Story cards update

I played a bit with the story card app and felt it was all too “beta” (alpha is more like it), at least as an app. The idea is good, but the execution is kind of sloppy.

It is easy to excuse the unfinished feel of the app to being a matter of amateurs wanting a “me too” app and getting it out there before someone else gets the bright idea of taking your idea and making it into an app. But I’m not that nice of a guy. I always feel that you should be careful what you put out as a “finished product” and that you should disclaim the hell out of it if it isn’t up to snuff. Or, at least be honest and make people sign up for beta access instead of releasing to the wild in an unfinished state.

Text on the digital cards bleeds over the edges. The “deeper explanations” are largely in a “coming soon” state on most of the digital cards. There is a tutorial, but it is buried in the menus, so it is a guessing game until you find it on how the app works. There is a “Test” card pack in the store for sale, using “coins” (which I suppose is fake money until they start charging real money for card sets they intend to add at a later date). Presentation of the drawn cards is too small until you enlarge, and there really should be a swipe function to flip between cards instead of a Zoom In/Zoom Out feature to view more than a single card.

On a whole, it feels very unfinished, which leaves one with a poor taste in your mouth if you had high hopes for a cool tool. Will I check it out in a few months? Sure, but I can’t get over the nagging feeling that this might be as good as it gets when they run out of cash from the sale of the cards.

The cards themselves are actually pretty useful, albeit not quite as useful as I had hoped when you dig into it. There was some good thought put into them, but the effort feels uneven and inconsistent. I can’t get over the idea that these folks are really trying to sell their services as ghost writers for when people get stuck as authors, which makes them feel more like opportunists than like archangels. The cards are $45 for the physical set, which is a bit pricey after playing with the digital ones. They are all to happy to sell you a writer’s unblock for $150 (a consultation) or more. I basically say services being sold upwards of a thousand dollars right alongside the cards selling at $45.

So, not quite what I was hoping to find.

But why am I looking to find anything at all anyway? Why not just write?

Well, there are times when I want to write just to write, but find myself struggling with what I want to write about and wish I could find a good writing prompt webpage (Ugh! Too specific or too general or too WTF in most cases). It would be nice to have a tool along those lines to create random concepts to spin off from, that was reusable in a way so that you would keep running into the same or similar prompts, something that mixed it up.

Well, playing with the digital deck got my mind spinning and I have a few ideas now. I need to beta test and develop the concepts further, but I like the rough outline I have in my head.

And guess what? If I did develop a tool — I would give it out for free. Certain things shouldn’t be done for profit and this feels like one of those things. If it works, then maybe I’ll write a rabbit-hole-exploring book about it (hahahaha) and sell THAT, but the core idea would be free. Writers should help other writers write more. Period. Not charge $150 for a little deus ex machina. That’s absurd. And likely a predatory practice.

And I would definitely not promote my tool as a finished product while I was still working on it.

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