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Writing Guide

You can use novelcrafter just like any other writing application. If you are a pantser, you can just start writing in the Manuscript view (via the “Write” Button in the top menu).

Novel Structure

Each novel has a structure that is defined by its act, chapters and scenes.

Novel planning grid card example


Acts are the highest level of structure in a novel. They are used to define the major plot points of a novel. You can also use these for prologue, epilogue or other things like front and back matter.


Chapters are the second level of structure in a novel. They can be used to group scenes together. Each chapter can have its own title and an optional “numeration flag” to tell the system if it should keep track of the order (e.g. “Chapter 1”, “Chapter 2”, etc.).


Scenes are the lowest level of structure in a novel, but also the most important one. They hold the actual content of a novel. Each scene can have a summary, be tagged by labels and be assigned a custom point of view.

We’ll go into more detail about scene beats in the writing prose section.

Writing Prose

You can write prose in the Write (Manuscript) view. It is probably the view you’ll eventually end up spending the most of your time.

Scene Beats

You can use scene beats to structure your scenes and are a great way to keep track of the flow of a scene. Scene beats can also be filled in by the AI to write the actual prose for you.

In general, your scene beats should contain the following information:

  • Goal: What does the character want to achieve in this scene?
  • Conflict: What is preventing the character from achieving their goal?
  • Outcome: What is the result of the conflict?

The AI will use this information to write the prose for you. Each beat also does a little validation behind the scenes to guide you to improve the quality of the AI output.

Scene Beat Example

To insert a scene beat, open the slash-commands menu by pressing / and select the “Scene Beat” option.

Scene Beat Templates

If you find yourself writing scene beats in the same structure over and over again, you can create a template for it by using snippets. That way you have a framework to fill in the information by copy pasting the template into each scene.

Here is an example for a simple scene beat template:

| Location: , Time of day: ,

Make sure to include the | character at the beginning of the snippet to tell the system that this is a scene beat.

Important: The prefix is not required for when you are using the slash-command to insert a scene beat. It simply tells the system that this is a scene beat when you are pasting it into the prose.