StoryShop: Better Stories Faster, Beta Test


StoryShop for Planning a Novel

The beta version of StoryShop, an online application for building a story, is out. The aim of the application? Here’s what the creators have to say.

The better you know your characters, your plot’s key points, and your world before you start writing, the better and faster the story will pour out of you once you begin … and, honestly, the more fun you’ll have while telling that story.
​Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, and David Wright

With that in mind, I decided to do my beta testing by creating a new world, with new characters, and an outline for each story in the world. I started by creating a new story world.

Story Outline (s)

The creators plan on providing a variety of pre-formatted outlines for quick story creation. For now, you need to outline the beats of the story on your own. If you are planning a series, you can set up a unique outline within the story world for each of the stories in the series.

Elements of the Story World

The green circle is for Elements in the story world. These can be settings, magic spells, laws, cooking utensils, recipes–anything that pertains to the unique world. Although the Elements look simple this is a great place to hone in on the details of the unique world of the story. Your hero’s home. Your heroine’s garden. You can flesh out the details so that when you are writing you have a true sense of place for each scene.


You’ve probably guessed that the teal blue circle is for characters. Here you can collect details and background about each character in the story world. I plan on marking mine as characters who continue through the series and those who appear in only one story.

You can see from the bottom example that you can add images for each character. When you click on a character, a page opens up for details.

Character Deep Dive Features

StoryShop has some built-in features, to get you started with you character development. Each character has a header image, plus an image for the character. Attributes allow you to quickly add descriptive elements like height, hair color, distinguishing characteristics, magic powers, or anything else.
The Character DNA questions are prompts to get you started thinking about the deeper character elements like biggest fear, likes, beliefs, etc. You have the option to skip a DNA question. 
Below what you see in the image is you place to expand as needed in a section simply titled Notes.

Beta is Straightforward, but More to Come

The first two days the software (yep, this is SaaS, Software as a Service) had some access and usability bugs. Beta testers send feedback and the responsive development team works to make adjustment. I sent some questions to the team on future plans. Seth Atwood, Co-Founder, CTO, StoryShop replied.

We’re planning to release the first of our tutorial videos next week, and it will include a lot more detail about how to use all the various bits of the app.

As to character names – yes, they are editable. You should be able to click on the name in their profile and edit it directly. Saving happens automatically most places in StoryShop when a user stops typing for a second.

Our current plans are to control collaboration at the World level. We’ll be allowing two types of shared access to Worlds: “Read Only” and “Read+Write”. Our thinking is there may be a case, like when working with a content editor, where we may want people to be able to see our Worlds without making changes. On the other hand, there are many cases, like at Sterling & Stone, where users want to fully share the ability to co-create a World.

I’m looking forward to the power of this creation tool. I see StoryShop as a writer’s super tool to do all the planning and detail work that comes before actually writing the first sentence of a story.

Series creators will find this tool especially helpful because the entire series is contained, outline by outline, within the one Story World.

For now there are instabilities, including the possibility of losing everything. Beta testers are advised to make a copy of all entries.

StoryShop will be available after this first beta testing by subscription currently at a base price of $9.99/month, or $99/year!  Affordable! 

If you’d like to read a short story created without StoryShop, get your copy of The Used Virgin on Amazon

Zara Altair

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