How To Make A Visual Novel: Tips For Aspiring Authors 

by CJ McDaniel // March 14  

A visual novel is a type of novel that features static graphics. It makes use of anime-style art. As the name suggests, this type of novel have images in them.

Now that you understand the meaning of a visual novel let’s look at how you can create one from scratch.

Despite the popularity of this type of novel, not everyone understands how to create one. However, you can create this type of novel if you have the tools, knowledge and creative skills. The process is quite tricky, but you can deliver a stunning novel in a heartbeat.

Keep reading as we explain what a visual novel entails in detail.

Introduction To Creating A Visual Novel

Before making a visual novel, there are some steps you need to follow:

Choosing your engine:

The first step in making a visual novel is choosing your project’s engine. Although there’s a way to handle the project’s technical aspect, there are several easier ways.

One of the wonderful engines for making this kind of novel is Ren’Py. It’s very easy to use, even for those that have no coding experience. You’ll find detailed tutorials on how to operate the engine. Take note that selecting an engine is just the foundation. The process of making this kind novel is still like the process of creating a story.

Also, Cloud Novel makes creating a visual novel a breeze. You can make your novel to be episodic, i.e., in the form of episodes. The coding is quite easy to interpret and understand.

Other engines available include TyranoBuilder, Visual Novel Maker, and Unity. You can check them out.

Decide your project’s scope:

The second step is to decide your project’s scope. There’s a need for you to know how you want your visual novel to look, your novel’s status, the duration, and the type.

The length of your visual novel:

The length is one of the first things to decide on. Do you want to create a long, medium, or a short visual novel? Of course, you should know that the longer the novel, the more time and effort you need to invest in it.

For instance, if you’re looking to create a short novel of 2-3 hours, you may spend several months on it. If you want to create a medium-length novel of 10-15 hours, you may spend up to a year on it. And if you want to create a longer novel of 20+ hours, you may spend up to 18 months.

Type of visual novel:

After deciding on the length of your visual novel, it’s time to decide the type. For example, if it’s a genre, you’ll need to state which genre you want for the project. The genres may include Sci-fi, Fantasy, Comedy, Romance, Historical, Drama, etc.

Recruitment and roles:

The next step is recruitment and roles. Please start with the recruitment process, as it’s one of the most important factors determining your project’s success.

Only recruit skilled individuals with passion and motivation in what they do. You can give each candidate a trial and rate their performances. This process is quite tedious and tiring. But if you get it right, you’re visual novel will be a success. So it’s worth the time and effort.

Secondly, you’ll have to assign roles to each of the recruits. Assign roles to individuals you trust would deliver. There’s also a need to define a clear hierarchy.

In other words, there must be a leading character. Other roles may include writer, artist, editor, programmer, composer, audio engineer, voice actors, etc.

The Visual Aspect Of A Visual Novel

There are visual aspects of a visual novel, and they are as follows:

The backgrounds: 

Some people don’t care whether you choose an original picture or get a picture elsewhere for your background. Nonetheless, it is very important to use a unique background because some people may be quite observant. Hand-drawn sprites look better on hand-drawn backgrounds. So, create a background that complements both the text and the character.

The character Sprites: 

As a visual novel newbie, avoid using loads of characters. However, each major character in your project may need half a dozen sprites.

Computer Graphics (CGs):  

Computer graphics are images made to appear in certain scenes. These images are best used to express a certain event that you can’t show accurately. It may be by moving the character sprites such as sex, dying moment, transformation sequence, etc.

Special Effects: 

It may not seem so important, though, but a well-placed effect can be very crucial. Several effects may prove to be very useful in making a visual novel.

An example of visual representation is Quartett; used to evoke emotion. Umineco: “When They Cry” is also a sublime example that shows the power of special effects in making a visual novel, as you use effects to plot point. Even the way text is displayed on the screen is important.

The Audio Aspects Of A Visual Novel

As there are visual aspects of a visual novel, so you have audio aspects. Thus, the audio aspects are as follows:

Background Music:

Background music is very important when making a visual novel. It is one reason why this type of novel can dodge a lower quality of wordsmithing than traditional novels. If a piece of awesome music is played in the background, it may help your novel in many ways.

However, the background music has to complement the text and the scene. For example, when it’s a Plot Twist, use ominous Latin chanting. If it’s a Black Comedy, use soundtrack dissonance and if it’s a Slice of Life scene, use any calming music. In essence, before adding background music, study the scene to know which music is best for the scene.

Sound Effects:

Like any other audio or visual media, the sound effect can have a beautiful impact on your visual novel. They are very important, especially to action-based visual novels such as Demonbane.

Voice Acting: 

It is also important. You can hire professional voice actors that can deliver great work. Good voice acting will add spice to your visual novel.

The Novel Aspect Of A Visual Novel

There’s also a novel aspect of a visual novel, and they are as follows:

Plot Structure: 

This is just a breakdown of your story. Before that, you need to answer a certain question. Do you want your visual novel to have multiple routes? If no, you could make a Kinetic Novel or Linear Visual Novel.

And if yes, how do you intend to tie the routes together? Do you want them to share the same fundamental Aesop, just like in Katawa Shoujo? Or do you want to make them have no relation at all, just like in Kira-Kira? It would be best if you find the answers to these questions before creating a novel.

Writing Style: 

As you may know, people develop different writing techniques for prose and poetry. Some use Repetition, Symbolism, Allegories, and so on. Use these techniques in your visual novel effectively. Even with background music, you also have to try using a good wordsmith.

The character: 

The character includes the protagonist, the nice guy, troubled but cute, a jerk with a heart of gold, villain protagonist, etc. Some other characters may be important if you have multiple routes that center on specific characters.

However, keep in mind that those characters should be very interesting. If you plan to make a Linear Visual Novel, it must have interesting secondary characters as well.


After making your visual novel, it’s time for you to make sales. That’s where marketing comes in. After you have successfully made your novel, you should find your audience through marketing.

It’s important to do aggressive marketing. Let your novel resound in your audience’s minds whenever they think of a visual novel to read. The number of visual novels in the market is on the high side. But if you channel great effort into marketing, you will see massive results.


Making a visual novel is not an easy task, especially for a newbie. It requires patience, hard work, effort, and enthusiasm to avoid failure. However, it’s something you will be proud of if successfully created.

However, if you have followed the guides highlighted above, you should be creating your first novel that features static graphics in no time. And aside from investing effort and time, of course, you’ll also invest money to make this type of novel.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!