I’ve been thinking, as I’ve been know to do, a lot about writing lately. About the tools, specifically. I really like FocusWriter. There are some really nice features and I like the way that it stays out of my way. By the same token it’s missing a few things I could really use as well.
One of the little toys that entered my life lately was a small Ruby program I coded up for my own purposes. I really didn’t have a stable, single purpose notepad that was simple and did what I wanted it. It had a few very small requirements.
- single file
- load file on program open
- save file on program close
- save periodically just in case
That’s it. That’s all I needed it to do so I coded one up quickly in Ruby. But the more I think about it the more I could really use that basic idea in a writing project management format. When thinking the context of a novel, for example, being able to have chapters in separate files that automatically load but only show the chapter you’re working on. Changing from chapter to chapter would be as simple as clicking on the chapter name from the list. Ability to show the entire book as a single item and export to a single text file, perhaps with LaTeX mark up to make proof reading in PDF easy.
I’m not sure if I’m going to do anything with it. It’s a potentially big project and I’m not entirely known for doing large programming jobs. I prefer tiny self contained hacks that solve a specific purpose. I need to think on it. Something else I can use to procrastinate.
david shute - 30.03.11 @ 22:44 - permalink
Over four years ago I gave a quick critique to a random screenplay on a random forum. The kid apologized for his work among a couple of other things that he probably shouldn’t have done. I sought out that old post due to the spectacular meltdown in the comments section an author had on a review site over her book.
Here’s the advice I gave that original screenwriter, slightly rewritten. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been this level headed. I’m curious who wrote this in my place.
- Don’t apologize if people don’t like your work or if you “make mistakes”.
- Remember to say thank you. People don’t have to review or critique your work. There’s more than enough work out there begging to have eyes on it. That yours has come to the surface is reason enough to show gratitude.
- Take what you can use and discard the rest. Just because someone has put time in to your work doesn’t mean you have to accept their responses wholesale. Incorporate what you find to be the most useful.
- Stick by your guns when you feel justified. This is really just restating point number three. If you disagree with a critique or a point then discard it. Continue doing what you’re doing. If the same point pops up several times across several different sources then you may need to re-examine your work. If it’s isolated and you disagree then don’t change it.
- You’re not always right.
- It’s never personal. Even if it is that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something from it. Scathing attacks on your work, even if personally motivated, may have some good direction as to where you can improve.
- It doesn’t matter. This is your work, your art. If you feel that you’ve put out the best work that you can and it makes you happy then it doesn’t matter.
Criticism is the best tool a writer has access to. It’s up to the writer to actually make use of it.
david shute - 29.03.11 @ 10:27 - permalink
The Smashwords version of Shallow has been fixed and looks good. There was a formatting issue that arose in saving from OpenOffice in to a Word .doc format. For whatever stupid reason it changed all the paragraph breaks in to four line hard returns. That formatting then transferred to all the versions Smashwords generated from that document. I fixed the formatting and uploaded a new version last night. It all looks good now.
With April rapidly approaching I’m considering hitting up Script Frenzy again. It’s been a couple years since I’ve participated and I do have a feature on my plate that I’ve been meaning to write for awhile now. Quite frankly, if it’s not done by May it can probably fester indefinitely anyway. Good excuse to get working on it.
david shute - 26.03.11 @ 19:24 - permalink
The Smashwords version of Shallow is now live as well. That being said, for the time being I would get any copies from Feedbooks. There is some odd formatting that was introduced in to the book. There are very large paragraph breaks going on that shouldn’t be happening. I expect that I should have the problem fixed tonight and a new version uploaded. Until I have this properly fixed though Feedbooks is the best place to get this book.
david shute - 25.03.11 @ 14:12 - permalink
Shallow has been released. That means davidshute.ca is up and running now. The collection is also live at Feedbooks. It should also be availble on Smashwords and ManyBooks shortly.
david shute - 24.03.11 @ 22:01 - permalink
So it’s not entirely ready just yet but it will be this week. I’ve had davidshute.ca for awhile now and I’ve been meaning to do something with it even if it just pointed to this space here. As I get closer to releasing Shallow to an apathetic and unwilling audience I figured I should have a place dedicated to my writing. davidshute.ca will be said place. This site will continue to act as my personal journal/blog.
david shute - 24.03.11 @ 00:32 - permalink