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!