App Wednesday – Getting a Handle on Subplots

Chances are, your novel has subplots. It percolates with multiple characters that are multidimensional. Congrats! But, on a logistical level, when you’re outlining the thing, how to keep track of Female A who is dating Male B and sleeping with Male C that has a thing for Female D, who knows the precise piece of information that Male A needs to solve the mystery at hand?

Confusing? Oh yeah. While I have a pretty tried and true outlining method, I did come across an app called Storybook, that, in its description on its website, promises to be a, “free (open source) novel-writing tool for creative writers, novelists and authors which will help you to keep an overview of multiple plot-lines while writing books, novels or other written works. Store all information about your characters and locations in one place. Then, use the included Storybook features for managing chapters, scenes, characters and locations. A simple interface is provided to enable you to assign your defined characters and locations to each scene and to keep an overview of your work with user-friendly chart tools.”

Now, truth be told, I have yet to use this product. In fact, I use an Excel spreadsheet to outline my books. If I need to change something in the novel, many times it’s as easy as cutting a pasting a cell to a different location (B6 to B14). But, from just looking at the Storyboard website, it seems that it might have something for us creative types.

So, what say you? Would you use such an app? Is it too much to learn? Have you used it and it doesn’t have enough features? Are you sticking with the shoebox full of bar napkins and dumping them into a stiff wind to figure out your next novel’s timeline?

To the keyboards!


Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose first non-fiction proposal just went out for consideration to a few NY houses! Fingers crossed! The Brink is my latest fiction offering and here’s what some folks are saying about it:

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

The Brink is now available as an eBook for Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99! Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at

2 Responses

  1. I was intrigued by the idea behind Storybook — but only until I discovered that it only works with Windows and like-minded systems, not on a MAC. As a dedicated Apple person, I guess I’ll stick with Scrivener, my personal favorite.

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