Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tools of the Trade, Part 3 of 3

Saving the biggest guns for the end, today I'll be talking about OmmWriter and Scrivener.

This app annoyed the crap out of me, but in a fit of rage I found its niche. It shuts everything out. Completely. No distractions, no intrusions, no worries. It's like going to the spa for writing without strangers touching you. As you can see by these images, Ommwriter not only shuts out the rest of the distractions, it cleans your desk as well:

Are you easily distracted or prone to procrastinating while writing? Remember, any hour not spent writing another kitten dies. And the following graph produced by scientific guess-work shows where your attention wanders while trying to write: (results may vary)
That is scientific evidence you just can't argue with.

And finally, the big dog in the kennel, Scrivener.

Firstly, this is a fairly big application as it is more than a word processor. It's power comes, in my opinion, from two major functions:
  • The organizational features of notes and revisions, all within one application with an user friendly UI.
  • The wide range of electronic publishing formats. Yep, straight from your first draft to Amazon, just like most everyone else.
My workflow is chapter based and name each one descriptively so that as start re-reading I can easily move chapters about with the drag of a mouse. This works great in more complex chapters where I can place each scene in its own container and move each about the chapter or book independently.  

I have had some issues with Scrivener which I feel is important as I would not want you facing the same headaches I've been plagued with. First, when saving and opening your Scrivener Projects in a cloud space, like Drop Box, take care to ensure that the project on one computer is truly out of the project before opening it in another machine. In debugging some of my issues these looked to be a common issue with writers working with other writers or editors, and corrupting their project. To be clear, "corrupting" is not good.
Another issue that has plagued me is the Scrivener Projects are not OS agnostic. Create a Project in Mac and Windows has a problem with it. While this may not seem like too big a deal right now, when you send off the 70,000 word manuscript to your editor for revisions and tracking changes, you may be in for some problems if they are running a different OS.

A serious consideration to the above is your start-up time. What does it take to learn the new interface and all it can do? Remember the kittens! Below is a scientific map showing your ramp-up speeds and learning torque for the three main editors listed:

As you can see Scrivener, with the longest learning curve also requires the greatest amount of understanding. Have you used it? If you haven't you'll see what I mean. OmmWriter is so silly easy, but that's all it is. It does one thing, and it does it very well. 

So in conclusion, whether you are a Microsoft Word maven or a vim cowboy, at the end of the day it doesn't matter what you use, so long as you slap down the words. But like a joiner or cabinet maker, the better you know how to use your tools, and the sharper you keep the edges, the better the finished product.


Resources for the the past 3 parts

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