...one of the most beautiful tools for WordPress that I've seen in a long time.- WP Tavern
...a potentially seismic shift in content creation and the biggest thing to hit WP for ages.- Chris Knowles
...is something that would rock the world of WordPress.com users. Tons of people using the service for longform content and this is exactly what they need.- Jeff Chandler
Aesop Story Engine
The heart and soul of Aesop is the freely available storytelling engine; 12 components designed for rich storytelling experiences. The components can be used multiple times throughout the story. Components are built on the fly with a generator provided directly inside the story editor.
There are story components to compliment nearly any form of story, from photo essays to interviews. And remember, the Story Engine provides only basic styles. What you are seeing below is the result of the WordPress theme styles. You have nearly 100% freedom to design how you wish!
Aesop is available both as a free, GPL'd, open-sourced WordPress plugin, and as a free, hosted version. The WordPress plugin only loads the basic styles it needs, so the rest is totally up to the theme. Here's a simple demo that shows the components and story cover features of the plugin. The hosted version uses the same exact plugin, but allows you to sell your stories (pro) and collaborate with other storytellers.
The storytelling engine drives a storytelling experience available through our hosted platform. Not a developer and want the quickest way to get started? This is it. Create and publish a full story with no restrictions within your own collection portal. Hosted Pro gives you unlimited stories, allows you to sell your stories, as well as collaborate with other writers, photographers, and illustrators.
We have entered an age where publishers are seeking new methods of keeping readers engaged. We are already witnessing story, after story, after story, after story being released that really push the boundaries of what the web can do. And, we are reading that it takes 16 people 6 months to create these things. Not with Aesop. The engine can be used by anybody, without any code, and you can build stories by yourself, within minutes. All for free, fully GPL, within WordPress.
Plan of Action
At this point Aesop is a fully working beta, but we need your continued help! We're looking to raise at least $15,000 so we can afford to create a real business, fund the final stretch of development, get our hosting infrastructure setup and configured, and everything else that goes along with establishing a business like branding and identity. We've got a lot to do, and your contributions will get us there!
We have some amazing things planned that we'd like to get going if we happen to reach $20,000. With this stretch goal we'll be able run a "Theme Bounty," where we'll be able to offer monetary rewards for themes that incorporate Aesop Story Engine. We will also be able to establish an Aesop Marketplace for themes built just for Aesop. These added benefits require more work, but will ultimately give users expanded options that will enable them to get going with Aesop quickly.
Who's behind Aesop?
Meet Nick. He's a programmer, designer, skater, father, husband, and dreamer. For the last few years Nick's been building products for WordPress, including programming big sites such as Modern Farmer. After noticing a shift in how content was being created for the web, he set out to build a tool that anyone could use to tell stories with, within any WordPress theme. Thus, Aesop was born.
Aesop almost never happened. Nick wrote most of the code during the Christmas holiday, instead of having his Mac serviced. Suffice to say, we're all glad he decided to build Aesop instead (and no, his Mac was never fixed and still remains plagued with issues to this day).
Along with Nick there are a number of fine folks that have been helping to make Aesop into what it is today. Those people include: @mikezielonka, @ellenjanemoore, @etc, @nathanbweller, @bengillin, and many more not listed.
Backed Aesop at Sponsor Levels
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you need?
First, we need to make this a real business, which requires filing paperwork, choosing a business structure, creating a bank account, getting a logo, branding, etc.
Then we need to actually finish building parts of the story engine based on the feedback we've received, as well as setup the hosting and infrastructure.
How can I help?
At the least please share our campaign! We'd love for you to contribute a dollar amount, but sharing is just as awesome! Help us make this thing a reality!
What am I contributing to exactly?
Your contributions will help fund the final phase of development for the Storytelling Engine, in addition to forming a business, and getting servers setup for the hosted environment.
What is Aesop Hosted?
This is the free, hosted version of the storytelling engine. The hosted version offers a place for you to write, and sell your stories. You'll have your own site, and you'll even be able to invite others to collaborate on your story.
The Pro version opens up unlimited story telling, the ability to sell your stories, as well as collaborate with other storytellers.
So the engine is open source?
That's correct. The core engine is fully GPL'd, 100% free, and hosted on Github. Version 1.0 will be offered through the WordPress.org plugin repo.