Campfire, but it has a lot of limitations, so for the best features, I’d recommend Campfire Pro. However, it’s hard for me to recommend it straight away, especially at $49.99, without first looking at some alternatives, so let’s check some out.
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10 best Campfire Pro alternatives
Scrivener is a powerful writing tool made by writers for writers. It has a couple of amazing features, but it is mostly known for its ‘binder’.
The binder helps you organize your thoughts into a clean flow of documents and you can add or remove any piece of information that you want. So you can make your binder very simple or complex.
Aside from the binder features, Scrivener is also known to have a wide range of templates that can help you set up your project nicely. You can use these templates for novels, short stories, and more.
The default templates may only attend to your basic needs, but Scrivener lets you import hundreds of additional templates that are designed by other users, so their quality is not always guaranteed. But if you look hard enough, you will be sure to find one that matches what you are looking for.
You can also find good templates on Scrivener. These templates are often straightforward but can be very useful. They reduce the amount of work you’ll have to do by laying out your scripts with notes per chapter or section.
You will find some general templates here, while others are very niche-specific, which is what I’m always after to help ease the pressure of planning and outlining my work.
Another feature I find very helpful is the project target feature. One of my struggles with writing has always been finding the motivation to do the actual writing and this feature aids in this regard.
With Scrivener, I can set goals for myself and track my progress along the way.
You can also import your writing projects from other places and keep them in one place on Scrivener. You can save resources and references you pulled from the web within your projects and use them whenever.
You cannot talk about Scrivener without also talking about its corkboard. This feature resembles an actual corkboard with papers and index cards stuck to it. Here, you can lay out your ideas and get a birdseye view of your entire work.
While Scrivener has a lot of features that are significantly absent in Campfire and most of the other alternative tools, it lacks the ability to add pictures and does not have an in-program word processor, which can be a deal breaker for some writers.
Scrivener costs almost as much as Campfire Pro. According to the product’s website, you can purchase the standard or educational licenses for $49 or $41.65 respectively.
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For a free tool, Bibisco is as good as you will get when it comes to novel writing tools.
It helps you organize your scenes and chapters into a fine flow of documents that you can customize and export as PDF, Docx, or epub.
Bibisco is open source and it is pretty easy to use. When you land on its homepage, the first thing you will see is a tray of options promoting you to start a new project or import one right away.
If you have previously used Bibisco and you have projects on its previous version, do not import them midway because the old version of the software was based on node.js, while the new version is built in Java, and so they will not be compatible.
Before you start writing, you can set the language that your novel will be based on, but once you have selected a language, you cannot change it.
Bibisco has a couple of interesting features. One of which is the project function. Here, you will be given some tips to guide your work such as establishing a relationship with your characters, stating the Fabula, and other important stuff to keep in mind as you write.
Bibisco’s architecture feature is responsible for organizing your thoughts and presenting them in a manner that makes sense. Here you can state what your novel is about, the events that transpire, and under which conditions these events take place.
The characters section is as the name suggests. Here you can set your main and secondary characters and what they are about.
I particularly like this feature because I can use it to establish great details about my characters without the noise of other features. This section also allows you to add images.
Another Bibisco feature you will find handy is the analysis feature. With this, you can easily analyze the length of your book, your plot points, as well as location and character distributions.
I must mention that if you opt for Campfire Pro, you will hardly miss any of Bibisco’s features, but considering that it is free, it’s not a bad tool to have.
Unlike Campfire Pro, Bibisco is mostly free, however, to get a version with slightly more features, you can opt to pay a token on the website.
Manuskript is the second open source software on this list.
I downloaded this tool just for the purpose of this review and I will say that it was a bittersweet experience overall.
For starters, I struggled to install the program on my machine. I downloaded the file in zip format and getting it to unzip and open was quite tough, but I finally prevailed.
My next challenge was opening the program. It kept closing on me, so I concluded that the fault must have been on my end; maybe in the way I installed the program because I checked with other Manuskript users and theirs seemed to be fine.
Notwithstanding, the tool lets you make use of its premade sample to test out its functionalities, and luckily for me, this part worked and the features I found were great.
It has a navigation tray that allows you to toggle between different sections of your story. So you can choose to view the summary, plot lines, character descriptions, etc. Manuskript also has a redaction tab to present your work in index card or outline formats.
The tool will ask you to choose what kind of writing you want to do before you begin. So you will select between fiction and nonfiction and then choose a subcategory to create your product.
Once that is done, you can populate the next page with general information about your project. You don’t have to complete all the fields, but it will make sense if you fill out the important ones like title, sun title, genre, volume, etc.
You can consider the navigation as a step by step guide to creating your project.
Manuskript has a summary guide that lets you choose a summary length and add your summary straight to the field and a characters tab that lets you plan out your characters’ journey for the book.
It also has a plot section that is divided into 3 parts according to importance. You can also tag which characters are involved in their individual plots.
There’s the world section that allows you to describe various location settings in your work and the outline tab that lets you see all your work at once like in an actual book.
You can view your notes as index cards with the redaction tab and you can add further notes if you want. Overall, Manuskript is not preferable to Campfire Pro because Campfire offers more flexibility, however, I found Manuskript’s frequency analyzer quite impressive. I can use it to measure the frequency of certain words or phrases which is handy.
Manuskript is free and you can download and install it here. You can also donate towards the development of the platform via PayPal.
Wordcradle is a free online tool that lets you arrange and manage your thoughts for your novel.
With this tool, you can clearly draw out detailed profiles for your story characters, improve the storyline with a series of brainstorming sessions, and set deadlines for yourself.
Wordcradle allows you to fix your characters into different levels of plots and section your novel as chapters to come out nicely.
It is easy to set up an account, but once you are in the dashboard, you will find it rather crowded. However, within a few minutes, you should get the hang of it.
Starting a project on Wordcradle is easy. Simply open the projects tab, name the project, upload a cover photo, and add a summary of not more than 20 words. After that, you can set a goal and a deadline.
Once you start a project, Wordcradle automatically initiates a brainstorming session for you. In my opinion, this is more thorough than what Campfire Pro provides.
The brainstorm session is usually accessed through its corresponding tab and it contains ideals around your story in the form of index cards placed in groups. This makes it easier for you to track an idea.
All your stories must include figures, regardless of what they are about, and you have a character area to shed more light on your character, stating their names, relevance, and description in not more than 1000 words.
Once that is done, all that is left for you is to create your plot lines using the tips provided by Wordcradle as a guide – especially for your first time using the tool.
You can add as many chapters as you want and watch your progress line increase accordingly. Once you are done, you can download your story for keeps.
Wordcradle is free.
5. World Anvil
World Anvil is a tool that lets content creators put their thoughts in order with as little effort as possible.
It comes with lots of templates for those who are new to word building. It provides an ideal structured approach for developing solid content.
Its templates cut across several niches and they use reasonably built forms to guide you through creating your work.
These templates allow you to make connections with different parts of your content and I can testify that it stimulates creativity.
There are no mandatory fields, which I appreciate, and in my experience, the platform saves your content for you the instant you type it in.
One feature that World Anvil has that you won’t find in Campfire Pro is its drag and drop option. This means that you can easily organize your article page according to your preference.
I also consider the categories as one of its most important features because they act as the major taxonomical structure for your content. You can create as many as you require and give them names.
Once you’ve created these categories, you can fit your articles in where they are supposed to be.
While World Anvil has many templates, it is the custom blocks that will fascinate you the most. It allows you to utilize text and images to create your own block.
World Anvil is a solid tool, much better than some of its alternatives.
World Anvil is free.
Notebook.ai is a word-building site for writers, RPG players, and just about anyone that has eyes for the creative space.
It allows you to create a whole new world, populate it with as many details as you like, and still keep it organized.
My first impression of Notebook.ai from Campfire Pro is that even its free version allows you to create an unlimited amount of characters and location items.
The premium version lets you create categories in areas such as government, magic, and other helpful sectors.
I started out with the free version to get a feel for the tool and my experience was more than fair. For starters, I got to know more about my characters as Notebook.ai helped me to add more depth to what I originally intended.
Trust me, taking note on Notebook.ai is so much better than word documenting your characters. It makes information easier to find instead of the traditional method that will interrupt your writing flow anytime you need new information.
Also, I will recommend this tool for its ease of use. It is a well-organized site where your entries are easy to find no matter where you place them.
This tool has a prompt that provides you with questions about your story and characters to develop them even better.
Notebook.ai is not without faults. It can be difficult and confusing to create more universes. You may spend more than a few minutes searching for some attributes. Second, most of its cool features are in its premium plan.
Notebook.ai has a free version and a paid one for $9/month.
Ulysses helps you to organize and write your novel with less time and effort.
One of its most impressive features is its goal writing statistics function. This helps you overcome laziness and makes you commit to sticking with the target you set out for yourself.
With Ulysses, you can set your goals for whatever you want for a day, week, season, or even word count. So once you begin writing, it will keep track of your activities so that you can see your progress as it is happening.
Like Campfire Pro, Ulysses also has the option of including images in your notes. Plus you can import notes from other places and take notes within the platform itself.
You can save your notes in different locations or create separate folders for them.
What I enjoyed most using Ulysses is using its distraction-free mode. This usually comes in handy, especially whenever I have a deadline to meet and want to stay super focused.
Ulysses offers Dropbox integration so you can store and share documents across different devices.
Campfire Pro has several advantages over Ulysses, but Ulysses has certain areas where it outperforms Campfire. For example, its interface is easier to interact with and it has more exporting options.
Ulysses’ prices vary based on need. You can find an updated price list on its website.
Simplenote is exactly what it sounds like – a simple, note-taking application that helps to improve one’s productivity.
Unlike Campfire, Simplenote works on mobile as well as on PCs, so you can synchronize your projects and pull them out on the go.
Simplenote does not have that many features and it is intentional. The platform aims to be simple while giving you a powerful and quality experience.
The notes themselves are the core of the app. You can start creating notes as soon as you download the app.
You can easily add tags to your note to make sorting and organizing easy. You can add as many tags as you want to help future searches.
Simplenote also tracks any edits you make to your note and this can be helpful if you ever wish to revert to an older version of your note. All you need to do is to toggle through all the previous versions and adopt the one you want.
Overall, Simplenote is perfect to take quick notes and set reminders. And if you want to do some real writing work, you can turn off distractions by setting the tool to full-screen mode.
Simplenote is a premium tool and you can get the updated price on their website.
OneNote is not like Campfire Pro or its conventional alternatives. In fact, it looks like Word but on steroids. In fact, I wonder how on earth Microsoft OneNote is not as popular as the likes of Excel and even Word.
It is a powerful software broken into a couple of parts to form a great organizational center.
The notebook is the major part of the OneNote. It is the main file that you will be creating and it comes with a lot of features.
It is broken down into sections that come together to form the full project. For example, if you want to write a novel, you can create each chapter.
You can create pages within each section and can choose to have multiple sections or just one
While Campfire Pro may have more fancy features, OneNote is a simpler choice to keep track of your projects
Microsoft OneNote is free.
Dynalist is a bit different than the rest on this list. You can use this tool as a standalone organizer, but I prefer to use it alongside another word building tool.
Campfire Pro does not allow you to create quick bullet point outlines like Dynalist. In my opinion, Dynalist is the fastest outlining tool in the industry.
You can use it to outline book chapters when you first get your book idea. It can also serve as a todo list.
Its collaboration feature makes it apt for digital marketing to create article briefs before commissioning an article to a freelancer.
Dynalist has a free version and a premium one. You will find its latest pricing on the product’s page.
There are hundreds of more writing apps that could pass for a Campfire alternative, some of which are promising. But I’ve spent some time testing these ten, so I can vouch for them.
Some of these tools are free, while some are very expensive, but it is the value it adds that influences my choice, so I dump the ones that add no value to my craft and pay for the ones that do.
That being said, even though the pricing is a bit steep, I definitely recommend Scrivener as the best alternative to Campfire Pro because I consider it the easiest on this list to organize and manage my more complicated projects.