And now how to get Storyist wordcounts into Jamie Rubin’s google scripts

Just a quick note while I slug away at revisions (Which, by the way, means my word counts suck, no matter how much I write, on account of all my deletes. Go figure.). Because of the pending move, and the fact that the good folks over at Scrivener have announced that it’s going to be –  yep – another two months while they track down internal bugs, I decided to dust off my copy Storyist and port the novel into it.

And by port, I mean deal with the fact that despite claiming to support Scrivener files, Storyist does a real lousy job of importing them in a usable format. You can see them, edit them, etc., but they aren’t considered manuscripts. It’s almost like they’re competitors or something.

However, Storyist, for all its faults, does have a rock solid integration with its iOS app. And with me looking at spending a day on a plane, I’d rather lug around an iPad than a laptop (cramped seats, big guy, it doesn’t take a math genius to know that tray table isn’t coming down all the way, which means that laptop has nowhere to rest). But using Storyist, with it’s Yet Another File Formatting, means I don’t have an easy way of updating my wordcounts via the @jamietr scripts.

So, I fixed that. It’s not much of a shell script – we don’t have to make any changes to how Storyist synchronizes, we just need to extract a file, clean it, and copy it over to Google. Jamie’s scripts pick it up and run with it, and all is happy (minus my note about too much text in one file, but that’s true no matter where your text comes from).

Storyist to Google (Mac)

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 🙂

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.

And the winner is…

Scrivener (software)

I just couldn’t do it, folks. I wanted to, oh I wanted to, but I just couldn’t break up with Scrivener. Before I get to that, let me tell you some things…

The good

Storyist on the iPad? Phenomenal. It was everything we dream Scrivener’s foray onto iOS will be. All of the elements of the desktop version are present, synchronizing via dropbox is mindnumbingly easy, and frankly, it just works. Editor, cork board, outliner, it’s all present, functional, and intuitively easy to work with.

The bad

The desktop of Storyist is awkward. In a lot of ways, it looks very similar to Scrivener, but it lacks polish. One thing I really liked was how index cards are grouped by the chapter, but still visible en masse. That was nice.

Unfortunately, the meat of why you’re using a program like Storyist was needlessly difficult. Maybe I’m a little spoiled with Scrivener, but when you offer a binder like sidebar that displays chapters and scenes, don’t make it so confusing to actually work with them. In Scrivener, each scene is a solitary file. In Storyist, everything is really one large file, which makes planning ahead, even for a pantser like myself, well, confusing.  You see, if you’ve sketched out a dozen scenes or so, maybe in the outliner, and then switch back to manuscript mode, you can’t tell which scene you’re working in. What you see is a column of nicely centered hash marks. Where do you put the text? Not sure. I couldn’t easily  tell where I was in a document to know what scene I was adding text to. That makes it hard to work.

Talk about spoiled? I’ve grown so accustomed to the presentation layer and the compile layer being able to be different, I felt stifled when Storyist only appears to have the same static view for everything.

The (sadly) obvious choice

I liked being able to switch to the iPad in situ, working with the same tools in the same document as on my desktop. I really, really did. I’ve grown weary of L&L yearly promise that sometime in the  year they might have the iOS version. I like them, they’ve always been really friendly (ok, at least DJ is, and DJ puts up with me on twitter, so that speaks volumes).

But beside all of that, Scrivener really is the tool I find easier to work with on the desktop. Sure, there were some features in Storyist that had appeal, but the meat of it was just too clunky. Add to that that Storyist costs twice as much as the initial purchase of Scrivener, and you can see where this is going.

L&L folks, if you stumble on this – give us something for the tablet! Meanwhile, I have a write off in the works with a friend in Arizona. Must get busy.

Enhanced by Zemanta