Kristina Stanley grew up in a household where reading books was very important. “I’ve had a lifelong journey with reading, and that comes from my mom. She was born in Italy, and throughout World War II she didn’t have access to books. When she came to Canada, books became a really big thing.”
When she was in her 40s, Kristina decided to write her own book with the hope of writing something that gets a reader so involved they can’t put it down. She went on to write a series of books, and in that process, she discovered that it’s actually quite hard to document all of the different characters and settings. “I would use a huge spreadsheet to keep track of all of the different elements in my story. I thought there must be an easier way, but I couldn’t find it.”
Kristina decided to build Fictionary with her husband and brother to solve some of the challenges writers were facing. Fictionary transforms editing through deep story analysis software.
She went to conferences and interviewed hundreds of writers and editors, asking them how they edit and keep track of their work. They took all of that learning and spent months building an alpha prototype to help writers display their story arc and keep track of their characters, settings, and plot lines. As any entrepreneur knows, it can take some time to go from idea to launch. “We had the idea in 2014, but we didn’t come out with the first product until January 2018.”
Since they launched, they’ve heard from many of their writers that while they love the product, they want more automation and more visual tools. In order to get Fictionary to that next level, they realized they needed more funding. “Through their support, Creative BC is helping us focus on getting to that next level of wow, so we can make Fictionary more beneficial to our writers.”
Kristina found out about Creative BC by accident. “We were at a dinner party when someone told us to apply for a grant. Applying for the grant itself made us take a hard look at what we were doing. We had to do our due diligence, thinking hard about how and where we wanted to spend the money. When we received the grant, we were able to make it public on our website and in a news release, and that helped our credibility.”
While writing is typically thought of as a lonely profession, technology has changed that. “There are authors out there who have been successful and are willing to help the next writers coming along, showing them what worked and what didn’t. Writing can be a lifelong joy, and my philosophy is: the more writers we help, the more likely they’ll continue to write.”
Kristina knows better than most that a book can open up the world, especially for young people. “Kids that are read to by their parents are more confident and social. Storytelling is an important part of our lives, and the more we can do to help people tell good stories, the better it is for us all.”
While Fictionary currently focuses on supporting writers, they plan to adapt their technology to support editors as well as other forms of storytelling. “We built this to help writers because we believe that storytelling can positively impact a person’s life. That’s the driving factor behind all of this.”
Fictionary is a creative editing software for fiction writers and editors.