Monday, 17 April 2017


I've been working in Unity lately, which is starting to click, although there's a huge amount I don't know. I'm still working on my RPG idea, and have some basic character creation screens up and running - and saving correctly to SQLite, so there are a few tiny milestones being hit here and there.

As an aside, my Macbook is coming up for seven years old, and it's still going strong. The only thing I've changed with it, is an upgrade to 4GB RAM a couple of years ago. It's running whatever the latest macOS is (I miss the cat version numbering, mountains are rubbish) without problem. Xcode does take an age to get going though, so I may have to look at a new machine this year.

The Unity work has made me think about porting my iOS apps to Unity, which would enable some different platform versions (Windows Store, Android for instance). That could be an interesting challenge. I'll have to see how it goes.

Happy writing!

Thursday, 9 March 2017


Crumbs, February's already gone, and next week is mid-March.

I've been doing some Unity development, working on the design for my game. I may try and do it all in Unity instead of native iOS. That will give me a lot more platform options down the line, at the expense of the really nice auto-layout/constraint functionality that iOS provides.

One other benefit of Unity is that it's reasonably straight-forward to integrate with SQLite - and that makes cross-platform much more viable again versus Core Data.

Hopefully when Unity 2017 arrives it will include some features to help organise a project. At the moment it just feels as if a non-trivial program designed in Unity will just be this giant mess of scripts and public GameObjects exposed on the IDE.

I'm also still trying to work out what my next writing project is, and I've finished the edits of the second draft of Eight Minutes.

Happy writing!

Sunday, 29 January 2017


Thankfully it's nearly the end of January. A horrible time where the days are short but feel long, and the nearest bank holiday in the UK is several months away!

I'm currently in the throes of deciding on my next writing project, while editing Eight Minutes. I also started work on the iOS version of my game project, and I hope to share some more information about that soon (even if it's just the hair-wrenching frustration of trying to get Xcode to do auto-layout and size classes properly across multiple iPhone and iPad screen sizes... sigh).

Plans for the year: -
  • Write two new novels
  • See what happens with Intertwined at Gollancz
  • Get Eight Minutes published
  • Build the iOS game
  • Look at the app portfolio and see where improvements can be slotted in

So, there's a lot on the slate. Part of all that work also involves artwork and imagery so there's a huge learning curve as I hopefully improve my art skills as well.

In amongst all of that, the most important thing to me, is to just keep writing.

So, whatever you're doing this year, I hope you enjoy it, and it's something you love doing.

Happy writing!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Happy Christmas

It's end of the year wrap up time again. I don't know about you all, but in general, 2016's been a bit rubbish. From Brexit and the US election, to an awful lot of misery around the world.

I've had a couple of bright spots: -

I finished Intertwined
I wrote a new draft of Eight Minutes
I've written every single day - it's never going to stop now.

I guess the biggest thing for me this year was being the runner-up in the 2016 One Giant Write competition here in the UK, for Intertwined.

Hopefully they'll make a decision soon on publishing Intertwined.

Thanks to everyone who's tried my apps this year. I hope they've helped you towards your own writing goals.

I hope you all have a safe, happy, and creative Christmas and new year. Happy writing!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Where does the time go

I think November is the first month I've missed posting anything at all here since I started. Time has just slipped past with everything being very busy.

I'm still working on my interactive fiction idea, as well as editing a manuscript, and writing every day.

Thanks to everyone who has tried my apps in the last couple of months, particularly in the lead up to the just-finished National Novel Writing Month. I hope you're finding the apps useful.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Short and sweet

Only a quick update for now. I'm still working on a potential interactive fiction game outline, and I'm also letting rest a draft of a new novel.

It's National Novel Writing Month in a few days, so if you're gearing up to take part, I wish you the best of luck.

I'm still writing every day. It's a habit now. A must.

I'm still working on some app ideas as well - but there's only so many hours in the day - and between a day job, writing, editing, and game design, not even counting actually 'living' - some things will take a bit longer than others.

Happy writing!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Happy Birthday, Subplot

On 19th September (tomorrow as I write this) Subplot, and AFK Creative as a whole, is five years old. It's been an interesting time. I started building Subplot initially because I couldn't find anything to help me plan novels in the way that I wanted.

Actually there was one particular rewriting problem that I had, which prompted the design of Subplot. I have an old story, Eight Minutes, which I first wrote in the late 90's and revisited in the mid-2000's. Around 2011, I wanted to look at redrafting the story, but technology had moved on a great deal. When I wrote Subplot, I used a minidisc as a plot device, for data storage that the characters needed. Jump forward to 2011, and minidiscs have gone the way of the floppy disc and the zip drive.

I needed to replace all uses of the minidisc in my manuscript with a reference to a USB drive, but it wasn't enough to do a find and replace: there were so many variations of minidisc, disc, drive, etc. It was a painful exercise, and it made me think: I'd like some software that would help me keep track of where I've used all the important 'things' in my story.

From then, Subplot was born. Keeping track of who, what, where, when, and why, for a novel or a screenplay. It was quite well received, getting 3.5 mice out of 5 from MacWorld at the time.

Since then, most of the apps that I've created have expanded on what I want as a writer: Word Count Dashboard (which I use every day, as I write every day). Character Folio, which I'm always referring to for notes on my characters. Continuity, which I use when editing.

There's also Plotline, on the iPad - i created the outline for my novel "Intertwined" in Plotline, and that's the novel that I'm really happy to report, won the runner-up place in the Gollancz/LiteratureWorks "One Giant Write" competition recently.

I know not everyone writes in the same way - some people like to plan everything, some people don't. The software I've designed has been very nicely received by my customers, so I'd just like to say a very big thank you to everyone who's tried one of my apps over the years. I hope they've helped you get a bit more enjoyment out your own writing.

Happy writing!