If you want to write and publish short entries about your life or a particular subject you turn to WordPress. If you want to create documents and implement real-time collaboration you look to Google docs. But where do you go online to author your next Moby Dick or Tale of Two Cities?
Omahan Chad Stansbury hopes to fill that void. In January he left his full-time job as director of IT at Carlson Hotels Worldwide to create an online word processor and project management software for writers of all skill levels. He called it Scriptito, which in Latin means “to write often.”
“[It sounded] like a perfect opportunity for me to maybe fill a niche,” Chad said after he told me about his inspiration and existing competitor, Scrivener, a piece of software that is limited to the Mac operating system.
The tool out there for writing [is], of course, Microsoft Word, your traditional word processor, but that’s a very large tool […] it’s trying to drive a tank when all you need is a sports car.
So Chad asked himself, “How do I make that dream? A word processor tailored to writers available wherever they are, whatever computer they were on.”
He did what he knew, he began to write code.
Recreating the functionalities of Scrivener and adding some of his own, he put to work his best practices: version control, ability to take snapshots, share and receive feedback. And with a small team of programmers, Scriptito was released into public beta June 1.
“[We concentrated] on getting the guts of Scriptito out and available so that instead of trying to describe what we’d like to do we can actually show people on the real site,” Chad said.
“We try to enable people to tell the story they’ve always wanted to tell and we try to remove any road blocks.” Something Chad, who has wanted to write stories for his children, will use the service for himself.
When a user logs into Scriptito they have the option of starting a new project, returning to an old one or exploring other users’ projects. When they start a new project, they’re prompted to add a title and description and then they’re taken to a dashboard that lets them author drafts, create character and location lists, and put their research in a folder.
This is the project management side of the software Chad speaks about. He’s providing a suite of tools to make it easier for authors to organize their thoughts, images and, most importantly, writings.
“If I want to write a historical fiction novel on World War II, I might have some research associated with World War II,” Chad said. “Scriptito allows you to bundle all those artifacts together so when you’re writing a chapter they’re all easily available to you.”
Additionally, users can share thier work with others to gain feedback. He’s even hoping some will share their character list and allow other writers to create stories based off the shared framework.
The website is password protected with adjustable sharing levels. It automatically saves drafts every two minutes.
In the coming months, Chad plans to advertise on sites writers frequent in an effort to gain more users.
In the coming year, he hopes to take Scriptito one step further. “How do you not only enable them to write, but how do you get the creative juices flowing so you inspire them to write?” Chad said. “I think that’s where the next big value proposition for Scriptitio will be.”
Check out my interview with Chad to hear more about Scriptito’s background, where he wants to take it, and how he plans to monetize it (tune into 3:20).
Here’s a screencast from Chad which gives an overview of the Scriptito project workspace: