Saturday, 7 February 2015

A look back - and a look forward

Crumbs, it's February already, and the last time I posted anything was Christmas.

A big thank you to everyone who has given my apps a try - I hope you're finding them useful. I think the key to successful app-design, is to concentrate on making something that you want to use for yourself: don't go for the thing that you think will sell - go for the thing that you want to use.

Subplot came about initially because there wasn't a writing tool around that suited the way I wanted to design my novels.

Savings Jar came about because I wanted a little utility for myself to look at saving.

Character Folio arrived because I really wanted to organise information about my novel characters in far greater detail than anything else on the market at the time.

Word Count Dashboard actually came about because I used Savings Jar to count "words" when I was writing the first draft of my novel, Spark of Humanity, and it worked so well, that I rewrote it to specifically deal with word counts.

I wish I had a list of every book that I've ever read: that simple thought gave rise to Shelf Life (even though I can't back-fill it with everything I've read over the years, I can keep track of things going forward).

Peace of Mind came about because I wanted an easy way of leaving behind a summary of my affairs for my loved ones, and it's something that a lot of people don't think about until it's too late. I don't think there's anything else out there quite like it.

Plotline came about because I love the iPad's portability, and wanted something to help me plot out a synopsis on the go - and deliberately without delving into the full range of details that Subplot would demand - sometimes you have to see where the story takes you rather than concentrating on the tiny details up-front.

Novel Ideas came about initially as a way of learning how to program specifically for the form-factor of the iPhone. It's a tiny app, but I know that with that, I have a little virtual organiser for my writing ideas, and I never have to worry about not having a pad and paper with me.

Continuity was a daunting app to build - it's not easy to try and distill what is needed to edit a novel, but I've tried, and it's something I use, especially most recently, as I'm finishing up with Spark of Humanity.

And I think that's the biggest thing that I'm pleased about, looking over my app portfolio: I use all my apps. I wrote them for me - the fact that other people out there enjoy using them is a bonus, and a wonderful one at that.

It's the same with writing - the stories I write, are primarily the things that I want to read.

So next time you're sat down wondering what app to build, or what novel to write - make it one you want to use, rather than one you think other people want.

If you get the first part right, the second will follow.

Currently I'm looking at some game designs - I've loved role-playing games for years, and although it's a big task, I'm working on one for the iPad. That doesn't mean there won't be some updates or other apps down the line - as I use all my own apps, if there's something else I think they need, I'll be sure to add to them.

Happy writing!