Monday, 10 December 2012

The Subplot Winter Sale is now on

Subplot is now on sale for Christmas and the New Year. The sale will end on January 7th, 2013.

The app is on sale at the following prices: $19.99 USD / £13.99 GBP / €17.99 Euro.

(Reduced FROM from the following normal prices: $30.99 USD / £21.99 GBP / €27.99 Euro).

It's roughly 1/3 off the regular price (limited by the Apple sales price banding that you have to select for the App Store).

Subplot is an application for novelists and screenwriters that allows you to store data about your Characters, Props, Locations, Events, and Story Goals, and then pull them all together into scenes, in order to keep you on track with your writing. A set of reports allows you to export information about your data.

Wishing everyone a safe, and happy Christmas and New Year.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Tinkering with artwork

I've been playing around with some artwork ideas today. There's a new image under the description for Character Folio, sort of a magazine style ad, and it also stars the characters from my novella, Life Support.

It's been really good learning about perspective planes (to twist a screenshot of the app), and bringing it all together in my "go to" app for composing all the different elements for this sort of thing, Art Text.

Art Text is a great little program, and has been absolutely irreplaceable when I've been doing things like creating the logos and icons for the apps that I've developed, so a big thank you to everyone at BeLight Software for creating such a useful (and fun!) application.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Update News

There is an update for Savings Jar available now. The headline change is that for those of you who have been asking for the ability to track loftier goals beyond 99 days: go for it!

Savings Jar now supports goals of up to 999 days.

In other news, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is well underway now. If you're feeling the need to do a bit more planning with your story as you write it, then give Subplot or Character Folio a try.

Good luck to everyone taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. Happy writing!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Character Folio Launched

Our third application is available from today, and it's another app that's hopefully going to be very useful for writers: Character Folio.

Character Folio is an easy-to-use program for anyone that wants to capture information about a character they’re creating. Whether you’re a novelist, a screenwriter, a game designer, or even a writer of comic books, Character Folio allows you to store a wealth of information about your characters in one easy-to-manage location.

It uses a tabbed binder metaphor, grouping details about your characters into six different sections: Vitals, Personality, Health, Beliefs, Biography, and Notes. An image library allows you to add different pictures to represent your character as well. A set of reports allows you to export the details for your characters to PDF.

Character Folio Vitals Screen
Character Folio

You can add more than one character per folio - I tend to create one folio per novel/story, and go from there. 

Use Character Folio to help you organise your designs for your characters. There are data fields covering a wide range of character aspects, from their dream job, through to their darkest secret, along with the typical height and weight and descriptive fields.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Subplot Sale Ending

It's the last couple of days for the Subplot anniversary sale. The app will return to its normal pricing from 1st November.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Split Personality

I'm about to embark on a new endeavour: eBook publishing. In order to keep everything straight in my mind, I've set up a different blog to focus on the writing and publishing side of things: Craig's Writing Corner.

Please feel free to check it out, I'm going to try and document my experiences of the publishing process as it happens.

The main Twitter account will remain to cover both areas, so any announcements will always go there too.

Happy writing!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Subplot sale

To celebrate Subplot's one year anniversary, and also to support anyone attempting National Novel Writing Month in November, Subplot is now on sale on the Mac App Store.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Time Flies

A year ago today, Subplot was released onto the Mac App Store. It's been a busy year. Savings Jar followed in December, and real life intruded from January, all the way through the summer.

But, there are two projects on the horizon that I'm really excited about: -
  • I'm getting closer and closer to being ready to releasing my first novella. I've also had to learn about eBook formatting, as well as designing the cover. I'll do a cover reveal closer to release.
  • There's also another app that's nearly ready as well. Once the submission is ready, there should be more information about that.

So hopefully towards the end of September/October, there should be a lot more news.

Happy writing!

Monday, 3 September 2012


This time last year, I was waiting for Subplot to go through the Apple App Store submission process. As it happens, it went through first time, and was ready for the launch date, 19th September. Well, the year's raced by, and it's coming up to the one year anniversary of Subplot's release, so thank you so much to everyone that has given the app a try over the last year.

Currently I'm working on readying a novella and I'll hopefully make it available soon.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


The Subplot summer sale has now finished. Thanks to everyone who has given it a try, hopefully you're finding it useful!

Happy writing.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Subplot Sale Ends Soon

The Subplot sale is still on until the end of July, but the app will revert to the normal price from 1st August. Thanks to everyone that's given it a try during the sale period, hope you're enjoying using the program.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Subplot Summer Sale

Subplot is now on sale on the Mac App Store at 50% off the original price.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Update news

As we're getting into summer, and with July 4th looming for our friends across the pond, we're going to be running a sale for Subplot starting in July.

So if you're thinking about giving Subplot a whirl, wait and have a look from Sunday, 1st July.

Friday, 1 June 2012

There is no try

Another month down and summer's looming. There's a lot of things starting to gear up - E3 for games next week; cue lots of announcements and unveilings. There's nothing to announce here at AFK though yet - still mulling over application development options.

There's also Comic-Con in July, which I only thought about going to visit once they announced that the tickets has sold out. I guess we really do want what we can't have.

Most recently I've been kicking around some game ideas that have gradually been building in my mind. Game development's a huge undertaking, and the market is brutal - but potentially getting started with some design work for a game is on the cards.

I still have to finish my novella. We have a long, Jubilee bank holiday weekend this weekend in Wales, so I'm going to try and finish it. That's a weak sentence right there - with the "try" in it. So scratch that. I'm going to finish it. Do, or do not. There is no try.

Thank you Master Yoda.

Happy Writing.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Update news

Yes we're still ticking here at AFK Creative. It's been a busy month though, with a lot of travel and work and more travel relating to work.

I've read and loved The Hunger Games trilogy, and have a huge stack of books to get through from the library as well.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Joss Whedon's big screen take on The Avengers.

There's not a great deal on the gaming horizon that's grabbing me, so it will most likely be picking up things I haven't had time to look at, like Mass Effect 3 and Uncharted 3 - as well as finishing Portal 2 and many more.

Of course perhaps I should spend some of that gaming time writing than reading and gaming, but I find the gaming to be quite inspirational in terms of creating those "what if" questions that spawn a lot of writing.

And then there's Subplot and Savings Jar - they're still there on the App Store. Thanks to everyone that's given either of them a try. Hopefully over the summer we'll be able to get to the finish with a third application, one that's also hopefully of use to writers out there.

Happy writing.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The importance of a good ending

When I'm writing, I often have trouble with the endings. I know roughly how I want things to turn out, but I think I could do with mapping out the exact ending a lot earlier.

In fact, I may go as far as to make it the first scene I write.

There are many different ways of going about your writing, and no one should tell you how your story should end; after all it's a personal thing, it's your story, and you can end it however you like.

You do however have a responsibility to your reader to make the ending consistent and logical and satisfying. It doesn't have to be rainbows and unicorns all the time, with everyone living happily ever after, but it does need to resolve the most pressing questions that a reader may have.

The reason that I'm bringing this up is down to the recently launched Mass Effect 3 game, from BioWare. I haven't played it yet, but I have completed the first two in the series, and they are superb games. They thrive on giving you a choice. You can alter the way your story is told through making a variety of decisons along the way.

It's not where you're going, it's how you get there.

The internet is currently all aflutter with discontent over the ending to Mass Effect 3; not because (and potentially a big spoiler alert here!) it's such a downbeat ending, but because it removed the relevance of your decision making throughout the entire series of games. For a game built on the notion of player choice affecting an outcome, that's quite a betrayal.

And that's why I think people are so upset - we all know from stories we've read and films we've seen that not everything turns out for the best. But if you're going to have that sort of ending, you need to give people closure.

It's the same thing with writing. Imagine you're reading a novel and you're invested in the characters and their plight, and right at the end, the author just finishes the story without explaining what happened to everyone. That's the author's right - it's their story after all; but how many people are going to give the next story a chance if they know they're not getting a satisfying conclusion?

It's not about whether the ending is "good" or "bad", "upbeat", or "bone-crushingly depressing" - it's about whether the reader (or player) can walk away knowing why the ending happened the way it did, and what happened to the characters they encountered along the way.

Video games are often ridiculed for their story qualities, and in many cases, it's been deserved. Mass Effect however is one of those series that really showcased how to tell stories well in the medium of video gaming. I think that's what's gotten so many people upset: this is a series that started in 2007. These characters have been around for 5 years. They deserved a better send-off than the one they got.

Hopefully that won't be the case with your characters or mine should they be lucky enough to see print.

I will get to play Mass Effect 3 at some point. It's a wonderful science-fiction universe that BioWare have created, so if you haven't tried any of them, give them a whirl.

Happy writing.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Creativity in many forms

There's a new microcomputer available, the Raspberry Pi.

It's a great concept and harkens back to the early 1980's when the BBC Model B and Acorn Electron appeared for the first time. The Pi is designed to get kids (anyone really) interested in programming with an inexpensive and easy to use route to doing so.

The Acorn Electron was the first computer I ever owned, and it shaped my future. From my love of games to my love of programming, to my itch to be creative and the possibilities that writing held.

I'm 100% sure that Subplot and Savings Jar wouldn't exist if I hadn't had the opportunity to learn with and use my trusty little Electron.

So if you think you can't ever program, if you think it's all too complicated and expensive, have a look at the Raspberry Pi; there may be someone in your life who is just looking for that gateway to unleashing their own creativity.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Crumbs it's been a while

It's been a couple of weeks since I last updated here: work has been occupying a lot of time, and a lot of travelling!

That hasn't left much time for pushing on with app number 3, nor with the almost finished novella.

But I'm hoping to have more time devoted to both somehow soon - especially as I really like the new iBooks Author tool from Apple. I have a few ideas for that that I'm very excited about.

It's just a shame that the real world has had to intrude on my timetable for these projects. As it is, I hope everyone that's been giving Subplot and Savings Jar a go are having a good experience with them.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012


It's been very busy here for the last week, mainly due to work and travel.

Work is still progressing on the 3rd app in the AFK stable, but it's still under wraps at the moment.

Thanks to everyone trying Subplot and Savings Jar; I hope you're finding them both to be useful tools.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Subplot news

Subplot's review is out in the latest print edition of MacWorld magazine. It's very nice to see it up in print, and I hope that everyone that's purchased the app over the last few months is finding it useful.

Have a great weekend, happy writing.

Saturday, 14 January 2012


There's a new app in the cooker here at AFK. Hopefully I'll have more to share about it soon. It does however return to the writing arena like Subplot, rather than the brief detour into finance that Savings Jar took.

 Happy writing.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Creating Characters

It can be difficult as a writer, thinking up new and interesting characters for stories. Often there's advice to just pick some traits or personality quirks to make the character stand out, but I think too often, that sort of character seems to just "be" a walking quirk; the girl who's forever biting her lip, or twirling her hair. The guy who's always "thoughtfully" rubbing his chin or neck etc.

Here's a couple of ideas for kick-starting your thought processes about having rounded characters. I'm sure all of these have been mentioned and suggested somewhere before, by many other people, but here we go: -

Take a personality test as the character. 
Fill out one of the many online tests in the guise of your character, and see what pops up. In particular, pay attention to the negative traits that are common with a particular type of personality. As an example, Wikipedia have the following information

amongst others.

Do a horoscope for the character
It doesn't matter whether you believe in astrology or not, doing a birth chart for a character can often throw up surprising combinations of attributes or traits that you may not have considered before.

Pick pairs of things that would never normally go together and contrast them
If you have to have a tough-guy persona, have something in your story that requires them to show the opposite trait, gentleness.
If you have the super-efficient and cool-headed business woman, find some way of making her give up control and lose her temper.
Pick a hobby that you'd never think of for a character - the fighter pilot who's really into ballet, the ballet dancer who is lithe enough to be an ace cat-burglar.

Just don't go too crazy for the sake of trying to be different. Your readers still have to believe in the characters after all!

Happy writing.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year

It's a miserable day in the UK - storm force winds and rain. Such a lovely time to be getting on with 2012.

But in the midst of all that, here's hoping that you all have a great year.

I'm hoping that Subplot and Savings Jar can build on their current successes, and that I can carry on writing more and more.

I'm mulling over an idea for another app, as well as thinking about ways to add value in to Subplot and Savings Jar.

And after giving the "sprint" mentality a try for writing, I'm going to be using it this year for sure.

Happy 2012 everyone.