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Plan, Organize And Write Stories With the Help of StoryBilder
StoryBilder includes a structured writing process for people who like to write from beginning to end, plus an open toolset for people who prefer to write in a less organized way. Read ON!
We would like to get introduced to the Founder of StoryBilder?
Hi, I’m Tanya Gough, StoryBilder’s founder and developer. I’m based in Toronto, Canada. My background includes a cross-section of education, retail, academic and corporate research, content management and development, particularly in the interactive media space. I have an M.A. in English from the University of Toronto, and I previously owned and operated the Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue, which had customers in 42 countries around the world.
(P.S., My family name is pronounced “Goff”)
What is the concept of StoryBilder? How did it all start?
StoryBilder is a creative writing platform that helps writers plan, organize and write stories. It includes a structured writing process for people who like to write from beginning to end, plus an open toolset for people who prefer to write in a less organized way. You can also have a look at the doe website to read and submit inspiring stories. As a former teacher, I wanted to create a place where writers could be supported and receive help if they needed it, but as a writer, I knew it was important to allow people space and freedom to be creative.
How did the name come into place? What does it signify?
StoryBilder is a play on the words Story and Builder - we help people build their stories from start to finish. The spelling Bilder comes from a Germanic root word meaning “images” or “picture,” and this also works because the platform includes reports, charts and maps to help writers keep track of all their characters, locations, and plot points.
What is the pain-point you are addressing in the Writing industry? What is the Vision behind this?
When I looked at the writing products out there, they all seemed to either be written for professional writers or for young children. There wasn’t much in the middle. And this is a problem because lots of people out there would like to write, but don’t know where to start. I wanted to create enough support to help new writers learn, help experienced writers overcome writer’s block, and help all of them get better at their craft.
We live in a time when everyone is talking, but no one has a clear point to make. I feel that encouraging people to writ, not only helps them express themselves better, it makes people pay attention to the world around them. This is something we could all do better.
What brought you to choose to bring out a SaaS product for the Writing industry?
Writing is what I’m passionate about, and if you’re going to commit the time, energy and expense toward building something this big, you had better love it, or you’re never going to finish.
I chose a SaaS solution for a few reasons. First, the standalone programs on the market tend to be expensive, and once you buy them, you could be stuck if you upgrade your operating system. With SaaS, users keep getting the newest and best version we can create, so the product will just keep getting better over time. You only pay for what you need. Finally, I wanted to add a sharing library where people can choose to borrow story assets, and I needed a SaaS environment to help make that scale.
Could you share some of the salient features of StoryBilder that could benefit the aspiring Authors?
StoryBilder has three parts: 1) the StoryEngine, which walks people through the writing process from beginning to end and provides prompts and structure for people who need them, 2) the Toolbox, which contains more advanced editing and reporting tools and lets you write and create any way you want, and 3) the Library, where you can borrow and share story assets, such as characters, locations, and story outlines.
Again, all of our tools and suggestions are optional, so you can choose what you need, when you need it, and ignore the rest.
You can find a video that explains what we do here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxKtNn4Lfqc
What challenges and hardships were faced in bringing StoryBilder to reality? Have you experienced any gratifying moments in the journey so far?
Well, I’m a female technical founder, so it became clear very early on that StoryBilder wasn’t going to happen unless I built it myself. There just aren’t a lot of funding opportunities for female-led tech startups. It’s a huge amount of work, of course, and it’s taken me three years to get it right. The most gratifying moment came when I was showing it to a writer I know, and he got so excited his Apple watch beeped to tell him his heartrate was too high. That’s when I knew I was on the right track.
What amount of market research had gone behind figuring out the need of a platform like StoryBilder?
As a teacher, writer, and content manager/process person, I brought experience and knowledge to the project from the start. I spent six months just working on the business plan, which included looking at the products on the market, figuring out what the market share was, and determining potential. After that, I talked to teachers and writers to make sure I was addressing their needs.
Could you share some testimonials of the difference through StoryBilder and what does the stalwarts of the industry have to say about this?
Sure! Professor Peter S. Donaldson of M.I.T. said, “StoryBilder is a marvel: an exciting and versatile and superbly well thought-out new resource for creative writers that is also a powerful tool for literary analysis and pedagogy!"
My favorite testimonial so far came from the young adult fantasy author Amanda Sun, who said it was: “Flipping phenomenal!”
How many Authors do you envision to benefit through StoryBilder in the next 2-3 years?
I think it really depends on how and where the platform takes off. Part of the benefit of having a SaaS solution is that we’re ready to scale from day one. Once we start building traction, I think we will grow rapidly.
What would be your message to the people aspiring to become Authors?
Anyone can write, but it takes time and practice to get good at it. Don’t worry so much about making everything perfect: you can always fix things later. And don’t listen to people who say “you must write every day” or do this or do that. Do what works for you, whatever makes you happy and keeps you coming back to your writing.
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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 13th July 2019.