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Everything posted by Steve

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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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