Saturday, 28 June 2014

Continuity released

Our new app, Continuity is released today, and is available on the Mac App Store.

Designed for novel writers and editors, Continuity is not designed to help you as you write a particular draft of a novel.

Instead, Continuity is there for you when you're editing the draft. 

Use Continuity as you go through the manuscript, and the app allows you to keep track of what the reader knows about the story. For example, as the author, you know your heroine has blonde hair, blue eyes, and a scar on her leg from an old school injury that's going to be important in the story later - but what does the reader know?

Continuity allows you to log details about characters, outfits, plotlines, locations, and props so that you can assess whether the manuscript has given the reader the right information at the right time, to make sense of the story. You can also keep track of costume changes for the characters - was your villain wearing a cashmere scarf in chapter 3, but suddenly not in chapter 4?

The app also includes sections to help you look at how the manuscript is working in terms of structure, conflict, pacing, grammar, setting, point-of-view, dialogue, protagonist, antagonist, and timeline.

Continuity provides some functionality for editors as well: a style section to keep track of things like the number format to use, and what dictionary has been used, and also an A-Z style sheet of terms used in the manuscript. There is also a facts section, to log details of anything that needs to be verified.

Continuity also allows you to import certain data from Subplot, Character Folio, and Plotline.

Note that the app doesn't hold full character and plotline information (scenes are not imported) when you import them: the whole point of the app is to see what the manuscript is telling you - not what you think it's telling you. It works as a more holistic approach to looking at the story - so rather than importing scenes from Plotline, it just imports the plotlines themselves - and then as the editor, you can check what happens, and where, and know what the story is telling the reader, rather than what your notes planned for the story to tell the reader.

I wrote Continuity to help me in the editing of my own novel manuscripts, so hopefully you'll find it useful for this crucial part of the writing process too.

Happy writing (and editing!)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Shelf Life update

An update for the Mac version of Shelf Life should be available later today on the Mac App Store. This version makes it easier to add release dates where you don't have a specific date available, and also allows ratings in increments of 0.5, rather than 1 (so you can rate things as 7.5 rather than just 7 or 8 etc.)

The minimum OSX version is now 10.7 (due in part to changes in behind the scenes requirements for the App Store submission process).

Note that due to the changes to data storage, the old version of Shelf Life will NOT be able to use the new version's data files, so if you do have Shelf Life installed on a couple of machines, please ensure you upgrade all of them at the same time.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Summer update

I'll be launching a new app for the Mac soon: Continuity. It's a tool to help both writers and editors with the novel editing process - hopefully people will find it useful. It's something I'm using myself to help with the editing of my novel, Spark of Humanity. Continuity is due to launch before the end of the month.

I'm also working on an iPad version of Shelf Life. This has come about because I was relying on using a Dropbox copy of my Shelf Life Wanted Books report when I was at the library/bookshop, and I wanted more immediate access to my Shelf Life data.

So, designed using iOS 7, Shelf Life for the iPad includes most of the same features as its Mac sibling - with the exception of a more simplified Find/Search functionality. You'll also be able to import your existing Shelf Life data files to the iPad version. The app's nearly finished, and I really like how it's shaping up - it follows the same colour scheme as the Mac version, so it should be very easy to pick up for anyone who already has Shelf Life on the Mac whoe wants a more portable version.

I think Shelf Life could be very useful for a school/university environment: a teacher/tutor could create a reading list using the Mac version, and email that file to course/subject pupils. Adding that list into their own iPad versions of Shelf Life would give students an easy way to look at and keep track of the books / required reading material for a course.

Barring any last minute hiccups, the iPad version of Shelf Life should be ready by the start of July.

Enjoy the sun!