It was not lost on me that having no content on the site to start with was not a great look. I certainly didn't expect people to sign up and write stuff for me (and I definitely won't be writing anything - it's better that way, trust me) to populate the site, so that end, I just added 10 public domain stories so at least there's something to start with.
I'll probably keep adding stories, bit by bit, here and there, but hey, it's not a bad start, right?
There's a new feature on Plotfork where, instead of displaying a boring fake looking book cover, we'll generate a colorful, very blurry image for you. It's nothing fancy, and you should probably go ahead and design your own cover image with Canva, but it's a nice placeholder.
Between Christmas and New Year's Eve of 2020, I had a series of ideas that went something like this...
What if there was a way for authors to write multiple versions of a story? You know, like those books every kid in the 80's and 90's read? Oh, and what if there was a way for people reading those stories to write their own versions? Oooh, and what if there was a way for readers to send money to authors without me having to process payments or taking any fees?
It sounded fun, and simple enough, so I started writing some code to make it happen.
After about a month and a half, I've got a super beta version up and going. There's definitely some weird stuff (don't get me started on server-side-rendering with React), but I think it's working well enough to let people start using it... I hope so, anyway. Plotfork will let people read stories, write stories, and create their own versions, or "forks," of stories from a web browser. No apps, nothing to download. Just login and start writing. It works pretty well on mobile (no offline or anything, but it's usable), but it's definitely geared towards the desktop. Nobody is writing like this on a phone, right?
This is it. Specifically, this is what you see when you're writing your story. Nothing fancy at all. Just a big empty text field for you to type into. There's formatting controls hidden away that only show up when you highlight text, so you've got more space for writing. The editor will auto save so you shouldn't have to worry about losing anything.
Use Canva to design the cover art for your stories.
Honestly, not much right now. You can read, you can write, you can fork stories. As an author, you can write a bio about yourself, add "tip links" so readers can send you money, and control whether a story (and individual chapters) are published. As a reader, you can read, tip authors, and do everything an author can do, because on Plotfork, everybody can be an author. Even if it's just for a chapter. There's also a reading list so you can keep track of things you want to read, and a reading history, so you can see everything you've already read.