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Everything posted by Steve

  1. Hi Folks, You may have noticed that this board has recently attracted the interest of one or more spammers. As a result, I have instituted some stricter policies that I hope will keep our little community a friendly place for writerly discussion. All new registrations are now forwarded to me for approval. Posts by new members are now sent to me before they are posted to the board so that I can reject any offensive material. I realize that these new policies will cause a slight delay in posting for new members, and for that, I apologize. After a few posts, I will lift the moderation requirement so that legitimate members may post freely. As always, if you find a post that you think is objectionable, please click the "Report" button at the bottom of the post and I will review the post right away and take appropriate action. -Steve
  2. Make sure the "Pressing Return in an empty paragraph activates style chooser" check box is checked in the Text Editing > General preference pane. Also, make sure the insertion point is positioned at the start of an empty paragraph--if there is whitespace in the paragraph, the style chooser won't active (enhancement request already filed). Note: you can also simply apply a style using any of the following: Select it from the popup at the bottom of the manuscript view. Select it from the Style > Apply Style context menu. Select it from the Format > Style > Apply Style menu in the main menu (at the top of the screen).
  3. Thoth, Thanks for starting the thread. Storyist does use style information to build the project outline--specifically the style's "Outline Level" attribute. This is the approach used by many other word processors, including Word and Open Office. Word, for example, uses "Heading 1", "Heading 2", "Heading 3" etc to determine where the heading goes in the outline view or table of contents. If you examine these styles, you'll see that each style has an "Outline Level" paragraph attribute that specifies the outline level. Same with Storyist. Due to the special requirements of novel manuscripts and screenplays, Storyist also provides a way to identify separate blocks of body text (i.e. sections and scenes) so that they appear in the outline. This works as follows: In novel manuscripts, Storyist recognizes the special "Section Title" style as the start of a block of body text and the section separator (a paragraph containing only the "#" character) as the end of a block of body text. Only one is required, but the section separator is preferred, since you will probably want to select Format > Manuscript > Hide Section Titles when you send your manuscript off to your agent or editor. In screenplays, Storyist recognizes the special "Scene Heading" style as the start of a scene. In addition to presenting the sections or scenes in the project outline (and possibly a table of contents in the future), Storyist uses the outline level information to keep track of your section or scene sheets. And since there is currently no visual feedback that you have section sheets attached to a section, Storyist will warn you if you make edits that would result in the merging of sections and, as a result, the loss of your notes. Note: You mention that you received the warning when trying to change the documents fonts. Storyist is being a bit overzealous here--changing the font has no effect on the outline. I'll fix that. In the mean time, as a work around, you can change the style definition to use the font you desire--you don't have to edit each section individually
  4. 1.2 makes this much easier. To split a section: Place the cursor at the end of the paragraph you want to split. Press return. Optionally press return again to bring up the style chooser and select the "Section Separator" style or simply press the tab key. Type the section separator ("#"). Press Return. You'll now have two sections where you had one and you can just type the section title in the manuscript (if you have section titles enabled.) To merge a section: Select the section separator that divides the sections you want to merge (and the section title too, if section titles are displayed). Press Delete. If there are no notes in the section section, Storyist will merge the sections for you. If there are section notes, Storyist will ask you to confirm that you want to delete them as well. Note: I already have the feature request to offer the option of merging of notes in addition to deleting them. To create a new chapter: Place the insertion point at end of the paragraph before which you want to create a new chapter. Press return. Press Return again to bring up the style chooser. Select the "Chapter Title" style. Type your new chapter title. Deleting the chapter title will, as you would expect, merge the chapters. -Steve
  5. I don't think the hang Isaac was seeing is the result of a virus, not because of the relative scarcity of them on Mac OS X, but because of the way it "presents" (to use some medical jargon ): There are no messages in the console, which means that Storyist did not take an exception (a sign of a logic or coding error). When it is hung, the application is not using any CPU cycles. It is most likely that Storyist is waiting for some system resource (e.g. a file). This may be the result of a bug in Storyist or in the underlying OS. If it is the first, naturally I want to fix it. If it is the second, I'd like to try to find a work around. The key will be finding a way to reproduce it. As you point out, few people have seen it, but like the Loch Ness Monster, just because we haven't seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. So if you catch this one on tape (so to speak), please reply to the thread with details. -Steve
  6. For the archives: Isaac and I have been trying to track this down offline--so far with no luck. If you run across this problem, I would be very interested to know: What version of Storyist you are using. What version of OS X you are using (version number and PPC or Intel). What, if anything is listed on the console (which you can find in /Applications/Utilities/Console). If you have any network drives mounted. If you have autosave enabled and there are any autosaved stories (files with the suffix "(Autosave)") in the save folder as your story.
  7. When Final Draft exports a script as RTF, it includes the page margins in the paragraph style definitions. For example: In a script with left margins set to 1.5", Final Draft does not export page margins, but instead adds 1.5" to the left indent of all paragraph styles (SCENE HEADING, ACTION, etc...). You could import this RTF file into Storyist with no changes. However, using the Script Import Assistant, you can make some adjustments "on the way in" to make it easier to adjust margin settings later. Open the Final Draft RTF file. From the template chooser that appears, choose the "Screenplay" template. In "Step 1 of 2: Scene Headings", leave the "Apply heading styles..." checkbox unchecked. Click Next. In the "Step 2 of 2: Style Substitution", check the "Substitute new styles for imported styles" checkbox. In the style table, assign new (template) styles to the imported styles. E.g. SCENE HEADING -> Scene Heading, ACTION -> Action. Check the "Preserve style overrides" checkbox. Click Import. As your script is imported, the Final Draft styles are replaced by the styles from the template you selected.
  8. Another thing to try might be to do a fresh install of Storyist (from the DMG) in another user account and run it from there. This would eliminate any preferences, permissions, or input manager issues. -Steve
  9. Steve


    So you would like to add a tag or keyword to text to collect for a "jargon file" and then have Storyist generate a jargon sheet? That would be interesting and the facility could probably be generalized so that while you define a tag called "Jargon", someone else could define "Needs Research", etc...
  10. Hi Isaac, As you probably guessed, the fact that you aren't getting to the new document dialog means that there is an initialization problem somewhere (fortunately or maybe not, there have been very few changes in the init code from release to release). The first thing to do is disable any haxies (Silk, Menu Master, TextExtras etc...) and see if your situation improves. I'd be interested to hear of any conflicts you find. If you have saved any custom templates, they would be in ~/Library/Application Support/Storyist/Templates. Templates are not opened at initialization time, though, only enumerated for the template dialog, so it is unlikely that they are affecting your launch. Another thing to try would be to move aside your preferences file (~/Library/Preferences/com.storyist.storyist.plist) and relaunch. -Steve
  11. Steve


    For up-to-the-minute slang, I like http://www.urbandictionary.com/. As for adding references, etc... I you think they are worth reading, go ahead. At some point, I'll probably cull the recommendations and pin a categorized list where folks can see it.
  12. I've had numerous requests to add index card support, so I thought I'd start a thread to refine the idea a bit. If you care to contribute, I'd be interested in knowing: Do you use physical cards now? If so, how do you use them? In Storyist, would you see index cards as a general summary of individual items (e.g. plot cards, character cards, setting cards) or just for sections/scenes. What other virtual card implementations have you used that you like? Dislike?
  13. Storyist 1.2 adds support for screenwriting and includes: A screenplay template with styles for standard screenplay elements. Tab and Return key shortcuts to make changing between standard screenplay or novel elements as simple as typing a key or two. Smart text processing (screenplay formatting only) to collect your scene introductions, locations, times, character names, and transitions and auto-complete them for you when you need them. A Backup Assistant to make it easy to backup and restore your work. The ability to view and edit page margins and specify mirrored pages. Improved header and footer support, including the ability to specify different headers for left and right pages. Many other performance and stability improvements.
  14. Steve


    I thought I'd start a list of recommendations on the craft of writing. Feel free to add suggestions of your own. The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. A classic work on mythology. Said to have been the inspiration for Star Wars. The Writer's Journey, Second Edition: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler. A nice distillation of Campbell's work with some new thoughts on structure and character archetypes. The Weekend Novelist by Robert J Ray. Ray lays out a plan for writing a novel over the course of 52 weekends. Buy the first edition if you can find it. Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger.
  15. Steve


    5.0? You sure are! A table-like view is probably a reasonable compromise. I have a strong preference for staying with the page metaphor, which most non-technical users respond well to. Well, you probably noticed that the major pieces are plugins already (manuscript, plot, character, settings) and the file format is made up of open standards. My approach is to use the APIs internally for a while before making them public, which I hope to do in the 2.0 timeframe.
  16. Good suggestion. The film folks would probably be very happy to have this feature too. When a script goes into production, someone (the AD?) has the responsibility of tagging the elements in the script that have $ attached to them (e.g. props that needed to be rented, animals hired, etc). The framework is already there in Storyist to handle other types of data, so it is not a "major" feature.
  17. Steve


    So are you thinking of events that are separate from the story (say backstory or events that influence the story but are not depicted in a section) or are you thinking mostly of sections? If it is the latter, you could use the section start time and end time fields (that are available in the section sheet but not on by default). BTW, in this scenario, I wouldn't consider the virtual index cards to be replacements for sheets, but as a summary that is linked to the sheet. Yes, since time is often fluid, especially in a novel. You have can have multiple epocs, out-of-order presentation, etc... and it does get difficult to design something that will work for the majority of the cases out there. I'd be interested in seeing what you think should be on an event form. If you have an idea of how it should look, go ahead and attach a story file or an rtf file to illustrate.
  18. I set up a new topic for the timeline discussion; I'd like to track it separately because I think it will generate some interesting discussion. As for the series question: this is something I've been considering for a while: How could J.K. Rowling use Storyist for Harry Potter? (I know, bad example; the point is about to become moot.) I agree with Isaac that simply importing other data would be less than ideal; for sanity's sake you really want only one copy of the data. As he suggested, I could allow links between documents or to individual external resources (or collections of resources). This is a little more challenging than it looks on the surface because you have to decide what to use as a URL. A file: URL? What if the document/resource moves? A special protocol (e.g. storyist:) that includes a universal ID? That is a cleaner solution (all documents opened with version 1.2 or later will have unique IDs), but that means building something to catalog all the documents or story resources on the system. I think I can put Spotlight to work on this, but I don't have a clear picture in my head yet of all the pitfalls. Another option would be: * Allow more than one manuscript per story file. That way, all links are within the same document. The solution to this problem (whatever it ends up being) will affect--and be affected by--the design of collaboration features, which is something I've got in the back of my head for 2.0.
  19. Steve


    In the topic titled "Crossing the book boundary", Isaac said "I would love an easy way to associate characters and plot points with a visual time line. A time line helps me maintain story consistency." And Thoth said "A formal, integrated timeline function is a wonderful idea! And I can see it extending for both plot and characters. I've been putting date stamps (and sometimes time stamps) in Plot notes, but I find that it's very useful to have a history (with time and date stamps) associated with each character as well. Unfortunately, the minutiae of each character's life can quickly get out of hand. If you're not careful you find yourself rewriting the entire manuscript in bullet format." I thought I'd break out the timeline discussion since it is a big feature and is probably going to be a longish running thread. There are a couple of possible interpretations/implementations: 1) The timeline is a linear strip of boxes (think the iPhoto photo strip) that represents the sections/scenes in your story. You can drag and drop characters, character points, plot points, and settings to the boxes and quickly build up the section notes. Maybe clicking on the box takes you to the section sheet or a 3x5 card representation of the section. or (maybe and?) 2) The timeline is a visual representation of the section start time/end time fields. It shows you the flow of the story in "story time" and allows you to see how story events unfold in time, check time time consistencies, etc. With this, it would be possible to create a story calendar and do some sort of consistency check.
  20. Steve


    [if you post a suggestion in this forum and want to include it here, please drop a note to Steve with the URL.] * Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing * The Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot (suggested by pjl) * Kurt Vonnegut's Eight Rules for Writing Fiction (suggested by pjl) * Robert Heinlein's Writing Rules (suggested by pjl) * 20 Rules for Writing Detective Stories (S.S Van Dine 1928) (suggested by pjl) * The Routine Autopsy by Ed Uthman, MD (suggested by Callista) * The Writer's Medical and Forensics Lab by D.P. Lyle, writer & MD.
  21. The people who sponsor National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) are launching a screenplay-in-a-month event called Script Frenzy. The event starts June 1st, so there is still time to sign up. If you think you might have a screenplay in you, give it a try. I'm going to!
  22. Isaac: Having a quick search hot key or context menu item is a great idea, and in retrospect, obvious. I'll add it. Let me think some about the "highlight all" feature. Emacs (my religious-war-inspiring editor of choice) also supports something similar and I use it all the time. My primary use when writing fiction would probably be to search for those nasty adverbs Thoth: Go right ahead and make work! Regular expressions support such as you find in grep are quite powerful (and programmers are especially fond of them). They are also quite confusing for non-technical users. However, there must be a way to present it them in the interface that won't scare folks.
  23. Steve


    Bookmarks would be a very useful addition and I've been thinking about how to implement them. Perhaps something like this: I've reserved the command-number shortcuts for bookmarks since I think they will used quite frequently.
  24. I just finished a wonderful biography about Max Perkins, the legendary Scribner's editor who discovered and edited Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe: Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, by A. Scott Berg. Perkins was a prolific letter writer, as were his authors, so the story is largely told in their own words. It is fascinating to read his feedback to authors on issues in their manuscripts and to watch him "develop" his writers over the course of several books.
  25. Steve


    Welcome to the Storyist board! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee, and join the discussion. If you want to familiarize yourself with the features of the board, you can visit the Online Help section, which is always available from the "Help" link in the header of the page. -Steve
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