Dabble’s Story

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
—Ernest Hemingway

Hey, I’m Jacob.

Dabble really started back on a fall day in 2010. I was frustrated. I had read (or tried to read) several books that fell flat.

Where were the amazing reads?? Is the world finished writing great stories?

And then it hit me.

I could write it! I taught myself to write software. Maybe I could do the same with fiction.

That was the theory.

A few minutes later, I had five new books on writing on my Kindle. I started right away with Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. And what do you know? The introduction was titled Putting the Big Lie to Sleep and turned out to align with my theory.

James shared his personal journey: took college writing classes, was told he would never be a writer by the teacher and had no writing talent. He became a lawyer. Eventually decided to come back to writing. Learned from books. Taught himself. Practiced. Became a successful thriller author. Left law. Taught others to write.

That’s it! The proof I needed. I could learn to write! That’s when I became bitten by the writing bug. I devoured book after book on the writing process, plotting, editing, and dialogue. Writing turned into my second great passion, right after creating beautiful software.

Over the next few years, I tried both creating my own software business and writing a novel, both on the side. I know what you’re thinking: Yeah right. And eventually, I came to that same conclusion. I couldn’t do both at once. Writing is hard! Creating a business is hard! Doing both at once in your spare time? Well, you know, live and learn.

If I had to choose one thing to finish anything, what was the right option? Hey, I've been doing software for years. It is more likely to fund my writing than my writing to fund the creation of my software business. So I decided, software it is!

Butwhy not create software now that can help me write later? Of course! I would build software for writing. The tool I would want to use when I eventually came back to writing.


I was excited. The fusion of my two passions, beautiful software and great stories. It should only take a few months. I got started.

Over the next two years, while balancing a full-time job and raising six children (and pretty much nothing else), I poured my heart and soul into building Dabble—an elegant tool specifically designed for novel writers. Dabble was released just in time for National Novel Writing Month at the end of 2017.

It took a lot longer than I anticipated. Longer than my patient wife appreciated. But I had built something special. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Dabble’s Philosophy

There are a lot of writing tools out there. Chisel and stone, pen & paper, the typewriter, Word, Google Docs, and more. Lots more.

Dabble is unique. Other writing software is generalist software. They are flexible. They allow you to create anything you need. Unfortunately, this means they are mediocre at everything. You get a lot of features you don't need cluttering up the interface, and the features you do need take a lot of work to use them.

Dabble’s three favorite words are "simple", "easy", and "beautiful".

Dabble’s philosophy is to make things as beautiful and simple as possible while still giving you all the tools you need. Some software that focuses on "simple" accomplishes this by removing all features. Not us. It takes a lot of work to make things simple. It is difficult making something easy. That’s why so little software is.

Dabble eliminates everything you don’t need and makes what you do need as easy as possible. We focus on making it easy, discoverable/learnable as you go, and beautiful. Dabble feels amazing.

You may be underwhelmed when you first start Dabble, especially if you’re used to complex software. It was made to be simple. But don’t let it fool you. Dabble has everything you need—mostly kept out of the way until you need it—and nothing you don’t.

Formatting? Don’t worry about it. Dabble formats your manuscript for you so you can just write.

Plot and notes? Keep those together with your manuscript. Why have them in separate files and locations?

Organization? Yes! Every scene in your manuscript is a separate document that can be moved, modified, or worked on alone. But it fits seamlessly within the whole!

Focus? Automatic. Dabble’s tools stay out of the way to keep you in the zone as much as possible while being available when you need them.

Editing? Oh yeah! Sticky notes for the big stuff, comments and highlights for the small stuff. Thesaurus, spelling, grammar, and style checking.

Dabble is smart. It knows how to treat every element in your project. It will auto-number chapters. Link plot notes to your scenes. Calculate your daily required word count to hit your goals, even accounting for days off. One-click export your manuscript in the format your agent or editor is looking for.

Right now, Dabble is for novels. It was built as a platform to support other project types in the future, but it knows what a novel is. You don’t have to configure it to work for novels. It feels like that was what it was built for.

After all, it was.

Helping Craft Your Story

Dabble has a mission.

What started as an idea to make a better tool for writing novels has become a mission to help writers grow. Not only to craft the stories they want to create, but to craft the story of who they want to become. Dabble is about becoming more. Becoming better.

At Dabble, we don't believe in being your best self. It doesn’t exist.

We believe in being your better self. Every day, crafting your story, becoming more than what you were before.

Dabble exists to improve each of us, to help us all craft our own stories. To improve the world one individual at a time. We just so happened to start with writers. But who better to join us in improving the world than writers?

Writers are uniquely positioned to help others become. To craft the stories of readers’ lives. After all...

Fiction is just truth wrapped up in a pretty package. Truth shows us what it is we want to become. And stories are what inspire us to make the change.

Will you join us in changing the world?

Craft your story. Change the world.

I’m Jacob Wright, the creator of Dabble. I’ve had a passion for creating beautiful software since 2004, when I began programming, and a passion for writing since 2010, when I basically became my father.

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