Notebook.ai for writers

Worldbuilding for stories, novels, plays, and poems.
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Novel planning that's fun and effective.


Digital notebook

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.

Dashboard
Characters Create characters

From your heroes to the little guys that live in the background, everyone plays a role in strong stories.

Locations Create locations

From magical mountains to urban modern settings, locations are the lifeblood of worldbuilding.

Items Create items

Track books, weapons, artifacts, and other items in your world: who made them, owns them, and more.

Creatures Create creatures

Your personal bestiary includes the wildlife, plantlife, merfolk, and other interesting beings of your world.

Races Create races

Humans are often joined by elves, orcs, werewolves, vampires, dragons, and a myriad of other races.

Religions Create religions

Organizing your world's beliefs into cohesive religions can lead to a more epic world for your readers.

Groups Create groups

Use groups to bundle your characters, locations, items, or other ideas into any kind of collection you need.

Magics Create magic

Often a source of magic creates a multitude of spells, potions, and occasional trinkets.

Languages Create languages

Language is the bond that weaves a culture's words together. Are there any new languages in your world?

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.

Tip: Once you've created a universe on Notebook.ai, you'll see a new dropdown in the top-left corner of every page. Selecting a universe from it will "lock" your notebook to that universe: you'll only see content from that universe, and anything new you create will automatically be added to it. You can unlock or switch universes at any time.
Universe
Quick reference

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.

Tip: Every question card will also have a "quick reference" tab, which shows you other information about your characters and other ideas that might help when answering the question. This reference is generated automatically from everything Notebook.ai knows about your universe.

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!

Tip: After you've built your universe, you can share it (or any individual pages in it) with others to get feedback. This can avoid embarassing mistakes that can manifest later in your writing like, "Why couldn't Harry Potter see Thestrals until book five?" or "Why didn’t the fellowship of the ring just get the eagles to fly the ring to Mount Doom?"
Character
Gallery

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 1GB of storage space. You can delete any image at any time to reclaim and reuse its space.

Tip: Uploading images is a great way to save the maps of your world. They're highlighted at the top of their Location page, and you can click to expand them to their full, original size at any time.

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.

Tip: This linking happens automatically, and you can always click through linked pages (because they are, after all, links!) to verify that everything is linked properly.
Family tree

Start worldbuilding right now.

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bubble_chart

Promotes creativity

Your Notebook now asks you questions about your characters and ideas, and your answers are saved too.

schedule

Speeds up writing

With a universe of information at your fingertips, you can look up anything quickly and keep writing.

cloud

Backed up forever

Never lose a notebook full of priceless ideas again. Notebook.ai is backed up and always available.

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Grows with you

Plan as much as you want in your Notebook, for life. The only limits here are your imagination.

group

Brainstorm together

Invite anyone to review any content you decide to share. Sometimes a second set of eyes makes all the difference.

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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 six additional ways to worldbuild — namely creatures, races, religions, groups, magic, and languages.

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 1GB.

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pets face brightness_7
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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
Create characters check check check
Create locations check check check
Create items check - check
Create creatures - check check
Create groups - check check
Create races - - check
Create religions - - check
Create magic - - check
Create languages - - check
Customize templates check check check
Upload images Up to 50MB - Up to 1GB
Price Free $9/month $9/month

Who owns the ideas I store in Notebook.ai?

You do, 100%. We've written more about this in our privacy policy.

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.

What do authors think about Notebook.ai?

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"Thank you for this amazing program. It's just what I, and hundreds of others, need to help flesh out their world and keep our ridiculous notes straight."
— Faustyna, happy user
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"This is one of those products I didn't realize I desperately wanted till I interacted with it. It all works very slick, very modern."
— JonBanes, happy user
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"This is amazing. I have so many text documents sitting in various folders and files compiling all my info, so thank you so much for making a place I can keep everything online and in one place. This looks amazing and I'm so glad to see it grow and expand."
— cephalopodcat, happy user
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"I just want to say I love you. I have spent the last week or so compiling notes from three different notebooks into this program, and it's been a few days and there's already tons of new things that are awesome."
— Dr_Toast, happy user
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"I want to say thanks! This is my first year doing NaNoWriMo, and I was kind of at a loss of where to start, but this website really helps get things in perspective. I can see that you really put a lot of thought into it. I hope to see it succeed!"
— t5runner, happy user
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"Where the hell has this been my whole life?"
— politesniper, happy user
I started building Notebook.ai to replace dozens of my own physical notebooks full of my characters and fictional worlds.

It's incredibly humbling to see that it's been so helpful to so many other brilliant authors from around the world.

— Andrew Brown, Author, Notebook.ai creator
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