In early days of personal computer, we're talking mid-'80s here, there was speculation that someday books would all be writen by computers. It sounded a little too science-fictiony for most writers. After all, words on a page---no matter how well they appear to work together---are meaningless without insights and experiences of writer behind them.
At this point in time, I'm happy to report, computers are not writing all our books for us.
However, writing software has progressed far beyond basic word processing abilities of Word and Word Perfect.
Today, we have a wide variety of story development software. Most can be used to write novels or screenplays, even television scripts or stage plays. Programs such as Truby's Blockbuster or Dramatica Pro teach their own unique approach to story development. Other programs, such as Power Structure, StoryBase, and StoryWeaver provide prompts for help with character, structure, and theme.
They do not write story for us.
But they are coming closer.
Dramatica Pro, for instance, uses what it refers to as a story engine, that reveals relationships of deep structure independent of subject and content. It takes you by hand and shows you what character, plot and theme issues you need to address. And finally, it weaves all your plot points together for maximum Dramatica Pro impact.
Truby's Blockbuster helps you find best story form for your genre work, helps you develop 7 keys that provide nucleus for your story, and then lays out 22 steps of story development to carry your plot from start to finish.
I've used most of these programs at one time or another. While I believe Dramatica Pro has great potential and a unique take on story development, it also has a steep learning curve. Personally, I turn to writing software to save time. If it drains my time to learn how to use it properly, then it defeats its purpose.