Subplot Review

MacWorld has a review of a new novel and screen play planning program called Subplot: … _plot.html

The developer has a bit more information here:

No voice over for the demo video though, something I find frustrating: “Tell me what you’re doing. Don’t just do it.”

Here’s a summary of what Subplot does:

There’s no indication from what I read if you can export what you’ve done directly into Scrivener. Also according to the FAQ:

Keeping your data in an obscure file in what is in Lion a hidden system folder rules out using Dropbox synching between Macs, much less sharing that data between Macs and compatible apps on iDevices. Given that this is a brainstorming tool, I wonder if it might have been better as an iPad app.

From the descriptions, I see nothing to tempt me away from using TaskPaper on my Mac/iPhone to take down ideas or from watching for a few more features to Writer’s App to make it an effective tool. What I’d like to see in Writer’s App is storing data as OPML, so it could be synched with a compatible app on Macs and the chapter outline directly imported into Scrivener. Also, it needs scenes under chapters.

Writers App collects a similar set of data about characters, places and plot. It works on mobile devices and costs far less that Subplot’s $36. I suspect that Subplot might push writers to outline and plan a bit too much before writing. I always find I’m changing so much when I write that too much preparation is a waste of time.

If anyone’s already using Subplot, I’d be interested in their evaluation and, in particular, how well it meshes with Scrivener. And do keep in mind that this is version 1.0.2, so the feature set is likely to improve.

–Michael W. Perry, Seattle

Had a quick look at this in the Mac App store.

In general I think it’s got its heart in the right place. I’ve read a lot of stories by writers who’ve been let down by their plotting (eg long strings of short, weak scenes where characters waft about with no clear goals) so this does at least force you to think about what your characters are doing and why (and where) and what’s stopping them.

I thought it was amusing that you’re invited to fill in a field naming the genre of your novel (as if you were likely to forget).

Seems a bit pricey at £25. Not a bargain for what appears to be a relatively simple, if useful, piece of kit.