Posted on 3 mins read

Introduction

Edward is a web app designed to help aspiring authors write their first book.

It all started with a really simple question: what if word processors all suck?

Take Microsoft Word, for example. It’s a great formatting and layout tool. Remember WordArt? WordArt was fun: if you wanted giant leopard-print 3D words in your document, WordArt had it covered.

But you had to know what you wanted to write with those leopard-print words, and that was your real problem anyway. When you can’t figure out what comes next, Word just doesn’t have your back. Ever tried to write a novel and gotten stuck on page 10? Several times? Me too.

Over the years I’ve searched for something better, because I want to write a book. But somehow I always end up right back at Microsoft Word. Just staring at a blank page, wishing the book would write itself. And I’ve wondered if the problem is me: maybe I’m not smart enough to be a real author.

Of course, that kind of thinking doesn’t solve problems. So entertain, if you will, the alternative hypothesis: I’m not the whole problem (and neither are you). A big part of it is having the right tools for the job. Which we don’t.

That’s not to say it’s all Microsoft’s fault. Word does some things extremely well. It just doesn’t help you write.

By day I’m a software engineer. If you want to write code, you have your choice of 20+ well-known code editors, and competition keeps them all sharp - they have really cool tools for analyzing, rearranging, rewriting and understanding what you’ve written. When you use a tool like Visual Studio, it’s like having a super-smart robot companion at your side, one who finishes your sentences and politely points out your mistakes.

But if you want to write a novel, your choices are Microsoft Word and a pile of neon-colored sticky notes. No robot companions. No rewriting tools. You have to do all the heavy lifting yourself.

All this has led me to wonder why there isn’t any better software for authors. Surely there’s room for improvement.

And so I’ve dedicated a number of nights and weekends to writing a little app called Edward. And I’m betting that someday, he can help people overcome the biggest obstacles between them and their first published work.

What does Edward do?

Edward doesn’t write your book for you. But he does try to simplify the process by:

  • Providing you with tools for planning and outlining
  • Keeping your notes handy while you write
  • Helping you switch between chapters and paragraphs easily
  • Making it easy to find what you’re looking for
  • Keeping you motivated by putting a word count (and other stats) at your fingertips
  • Giving you cool charts and graphs to help you understand your work

And he’s getting smarter all the time.

How can I try Edward out?

Visit https://edwardtheapp.com. On the login page, you can click “Try the demo” if you don’t want to sign up for an account yet.

I hope you’ll give Edward a shot and let me know what’s missing. My goal is for him to become the world’s greatest, most beloved, and least expensive tool for writing books.

What tech is Edward built on?

I’m making significant use of the following technologies:

  • Vue.js 2.0
  • D3.js
  • Quill.js
  • Node.js
  • Sequelize ORM
  • PostgreSQL
  • Webpack

Each of these has been a joy to work with. If you’ve contributed to these projects in any way, thank you.

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