I have decided to start a journal to express the Aha! moments that are arriving now. However, some background is needed to say how I got to such moments.
I have put in roughly six months (or 1,000 hours) of design and development of the idea I call An Author’s Inspiration. In fair market prices for a senior software developer, that would bill out at $80,000. There is more design and coding to go, but I am at a beta release version of 0.7 that suits many functions I set out to achieve. Going the distance from beta release version 0.7 to product release version 1.0 places new appeals to my designer’s inspiration.
I am currently re-purposing my beta for use in my own fiction writing, and I am discovering short-falls of design. In the culture of software design, using my own product is know as “eating your own dog food.” That is, in my release package, I have files designed specifically for Harry Potter in The Order of the Phoenix. I am not writing a Harry Potter story. As needs must, I have to replace those configurable files with files that describe my own story with its own characters.
Currently, beta version 0.7 does that very well. That is, An Author’s Inspiration has exceptional flexibility, allowing for many levels of character and plot invention and tailoring by the writer. It presents the writer’s effort with a fully fleshed out psychological tone map of their story in a linear outline format.
And on this point of tone map my design effort turns (and eating my own dog food emerges). As I modify the distribution files I am beginning to see the shape of how I might proceed outside of the forced linearity of the process. Fortunately, An Author’s Inspiration‘s flexibility allows the writer to leave out many details, and develop them later. I designed that feature deliberately, and as a writer using An Author’s Inspiration, I find it brings me considerable relief not to have to decide every character trait from the outset.
More to follow.