Amazon Storybuilder and Storywriter

I found some new writing tools tonight and they got me so excited I figured I’d give them a quick review. They’re called Amazon Storybuilder and Storywriter, they’re free, and if you think Amazon is out to get us all, you probably want to stop reading right here.

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This looks like another way for Amazon to break down the walls of traditional publishing, this time for TV and movie scripts, much the same way they’re doing with book publishing. Like its Kindle Scout program, it looks like you can write and submit scripts for review and possible production. That is cool and all but what has me most excited is their Storybuilder tool, which allows you to create and manipulate virtual note cards on a virtual cork board, much like Scrivener does. Except this is free and it works on your tablet as well as your desktop (mostly; more on that in a bit).

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Here’s a test outline I made really fast to, well, test the functionality. As you can see, this is designed for script outlines off the bat, with Act 1 set up at the start, but you could set it up however you want.

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It is really easy to drag and drop scenes to reorder them. The picture above doesn’t show my cursor, but I’m in the middle of moving the 3rd scene down.

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Now that I’ve gone wild and moved the 3rd scene after the 5th scene, I put Act 2 in front of Act 1. I guess this is going to be a pretty experimental film.

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You can also click on Collapse Cards in the bottom right corner to just show the titles of the cards, and you can click on Manage and select Print-Friendly View to export the outline in list form for easy printing.

I tried opening Storybuilder in Chrome and Safari on my iPad. Both allow you to pull up your outline, add cards, and write/edit cards, but if there is a way to drag and drop cards to rearrange them, I couldn’t figure it out. That’s the one feature I’d like (or if it already exists, the one I need to learn how to use).

So is it perfect? No. But for me it’s pretty damn useful, because at least I can access it when I’m away from my desktop, unlike Scrivener. Plus, it’s free, so that’s hard to beat.

Since Amazon is also offering the Storywriter service as well, I opened it up and messed around with it. It’s basic, and you should probably know how a scripted page should look already, but for the price of free I had nothing to complain about it. Here’s a quick test I whipped up to showcase some of the different elements.

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I should note that once I was inside Storywriter, I couldn’t find a way to exit it other than going back in my history to the Amazon Studios page again.

So hey, free tools and a possible path to getting your script turned into an Amazon TV show or movie. Not bad at all.

The Only City Left Is Here!

2014 07-18 The Only City Left Cover

I am happy to announce that, at long last, The Only City Left is available for purchase (Kindle|Softcover). Since it was first released as a serial, the book has undergone two edits: one minor one to convert it into a book rather than a serial, and a major edit under the guidance of developmental editor R.J. Blain. I am quite happy with the results and I hope that this science-fantasy adventure finds an audience looking for a fantastical adventure through a dying Earth.

If you are a reviewer/blogger and would like a review copy e-mailed to you, please send me an e-mail at lithicbee+tocl1@gmail.com. Please include a link to your site.

Thanks to everyone who supported me along the way, be it through comments and shares on the original serial, or words of encouragement as I spent months editing the book.

Work on Book 2, tentatively titled The Fifth House, proceeds apace.

(The above links are affiliate links, meaning if you use them to purchase anything on Amazon, I will receive a small payment in return. One more way to support an independent author. Thank you.)