Writing Tool Recommendation – Hiveword!

All writers have tools they can’t work without. We here at PubCrawl covered a range of writing tools in this post in January, and many of you added to our list in the comments. My fellow PubCrawlers and our readers endorsed everything from the simplicity of a notepad and pen to the complexity of Scrivener and other writing applications, but for me, I always ended up with good ol’ basic Word. Anything more sophisticated overwhelmed me. (Sorry all you Scrivener lovers! I know it works for a lot of people but after several tries I had to admit that it doesn’t work for me.)

Then one day I stumbled upon Hiveword.

Hiveword, the brainchild of Mike Fleming, is a free (yes, FREE!) web-based novel writing organizer. It’s stellar in its simplicity, but also in its ability to sort and manage all the elements of your story. It does this by getting you organized around your story’s basic components—scenes, characters, settings, and plotlines. You can sort through your story and see it arranged by the main plot and subplots, view your scenes and drag them around and re-order them, or search for all the scenes that contain a particular character or setting. You can even track scenes by POV. There is a character sheet for each character, and Hiveword even contains a character name generator. Tags allow you to mark a scene with key words, such as Plot Point I, Act II Midpoint or even To-Do.

You get all of this without having to download a thing! Hiveword keeps all your data on the web, so you can access it from anywhere, at any time. Everything backs up instantly and automatically. Start as many stories as you have ideas—save just an opening image, a character sketch, flesh out an outline, or write your complete novel. When you’re ready to export your story, it’s as simple as a click.

To help get you started, Mike provides a sample story perfect for all us Harry Potter fans—Harry Porter and the Goblet of Fire. The sample story contains a list of six characters, two settings, and a synopsis of three scenes from two of the story’s three plotlines. I clicked around in the sample story for a while until I began to understand the tool. After opening a new story and using the components to start piecing together my own ideas, I really “got” the benefits of Hiveword and how it can help me stay focused without distracting me.

I was so excited to have found Hiveword, (and just in time for NaNoWriMo!) I reached out to Mike to thank him for sharing it and ask if he would answer a few questions for this post. Mike is super-accessible to users of this tool, and he got right back to me and agreed! Thanks Mike!

How long ago did you launch Hiveword?

Mike FlemingHiveword was officially launched in 2011 but I had the idea in 2008. Development started at the end of 2009 but goofing off and trying to make my full vision a reality caused significant delays. I also put Hiveword on the back burner during this time to build the Writer’s Knowledge Base (WKB) search engine for writers.

Guys, if you follow @ElizabethCraig on Twitter and have ever wished that you could find all her links in one place…you can! That’s what Writer’s Knowledge Base is! Mike built it in collaboration with Elizabeth. Make sure you check it out!

What inspired you to create Hiveword?

I had a big idea! 😉 However, what you see in Hiveword today is not that big idea, unfortunately. I still want to do that big idea sometime because I think writers will absolutely love it.

Do you have any idea of the number of users?


What’s your vision for the future of Hiveword?

I’d still like to achieve my original vision for Hiveword because to my knowledge nothing else comes close. In the meantime, I’ll likely add notes and pictures, both of which are frequently requested.

Also, not sure if you’re aware of it or not, but Hiveword is actually an interoperable suite of tools for writers. There’s the novel organizer (Hiveword proper) but built on top of that is the Writer’s Knowledge Base (which is a search engine for writers) and Knockout Novel (which is a set of prompts by writing coach James Scott Bell).

Thanks, Mike! I’m intrigued by this “big idea” you speak of, but for now I am more than happy using Hiveword. And thanks for mentioning WKB and Knockout Novel – both of which are awesome and would merit their own posts on this blog.

So…I think it’s obvious that I could gush all day about how much I value this tool, but I think a better plan would be to send you over to Hiveword.com so you can check it out for yourselves. While you’re there, check out the other writing tools Mike mentions above—Writer’s Knowledge Base and Knockout Novel. Then sign up for your Hiveword account and start setting up your story ideas, because…

There are only 15 more days until NaNoWriMo!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Have you spent any time outlining, creating characters, or brainstorming scenes to get ready? Do you believe a tool like Hiveword would work for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


25 Responses to Writing Tool Recommendation – Hiveword!

  1. Susan Dennard Oct 16 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Such a cool post and interview!! I’d never heard of this before, but I will totally go check it right now!! Thanks Julie and Mike!!

    • Julie Eshbaugh Oct 16 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      Hi Sooz, I think you’ll like Hiveword, not to mention the Writer’s Knowledge Base. I am so happy I found them!

  2. Alex Oct 16 2013 at 9:38 am #

    This sounds awesome! A lot of writing programs I’ve tried in the past have ended up being more tools of distraction than anything else, but this could DEFINITELY work for me.

    • Julie Eshbaugh Oct 16 2013 at 12:18 pm #

      Hi Alex! I’ve had the same experience with writing programs. If it’s not super-intuitive, I lose too much time figuring out the logisitics (or I just never figure them out at all…) I’d love to hear your thoughts on Hiveword (and I’m sure Mike would too!)

  3. Mike Fleming Oct 16 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Thanks for the great post, Julie! I’m all ears if anyone has any questions or comments…

    • Lottie Oct 16 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      Mike, I don’t have any questions (yet!) but I wanted to let you know that I really like Hiveword! So glad I stopped by PubCrawl today! (Thanks Julie. 🙂 )
      Also, Mike, what’s the best way to contact you if I have questions about using Hiveword? Twitter? Thanks again!

      • Mike Fleming Oct 16 2013 at 5:01 pm #

        Lottie, I’m glad you like it! The easiest way to contact me if you’re already in Hiveword is to click the “Problems/Comments” link in the upper right hand corner. Otherwise, please email me at mike@hiveword.com.

    • Ronnetta Oct 16 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      Hi Mike – Just wondering… if I draft in Hiveword, what format will it export? Will it be compatible with Word? Thanks… 🙂

      • Mike Fleming Oct 16 2013 at 8:51 pm #

        Ronnetta, strictly speaking, Hiveword isn’t really intended for writing the whole novel, just organizing it. However, many people have told me they write their books in Hiveword. As for exporting, everything gets exported to an RTF file which can be read into Word.

  4. Jessie Humphries Oct 17 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    I could never get on the Scrivener bandwagon either. I tried and it gave me more anxiety than I was ready to deal with. But this sounds like its worth a try for sure. Thanks for the heads up!

  5. Julie Eshbaugh Oct 17 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    Hi Jessie! Hiveword works for me because it’s streamlined and intuitive. I hope it works for you, too! (And check out the Writer’s Knowledge Base while you’re over there! I love it. :))

  6. Hamed Oct 20 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Right now I’m testing it and if the results are good I’m gonna use it for my NANoWriMo project which is my first year and Please don’t laugh at me when I say: up until the latest post by your co-Pub(lishing)Crawl gal, Susan Dennard, I had no Idea such a great thing like NaNoWriMo exists. Even when you mentioned it in this post I was just thinkin’ “OK, another app for the pad that I’ll never have”.
    Anyways, Thanks a lot. Again

    • Julie Eshbaugh Oct 20 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      Hi Hamed! I’m so glad you’re going to do NaNoWriMo!! It’s a challenge but it’s very helpful to have a lot of other people all striving for the same goal at the same time. There’s great support and solidarity. I think you’ll love it. Let me know if you think Hiveword works for you. I’m using it right now to outline for NaNo, too. 🙂

  7. Alexa Y. Nov 6 2013 at 3:23 am #

    I’ve never heard of Hiveword before, but it sounds fascinating. Scrivener is a tool that I haven’t really experimented with yet either, so I’m thinking I might have to try out both and see which one works for me. Thanks for sharing and for the mini-interview!

  8. A'Dreana Anderson Jan 27 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    I LOVE Hiveword! It has really helped me organize my story so much, and I just love how the page is set up!

    • Juliesh Jan 27 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      I agree – it is so easy to use! Best of luck on your story!

  9. Jeff Feb 27 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Mike – I’ve been considering whether to give Scrivener a go but I’m reluctant to navigate its complexities and Hiveword sounds like the perfect substitute.
    My question about Hiveword is that being a web based program mean I can only access my writing through the website? So my concern is for those times when I’d be unable to reach my writing because of a weak signal.
    Is this concern unfounded? The Writer’s Knowledge Base is terrific so I have faith.

    • Mike Fleming Feb 27 2014 at 9:57 pm #


      Unfortunately, no internet means no Hiveword. Or WKB. 😉 Sorry!

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  15. meghana Apr 8 2015 at 2:47 am #

    hello sir!! Few days ago when I was browsing I got to know about this ‘Hiveword’.
    Its really good.I have few doubts sir,so which is the best way to contact you?

  16. meghana Apr 8 2015 at 2:55 am #

    hi juli mam….I’m really glad to use this hiveword. Tons of thanks to Mr.Mike who has developed this hiveword. Many people in this small world have their own writing talents but some of them may not know where to exibit their skills,like me.Whether the story may be good or bad,long or short anything but who are exibiting their skills are happy.Thanks to you both…have a great day:)

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