Nephrology, editing, and a new tool to play with

Today I met with the nephrologist for the first time. All in all, the experience was not as terrifying as I had built it up in my head. Then again, it was only the first visit. What I did learn was that we’re going to spend the next three months reevaluating lifestyle, adding some medication, and doing more testing. In other words, no real prognosis right now, just more tests and comparisons to see if there really is a problem or not (or rather, just how serious it is and how much panic is worthy).

Spinning up on the positive side, I’ve begun my first real read through of the novel I finished in November. I’ve already cut ten pages (ten pages it couldn’t afford to lose), made notes for a new chapter, and changed most of the text in what remains of the first chapter. So that’s going well.

Editing means working with text. In the past I had a tool I loved until I began to feel the weight of how big it was. But I find I miss only one thing about scrivener in linux (and yes, I know there’s a port, but it’s just not the same – or supported), and that’s being able to work easily with discreet segments of text. In scrivener, each scene can be its only file. When writing using markdown, it was all one large file. Sure, I could have broken that up and put it together at compile time, but that still would have required keeping track and organizing of a hundred small files.

Enter Plume-Creator, an application my friend Ken has raved about for years. I don’t want to compare it to another application, because that’s not fair to either. But I will say it lets you work on multiple kinds of fiction writing, and appears (so far) to respect the discreet but whole approach. It’s a little weak in some places (absolutely zero import options? really? not even text?), but I plan on trying to produce the second draft of Chrysalis in it. We’ll see how far I get with it.

And that’s my day so far. Here’s hoping your day is going half as well đŸ™‚

More tools to consider as you prep for NanoWriMo

Yesterday I mentioned (for the umpteenth time) Scrivener – today, some alternatives. A lot of people put these lists together this time of the year, but stick around, you might find something new đŸ™‚

Storyist (commercial) – The Literature and Latte folks do an amazing job at nurturing their community, which is part of the fervor folks feel around Scrivener. But lurking on the sidelines are the folks that bring you Storyist. With its latest release, Storyist is very similar to Scrivener in both price and features. How individual documents are handled is different, but other than that the two products are largely similar. Why mention it? Because Storyist does win in one aspect – it has an iOS app. If being able to seemlessly work on the iPad and desktop is important to you, then this is the way to go. The iOS app is missing only the ability to do split screen views between documents – everything else is the same. If you want to spend the money and need that bridge, this is the way to go.

Focuswriter (Free/Donation) – I always mention Focuswriter because I love it that much. Focuswriter can edit both vanilla text and ODF documents, has a robust wordcount management (great for NanoWriMo), a rich theming environment, and my favorite – optional typewriter noises as you type. Living somewhere between a text editor and a writing suite, Focuswriter is a favorite.

yWriter (Free/Donation) – If I were a windows user, I’d probably  be using yWriter. Another suite that tries to be more than just a simple document editor, Hayes has put some amazing effort and features into this software over the years. In particular, the metadata that helps shape your story – character indexes, location and item tracking, dynamic storyboards – are easily tracked and kept up to date, freeing you to write.

Plume Creator (Open Source) – As robust a product as Scrivener or Storyist, Plume brings a fresh combination of the commercial software with features I like in yWriter. It’s a little clunky, but that’s just eye candy. Beneath the surface you’ll find Plume to be a very capable alternative to the commercial writing suites.

And so, these are a few of my favorite things. Not your usual list of Evernote and Notepad, but software I think you’ll find works as a true alternative. When the day is done and you have to write, though, it doesn’t matter what software you use, or if you end up doing it all with pen and paper. The only thing that matters is that you have fun and get some words down. How you do it? Bah.