StoryBox 2 is done. Finally. Eight months of tweaking and rearranging and wholesale changing have made StoryBox into a more flexible piece of writing software than it has ever been. And if you’ve used it, you know that it was already flexible.
My goal with StoryBox 2 was to clean up as many of the dusty corners as I could, and to do a better job at having things organized while still available to use everywhere, including in full screen mode.
With that in mind, I created the MenuBar – a strip along the bottom that takes up no more room on the screen than the combination of the Menu and StatusBar that previously existed, but gives you more functionality, including a Countdown Timer, 6 different word count meters, the clock and session timers, and, of course, the menu. The menu, instead of being text, is now a set of six icons. It takes a moment to get used to it, but once you do, I think you’ll like the fact that they are out of your line of sight.
The next big thing is the new export dialog. It allows you to save Export Profiles for each story. The Export Profiles save every setting, as well as a list of the selected files. I use this to make separate eBook exports for each retailer like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This way, I can customize the front and back matter for the retailers, and if I need to make changes, I don’t have to worry about making mistakes when selecting which files to export. The profile saves those selections.
The third big change is the Full Screen mode. In Full Screen, you now have access to every tool in StoryBox. You can do your outlines in full screen, you can do your Storyboarding in full screen, and you can have multiple documents visible side by side in full screen. You can set a different theme for full screen than you have in Windowed mode, and you can even set up the MenuBar differently.
In the coming months, I’m going to back off StoryBox development, to a degree. I will fix bugs over the summer while I concentrate on getting a Mac version of TrackerBox out, as well as the four books I have currently finished writing, but haven’t published. After that, releases will focus on one part of StoryBox at a time, the first of which will be search features.
There are 114 changes from 1.5 to 2.0, many of them minor, but far more than I could talk about in a blog post. Check them out and download StoryBox 2 from StoryBoxSoftware.com.
It’s May 31st. Yes. I was planning to release StoryBox 2 today. I planned to release Fragments today, too. Neither of them are happening.
StoryBox 2 will go out of beta sometime next week. I had to do some updates to TrackerBox that were not planned due to Barnes & Nobles change over from PubIt to NOOK Press. Now, the only thing holding StoryBox 2 up is fixing up the help file. I’ve already done a bit of work on it, but it needs more, especially with all the additions and changes, including changes that occurred after version 1.0 that never got included in the help. I will work on that this weekend.
Fragments has a different story. I started the formatting (which occurs after editing) last Friday and quickly discovered there were things I didn’t like. These things were there despite having been read by four other people, not including myself. The book was written last summer, and I’ve written a lot since then, so perhaps it’s just me growing as a writer, but I couldn’t let the book go out with things I hated in it. So I’m running through it one more time in an attempt to clean out those things that just bug the crap out of me. I’m sure, if I read it again six months from now, there will be more writing in it that I don’t like, but I feel I owe it to you to at least like everything in it at the time I release it.
So you can probably add two or three weeks to the release date for Fragments. I’m going through it as fast as I can, but I’m not rushing it, and it’s a long book. I think I’ve said it before, but it’s nearly 30% longer than Shattered. Reworked is coming along, but it’s probably going to be another 20-30% longer than Fragments. And, though I had planned it as a trilogy (planned is a loose term, here – imagined is probably better), I have an inkling there will be a fourth book.
This also means Zombies Bought the Farm will be delayed, but since it’s far shorter than Fragments, I’m hoping it won’t be much more than a week later than my original plan.
Today (May 31, 2013) is the last intentional day to get Shattered for $2.99. It’s $2.99 at pretty much all of the retailers listed on the Shattered page.
I mostly don’t blog here about my software, anymore. It’s a separate business from my writing, and I prefer to keep the two as separate as possible. However, I wanted to mention a development, just because I thought some of you might be interested.
Today, I uploaded the open beta of StoryBox 2. You can download it and use it, and write awesome stories with it.
StoryBox 2 has a 45 day trial. The days are non-consecutive. If you open it up on one day, it counts as one. If you don’t open it up on a day, that day won’t count. You get 45 actual days to use it. If you open it and forget to open it again for six months, it won’t expire on you in that time.
This is a change. I know it’s a change. I know some people won’t like it, but it’s something I have to do.
The original StoryBox versions will still be available until StoryBox 2 is finished. Those of you who are using StoryBox for free right now can continue to do so until the end of time, but the only updates going forward will be to StoryBox 2.
Also, the price of StoryBox will be going up by $5 once StoryBox 2 is finalized. All existing registered users will be able to upgrade to StoryBox 2 for no cost. So if you want to save yourself $5, register before StoryBox 2 is finalized. I don’t know the exact date, but there’s a list of things to do on the beta page, and when that list is empty, StoryBox 2 will be done.
I hope you try out StoryBox 2, if you are at all inclined toward writing, or if you’ve been using StoryBox 1.x, and I’d like to hear what you think.
A list of some of the major changes:
- Menu moved to bottom center of the screen
- You can now open most tool windows while in full screen mode.
- Themes use larger fonts and have been updated in many instances.
- Combined all of the wordcount bars into a single tool window called Progress
- Reworked the Export window. You can now save export profiles and toggle which files are included directly from the Export screen.
- Individual story properties are now in the Document Properties window when you select the Story document
- Added an Export To HTML option on the right click menu for the outline view
- Many changes to ePub export to fix lingering issues on several devices. It also now passes epubcheck validation.
I don’t usually talk about my software here (anymore), but I had to post this because some of you might think it’s cool.
Between now and the end of NaNoWriMo, my writing software StoryBox is $20 cheaper than normal. Only $14.95!!! If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s National Novel Writing Month, where people try to write a novel in 30 days. It starts Nov 1, and ends Nov 30.
Not long after that last update, I became ill, and then Thanksgiving happened, and then problems with StoryBox crept up and I had to deal deal with them. What that means is that Moony isn’t done yet, and neither is Questioner’s Shadow. I’m really annoyed they’re not done, but they are getting closer, and that’s all that really matters.
The first two things in that list I could do nothing about. The third thing was, and still is, under my control. I thought the 1.5.126 release was simple and wouldn’t have any real issues. However, I was wrong. I forgot a single line of code, so I had to release 1.5.127. And then there was another bug that someone noticed, where I had again forgot a line of code, which led to 1.5.128. The next build came about when someone had an error which led to the notes being overwritten. That took me two days to figure out because it only happened on her machine.
I spent days working on StoryBox, days that I could have been writing.
And here’s the thing. If I’m lucky, I get three or four sales of StoryBox a month. Yup. Time I spend on StoryBox is not paying off financially. Not even close.
When I started StoryBox, I started it because I wanted writing software that worked the way I wanted it to work, and I wanted it on the PC. At the time, only Scrivener was close to what I wanted, and it wasn’t available on the PC. The key, however, is that I was creating a tool so that I could write. I wasn’t creating it to make money.
That’s still true today. StoryBox is only available for sale because I figure that other people might benefit from it. I’ve never wanted to be one of those writers who wrote some software and then made enough money that they chose to become software developers instead of writers.
I’m a writer who happened to make some software.
So, I am announcing that I am taking the next year or so OFF from StoryBox development. I will still fix any bugs that are found and are critical, but I will not be adding new features in 2012. This is not the end of StoryBox. It still works, and it has all the features I need.
This is an effort to concentrate 100% on writing and publishing new books. I’m trying to free myself from distractions, and StoryBox has become a distraction.
Again, this is not the end of the line for StoryBox. It already has all the features I need for writing and publishing novels.
– One exception to the new features embargo. If/when Amazon releases an updated KindleGen, I will add support for it.
– I reserve the right to change my mind about new features if there is something that I determine I absolutely need to write or publish any particular novel.
It’s been over a month, and I’m sure some of you are wondering what’s going on. Look to the right. See the progress meters? They’re getting updated finally.
Mendleson Moony is now moving along smoothly. I’ve written over 11000 words this week alone. If all goes well and I judged the final length correctly, I’ll finish the draft right around Thanksgiving (probably the day after).
I’ve started the final edit of Questioner’s Shadow. I’m currently editing about two chapters each evening. I’d like to push that to three, if I can, but at two chapters a day, I should be done with it in a couple weeks. Then it’s time to do the layout, order the proof and do the final proofread. I’m going to try to push that as much as I can because I’d like to have paper copies available for the holidays so that I can give them away as presents.
You may have noticed that the Fragments progress bar has disappeared. I took it down because I’m not actively working on it. However, it will go back up as soon as the draft of Moony is finished. Seeing as how it’s the sequel to Shattered, I’m hoping to have it available for you before the end of March. It’s not a firm date. I have to write the thing, order the cover art and hope the artist can deliver it on time, and get it edited and formatted. And, let’s face it, I haven’t had a track record of finishing a novel without taking a break somewhere in the middle. However, it IS coming, and it’s the next project in the pipeline.
And the last thing. I’m no longer posting software updates here. Bookmark this link if you want to be informed of updates and have the automatic update check turned off. You could also follow me on twitter (@mark_fassett) if you want. I tend to announce them there.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my cat just vaulted onto my leg with claws extended. I must go tend to my wounds.