What is Notebook.ai?
Most writers have at least one old notebook lying around somewhere, full of old story ideas, interesting characters, enchanting locations, or a myriad of other margin-scribbled thoughts. Some writers have piles of old "story idea" documents in their favorite cloud storage. Others still have their brilliant, rich worlds fermenting in their heads.
Notebook.ai is a worldbuilding tool that organizes, saves, and helps in fully fleshing out your fictional world, your way.
Your digital notebook takes full advantage of being just that — digital. Instead of fitting notes in the margins of pages past, you'll always have space to expand every idea. Instead of reading backward in your story to find out how old you said that one character was, every little detail about them is organized and just a click away. You don't need to flip around the pages in your old notebook to jump from a character to their birthplace to other characters born there; every "link" between your ideas is a real link, and lets you click to jump from one to the next.
How do I use it?
It's actually really easy. Just sign up and create something — anything — and you're doing it right.
Most users start by creating a universe to hold everything they create afterwards. You can call it your novel's title, "My Universe", or whatever you want. You'll be prompted to enter a description and a few other questions, but everything's entirely optional.
Once you have a universe, try creating a character or two for your main characters. You'll notice the process of creating a notebook page is exactly the same regardless of what you're creating. You click create, you're presented with a bunch of optional fields to fill out about it, and you're done. You can create a location for where your story takes place, and items for any relevant objects or trinkets in your story.
Once you've got the basics, just expand outward for your story! Right now, there are nine different page types you can create in Notebook.ai.
From your heroes to the little guys that live in the background, everyone plays a role in strong stories.
From magical mountains to urban modern settings, locations are the lifeblood of worldbuilding.
Track books, weapons, artifacts, and other items in your world: who made them, owns them, and more.
Fill your towns with stores, offices, historical buildings, and residences for your characters.
Conditions affect your characters for better or for worse. Create diseases, blessings, and more.
Kingdoms, countries, regions, and more. Huge swathes of land are often claimed quickly.
Your personal bestiary includes the wildlife, critters, merfolk, and other interesting beings of your world.
Gods, goddesses, and other godly beings in your world — every world came from somewhere.
The plants, flowers, trees, and other nature in your world. Paint your landscape with rich flora.
The organizations of your world that keep it running smoothly (or not): governments.
Use groups to bundle your characters, locations, items, or other ideas into any kind of collection you need.
How do your characters make a living? What does everyone else in their towns do? Jobs build worlds.
From the smallest statue to the biggest mountain, landmarks are littered across the land.
Language is the bond that weaves a culture's words together. Are there any new languages in your world?
Often a source of magic creates a multitude of spells, potions, and occasional trinkets.
Celestial bodies orbiting through space, carrying a planet's-worth of worldbuilding on them.
Humans are often joined by elves, orcs, werewolves, vampires, dragons, and a myriad of other races.
Organizing your world's beliefs into cohesive religions can lead to a more epic world for your readers.
Scenes are events that happen in your world, ranging in size from a nice breakfast to entire wars.
Create your gadgets, gizmos, and all kinds of advanced (or primitive) technologies.
Towns across the country are pockets of interesting life, filled with characters and more.
Everyone has something they celebrate. Honor your characters by detailing their traditions and holidays.
Vehicles come in many shapes and sizes. Create cars, boats, planes, spaceships, airships, and more.
Separate your worlds with Universes
In addition to the page types detailed above, you can also create Universes.
You can think of a universe as a bucket of time or space: a literal universe, a world, a country, a time period, even just the park down the street — your universe contains everything related to the plot you're building, and lets you focus entirely on just what's relevant right now, even when you plan multiple stories or worlds in Notebook.ai.
When you create a character, a location, or anything else within Notebook.ai, you'll be asked what universe it belongs to. When you visit that universe's page in your notebook later, you'll see everything inside it from one convenient place.
Build your world piece by piece with personalized writing prompts
After you've created a few pages in Notebook.ai, you'll start to see the magic happening. On your dashboard, for example, you'll now have a new card asking questions about what you've created so far.
If you've created a character, it might ask where that character was born. If you've created a city, it might ask how many people live there. If you've created a creature, it might ask how it hunts for food. It's a fun, bite-sized way to start thinking about your ideas from new angles and flesh out your world more fully.
When you write an answer, it is automatically saved to that character — or location, or creature, or anything else it asked about — and you can see your answer alongside any other information you've saved on that content's notebook page.
Keep your readers engrossed with a rich world of consistent details
Having an in-depth reference while writing lets you quickly look up even the smallest of details when you need them and then keep writing uninterrupted. You'll never again have to read backward to find out what shirt color Simon was wearing, or what city you said Elise was from. Everything you need is organized and at your fingertips.
If you're not the type to build your world out completely before writing, Notebook.ai can also be used while writing for the same kind of reference. Each time you introduce a new character, simply create a character page for them (it's fast!). When you describe anything about them, you can jot it down in its rightful place and you can then refer back to it later.
And, of course, if the default fields don't cover every little detail of your world, you can always create new categories and fields on any content type, like "biggest weakness" on characters or "tallest skyscraper" for locations. It's your world — track anything you want!
Upload images for inspiration or reference
Whether you're in the initial idea stage or further along and looking to save reference material, Notebook.ai allows image uploads to any notebook pages you create.
You'll notice that any images you upload are featured across the site, from your dashboard to individual notebook pages. In addition to a Gallery tab on content that shows off every image uploaded to it, you'll also see slideshows banners at the top of your notebook pages highlighting the images you upload — and you may even see a character peeking back at you from your dashboard from time to time!
Free users start with 50MB of storage space that can be used to upload any size of image. Premium users are boosted an additional 10GB of storage space. You can delete any image at any time to reclaim and reuse its space.
Build family trees and organization hierarchies with ease
Because Notebook.ai is smart, we help out whenever we can when you link two pages together.
Family trees are a great example of this. If you created a small family of three — say, Alice and Bob and their son Carl — you can link them together with each character's Family tab. The fields there allow you to select from other characters you've created in that universe and set relationships, like father, mother, sibling, spouse, or child.
When you're editing Alice and say Bob's her spouse and Carl's her son, we automatically edit Bob and Carl's pages also. For Bob, we know (and save) that Alice is his spouse; and for Carl, we automatically detect what gender Alice is and note that Alice is his mother. It all happens automatically, so your family trees almost build themselves.
You'll see similar "deep linking" when creating Locations or Groups. Creating sub-groups will automatically create parent groups, alliances and rivalships will automatically save to all groups involved, and nesting locations within each other will automatically link back to the parent location as well.
Your Notebook now asks you questions about your characters and ideas, and your answers are saved too.
Speeds up writing
With a universe of information at your fingertips, you can look up anything quickly and keep writing.
Backed up forever
Never lose a notebook full of priceless ideas again. Notebook.ai is backed up and always available.
Grows with you
Plan as much as you want in your Notebook, for life. The only limits here are your imagination.
Invite anyone to review any content you decide to share. Sometimes a second set of eyes makes all the difference.
Make it yours
Plan creatures, magic, scenes, and other page types specific to your world, tailored to you.
How much does it cost?
Creating core notebook pages (universes, characters, locations, and items) is free and doesn't require any payment information to start creating your novel's world immediately upon signup. Free users, however, are restricted to five universes to get started with.
We believe this trifecta of people, places, and things covers most worlds, but serious worldbuilders often opt to pay for a Premium membership, which unlocks 20 additional ways to worldbuild — namely buildings, conditions, countries, creatures, deities, floras, governments, groups, jobs, landmarks, languages, magics, planets, races, religions, scenes, technologies, towns, traditions, and vehicles.
Premium memberships are $9.00, billed monthly, and allow you to create unlimited amounts of any type of content. Additionally, a Premium subscription also increases your image upload storage from 50MB to 10GB.
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How does it compare to other worldbuilding software?
Until we launched Notebook.ai last October, worldbuilding was almost exclusively done with unstructured solutions like spreadsheets and personal wikis — or the good ol' pen & paper.
However, we've been pleased to see other worldbuilding software crop up since our launch and we pride ourselves in providing the best worldbuilding software available to writers worldwide.
|Notebook.ai Free||One Stop Worldbuilding||Notebook.ai Premium|
|Create universes||Up to 5||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Upload images||Up to 50MB||-||Up to 10GB|
Who owns the ideas I store in Notebook.ai?
Additionally, all content is private by default and only accessible by you. When you click the "share" link on any content, you're given the option to mark either that individual page or the universe it lives in as "public" or "private". A public universe allows viewers to click around and see every page in that universe, while a public page in a private universe allows only that page to be viewed. You can mark anything private again at any time and it will be instantly applied.