WordKeeperAlpha 2.0 development continues

Some of you may be familiar with my little side project WordKeeperAlpha, but I'm not going to assume a whole lot. If not, its a tool I created, and am creating, for authors to keep track of their writing habits. One of the most important thing about writing books is, duh, writing, and doing that on a regular basis. The idea behind WordKeeper is that you will be able to see your writing habits graphed out over time, set goals and meet them. In theory, this will help you write more and get your story done quicker.

The first, and current version of WordKeeper is certainly a first effort, and handy enough for one of its original purposes: setting goals and seeing your progress along them. The graphing function is a complete hopeless cause using code that was largely aped from a tutorial and poorly done. The design is … well, designed by me, which is to say primary colors largely favoring blue and not much else. In other words, while I was pretty proud of it last year, this year I'm a little embarrassed by it.

Which is why I'm working on WordKeeperAlpha 2.0! This is pretty much a complete redesign of the original that I'm rebuilding from the ground up. I didn't really want to, but sometimes when something is broke you just have to replace it. Granted, I'm using a lot of lessons I learned from the first go around on 2.0, but I'm still having to redo pretty much everything.

This time around I'm using Twitter Bootstrap, which any designer will find blatantly obvious. I'm also incorporating several new bits and pieces, such as more jQuery, a different approach to security that actually lets me do the 'Remember Me' functionality, which is nice. Instead of just doing things, I'm focusing as much as I can on doing them right. Fast loading times, less load on the server and all the UI sense I can bring to bear. Like I said when I was making the original, I'm not a designer, but I try to get by and beg the forgiveness of my betters.

The charting part of WKA 2.0 will be handled by some software designed just for the purpose of charting, HighCharts, which makes the whole process much easier, and MUCH better looking. Currently I'm trying out a few different charting options, seeing what makes the most sense to include initially and what doesn't work so well. For example, the day by day chart is pretty good, but looks a little cramped in a full month view. A year by year chart will be needed eventually, but since I have all of 21 registered users, half of which are friends and family just checking it out (thanks Dad), isn't really needed. Five years down the road, it'll be a neat thing to look at.

Another big thing that I'm adding in 2.0 is Projects. While its nice to know that you wrote 1300 words yesterday, I think it will be handy to know what you wrote these words on. Are you blogging way more than you write on your books? Are you neglecting your blog by the numbers? You'll be able to see this reflected in the graphs and set word goals by projects and define sub-goals. It'll be pretty spiffy when its all done.

And there will finally be some Twitter and Facebook integration, and an 'author page' that you can share with friends and fans so that they can see your progress, what you're working on and maybe give you encouragement or berate you for taking the last week off to play XBox.

There's tons to do yet before I'm ready to take 2.0 live, but if you'd like to see an example click here. Once 2.0 is live, WKA should be ready for prime time and hopefully will start commanding a larger user base. The goal is for it not only to help ME be more productive in writing but also to make enough money to support my eventual writing career. We'll see if either of those things happen.

Longer term plans call for WKA 3.0, which will be professionally redesigned and have an even broader set of features, possibly even more social integration. That is years off though; a far off goal. Still, I'm really looking forward to showing all of you 2.0 when its ready to go live sometime much later in the year. There's a LOT of work left to do on it, and WKA is still a secondary goal to finishing Impervious (which I've been working on tonight). Tomorrow I'll update this with a few screen shots from the demo I have set up, just to add a little color to this wall of text. Now, its time to hit the sack. Later.

 


Time to get started … again.

Hello every one. Well, the holiday break is over and its time to get started on my goals for this year. Before we get to that, I'm happy to report that I got plenty of work done on WordKeeper; finishing design on several new form elements, partially working out what I want to do with the social aspect and getting started on the actual code that will make the whole thing run. It's still got a ways to go before its ready to see daylight, but when it does it will be pretty awesome. The initial release was alwasy intended to be something more of an alpha version anyway; just me tossing ideas at a wall and seeing what worked and what didn't. This will be much closer to what I wanted to do and then some. Granted, my design work leaves a lot to be desired, but I'm hoping that it will be functional more than anything else.

If this version of WordKeeper works, and I can actually manage to get it a little traction with a good user base, I've got long term plans for a version 3.0 where I get a professional designer to tackle the user interface, produce some actual artwork and assetts for me. Right now though? I'm a LONG ways away from being able to afford something like that.

Today I'm taking for my first official writing day of the year. I'm putting my story from NaNoWriMo on the back burner for the time being, while I focus on getting the second draft of Impervious done and work on the writing for Edge of December. My big goal for the year is to finish Impervious and get it to a point where I can either self-publish or start sending it off to publishers. I've got a lot to do with it before then, so its time to get working.

This year I also want to do some additional short story work, maybe try another couple submissions or even try putting something up on WattPad and start getting my name out there a little more. Last year was a great year, but I still wasn't as productive as I wanted to be. That being said, I'm going to focus on building what I started last year and really pushing myself to do more. Video games are great and all, but they aren't getting me anywhere closer to my goals, so I'm going to try limiting my time spent playing some more, making sure that I do my writing every night before I let myself start playing. And yes, I know that these are all things that I've said before, and will probably say again, but as long as I'm trying, I think I'll be doing a pretty good job.

In blog news, you should be seeing things change around here sooner or later as I get a little style actually injected into this poor old beast. I need to get something up besides the default WordPress theme up, and I'm happy to say that should be happening pretty soon. If all goes well, I should have a space up for posting stories that I've been wanting to share, and maybe a few other things. I'm looking forward to 2014 being a really good year. Who wants to tag along?


An end of year update – Merry Christmas!

Sorry I've been quiet since my mid-NaNoWriMo update. I'd like to say that I've been super busy getting stuff done and finishing up my project from November, but the truth is that I've been super-lazy. Granted, I have been doing some work on Edge of December, but I've mostly been screwing around catching and trianing my Pokemons. Delphox will totally kick your ass, so back off.

That being said, I'm back in the game. I've got a nice long break for the rest of the year and a little into next that I'm going to (hopefully) use to get some serious work done. December was supposed to be to finish up my NaNo project and kick WordKeeper V 2.0 out, so I'm hoping that I can still get at least one of those done. I also have the added goal of figuring out how to end out the current Arc of Edge of December. Granted, a lot of work for the few days I have, and not everything is going to get done, but I'm sure I can make some serious headway.

Most of my design work is done for the new version of WKA. All that's left is a few smaller pages and finishing the design of the social aspect. That, I don't know what I'm going to do with it. It might be a little bit of trial and error until I find something that works. Version 2.0 will be significantly more fully featured than the current generation, with a bit of social built in, some Twitter and Facebook integration, a nifty little tool that counts the words you've written and a much more advanced graphing utility to track your progress. Also, I'm integrating projects so that you'll be able to set goals per project and track them independently. Once I have it done, it will be a pretty awesome way to keep track of your writing trends and hopefully inspire you to write more.

Once December is over, I'm starting work back up on Impervious, with the goal of pushing right through the second draft, at which point I'll be looking for some Beta readers. While the beta reading is in progress, I'll finish out book 2, and maybe get a start on book 3.

Though I did spend a fair amount of time screwing around this year, I've actually written more than I ever have previously. According to WordKeeper I've written some 85,000 words since I started it at the start of the year, and had a few really good months before I got it up and running. I'm guessing that I wrote at least 100,000 words this year, which isn't bad at all! I finished up Impervious, split off Unstoppable from the vast expance that was the original draft, got started on the second draft of Impervious, got WordKeeperAlpha up and running, started on the second version of WKA, got a new blog up and running (though I need to keep it better updated), made several new writer friends online and finished NaNoWriMo again with a brand new story! None of this takes into account the awesome stuff that Glenn and I have been doing over at Edge of December where we Kickstarted our first book, and put out several eBooks. We're getting really close to finishing out the current Arc of the story, which is going to be HUGE!

Granted, that's not quite the goals I had set at the beginning of the year last year. I wanted to get a few more short stories written and submitted to various venues, and have closer to 125,000 words written, but I'm still really happy with everything I've gotten done! If I can keep up this pace, I'll have my first book done and available in 2014 with a second and third following close on its heels! That's super exciting and will serve to motivate me! There's going to be a lot of awesome stuff happening next year, so make sure to stay tuned. Hopefully I'll be a lot better at maintaining the blog and putting up some more articles that are more than just status updates between my long absences.

Here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, however you celebrate them. I should be putting out one more update before the new year with some updates on WKA, but if that doesn't happen then everyone have a good rest of the year!


I’ve been quiet lately … too quiet

I know, I've been bad about updating for the last few weeks. I have this awesome week where I do three whole posts, and then I disappear for the better part of a month. I'm a bad bad man. What was I doing? Who are you, my mom? Oh… well, sorry mom.

Long story short, I've been working on version 2.0 of WordKeeperAlpha. No, this won't be WordKeeperBeta. I have no intention of securing a new domain name just to keep things straight. Also, I won't ever be able to get the wordkeeper.com domain. Yeah, I have all of three users, including myself, but there are several things that needed to be fixed, and a few I wanted to add.

On top of the bug fixes and feature additions, I'm completely redesigning the UI using Twitter Bootstrap. I think I might just be in love with that framework. Seriously, go and check out WordKeeperAlpha.com/NewHome.aspx and see the difference. Its going to be a few months yet before I role out the new site (probobly not until the New Year, since I've got a job now and can only work on it a couple hours a night) but progress continues.

What does this mean for my writing and Impervious? Eh, its slowing down a little, but not too much since I've been so bad about writing recently. I am still going to take November off from all my other hobbies and pursuits and do National Novel Writing Month. I'll be doing my best to keep my blog, Twitter and Facebook updated with my progress there. I'll most likely be working on the third Book in the Iron Principles series, which will be a lot of fun. I'm going to be doing plotting in October, along with enough writing on Edge of December to carry me into December (shut up). Speaking of which, I should get back to that. I've a chapter to finish cleaning up. I hope you're reading! Enjoy!


I’m back! I’m back with news!

So, I’ve been “gone” for a long time. Rather, my previous blog on my former homepage had been left to wither and die for months while I poured effort into my projects. The first of which being Impervious (first draft finished!), the second being Edge Of December (we have a Kickstarter!) and the last being WordKeeperAlpha (more on that in a moment).

I’ve been a little quiet on what was happening with Impervious because I’d entered it in a contest for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) winners. The contest was a great idea by Ravven, and others (who I will hopefully link as an edit to this post). Long story short, I won the first phase, but honorably lost to the aliterative and talented Janna Jennings. Even winning the first phase is huge for me, since I’ll be getting a lot of aid that will help me get Impervious out ready for publication sometime in the next year, including but not limited to cover art by Ravven herself! Seriously, she does some pretty awesome stuff. I reccommend checking out her current body of work here.

So I’m going to be kicking a lot of butt on Impervious in the near future, but really, if that’s all I was doing, shouldn’t I at least be half way done with the second draft by now? Maybe. Maybe if I wasn’t making a new tool for authors who want to set word goals and track their progress online! I call it WordKeeperAlpha and its online and functional. In fact, its a large reason behind why I changed hosts and moved this blog to a new site. Still, its free and pretty neat if I do say so myself. And even if it isn’t too neat, its free. Right now, WKA is still in the beta phase, and I’ll be adding features to it every couple months. Pretty high up on the list is the ability to share your graphs with social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Impervious is my primary goal though. Here’s a little peak at the graphing feature though… if you want to see more go and create an account.

Edge of December has been really busy too. We recently sent Glenn, Court and company to Phoenix Comic-con and by all accounts they had a blast, made friends (also a couple enemies) and made a good showing at our first con. I wasn’t able to join them this year, but when they return next year I’ll be in attendance (hopefully with a book of my own). Also, Edge has a Kickstarter going right now! Go there and you can still get in on our early Kicker opportunities. Save money by backing before everyone else and get not one, but two stories by me!

Now, since I’ve done nothing but talk about news in this post I’m going to leave you with a little bit of happiness for the day. By I Fight Dragons, this is The Geeks Will Inherit The Earth!