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Lauren

Hi from Lauren!

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Hi, everyone!

 

I'm a new user trying to figure out Storyist and get comfortable with it. I just posted a long message in the Feature Requests section.

 

Steve suggested I introduce myself in this section and tell a little about my "writerly self." I sold my first book in 1999, and to date I have ten historical romance novels published with Penguin. My current work-in-progress is a mainstream historical trilogy set mostly in 17th Century England and Scotland...I am hoping that I can become acclimated to Storyist soon so that these three books can be finished using this great program.

 

Looking forward to "meeting" you all!

 

~Lauren :-)

http://www.laurenroyal.com

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Hi Lauren!

 

Great to meet you, and another Southern Californian at that. :) (my wife and I live in lovely Orange County). I have more than a few books to my name, but none of them have sold as many as yours have. Way to go! :)

 

I found Storyist after wanting to write my own urban fantasy/sci-fi stories in something other than MS Word (which I use for my day job...well...all day!). I downloaded lots of demos, read lots of reviews, and Storyist seemed to have more of what I wanted so I ran with it. I've never looked back, all my fiction is now written in Storyist

 

I ready your feature request email—lots of great points! In fact, your automatic chapter numbering request was a request of mine as well. And I agree with all the UI stuff that you and your son brought up. And BTW—I own one of your son's iPhone apps, Converter, use it all the time! :)

 

Enjoy Storyist and the forums here,

Orren <— SoCal musician, writer, editor, and NIN/Joy Division fan. :lol:

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Hi Lauren and welcome to the forum.

 

I spotted your feature request before I spotted your post here so I feel as if we've already met.

 

I started writing in the 1980s in the field of Data Requirements Analysis (DRA). Yes, I know. Boring. A very niche market but lucrative. I've been a teacher, a product designer, a Wall Street data modeler (I once received a resume from a young woman who wanted me to hire her to be a data model), and am now doing DRA as a self-employed (home) consultant. This millennium the writing bug bit me again. Even though life keeps getting in the way I have always felt that there were novels of fantasy and science fiction in me. I've tried a great many different writing tools but now feel most comfortable with Storyist. And thanks to Storyist and NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy, I wrote a 54K+ sci-fi novel last November (needs work) and a 152 page script just this month (also needs work). Best of all I think I'm starting to break my habit of constantly going back to tweak things.

 

So, how do you stand on Plotters versus Pantsers?

- Thoth

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Hi, Lauren:

Welcome. I hope you like Storyist. It's really a wonderful program, especially in its current version 2, and it can support your writing in many more ways than are obvious at first. What sets it apart is its capacity to track things: characters, plot, research, saved text, the different sights and sounds in your various settings, the links you've visited—all kinds of things. And when you're not tracking things, it will get out of your way while you write. So I hope you give yourself the time to explore it fully. It has an excellent manual, which you can inflict on your son if you're not a manual reader (very useful creatures, sons). :lol:

 

Steve Shepard, the developer, is also a huge resource. He checks in several times a week to answer questions and responds with lightning speed to bug reports. (I see he has already demonstrated my point by responding to your post: I didn't notice that before writing this!)

 

I write historicals, too, although my novels are primarily adventure-oriented, with the romance a sideline or a reward. My current opus began as a romance but now focuses more on the heroine's emotional growth. I'm just finishing up a screenplay version for Script Frenzy—probably horrible as a script but a good, solid outline for the whole second half of the novel in progress.

Best,

Marguerite

(from that classic adventure romance, The Scarlet Pimpernel)

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As a published author I'm sure we'd all love to hear your thoughts on editors and submitting manuscripts.

Oh yes, Lauran. Any wisdom you'd like to impart would be greatly appreciated. No pressure. TAS, Marguerite St. Just, and I (Thoth—god of writing and stuff) will just sit here at your feet in the meantime. (Pedicure? Foot massage?)

 

- Thoth

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Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone!

 

Orren: We live in lovely Orange County, too! Once in a great while, I think about moving somewhere else…for about half a second. ;-) Keep at it and you will sell one (or more) of your books--I am convinced that making your first sale takes equal parts luck and perseverance. I am thrilled that you like Brent's Converter app! Thanks to Converter, he will probably not be looking for a job when he graduates from university this summer. He's sold something like 170,000 copies of the iPhone format, and his new Converter for iPad app was chosen as an App Store Staff Favorite a couple of days ago and is now #14 on the App Store overall. Okay, enough from the proud mom…

 

thealtruismsociety: Hey, thanks! :-) Regarding editors and submitting manuscripts, what exactly would you like to know? Anything I could tell you would all be just my opinions, of course. For the record, I am a great believer in submitting to agents and then letting your agent submit to the editors--mostly because an agent will be able to get you a much better deal, but no agent will sign you if you've already tried all the publishers with your manuscript. (They want to send out fresh stuff.) That's not to say it's easy to get an agent. The perseverance I mentioned above is key here: send it out to a bunch of agents; revise if any rejection comments make good sense to you (often they won't); send it out to a bunch more. Using this method, I collected 44 rejections from agents before I found one willing to take me on--but then she sold my first book in three days.

 

Thoth: I *love* science fiction and wish I had the scientific background necessary to write it. (Huge, huge, huge Heinlein fan here!) Going back to tweak things is one of my bad habits, too. Plotters versus Pantsers…well, first I have to say that there is no wrong way to write a book--our brains all work differently, so what's right for me will not necessarily work for anyone else. That said, though most of my author friends are Pantsers, I am a very heavy Plotter. I basically start out with a simple outline, then expand and expand until I eventually end up with what I consider a (very rough) first draft with every individual scene included. At that point, some of the scenes will be detailed descriptions of what happens, others will be partially written with chunks of dialogue, still others fully written. In other words, it will be a total mess…but I have enough to be confident the story works, so I can relax and start filling in and revising, which is my favorite part of writing.

 

Marguerite: Thanks for the tips! I have already read about half of the manual and will finish this week for sure. My new books are mainstream historicals rather than romances (but, shh…I haven't exactly confessed this to my loyal readers yet!). Like yours, they include romance threads but not as the main story. I am having a blast writing these, because I'm not stuck with the romance expectations--I can write violence and infidelity, and I can kill people--what fun! ;-) Love your screen name!

 

~Lauren :-)

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Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone!

 

Orren: We live in lovely Orange County, too! Once in a great while, I think about moving somewhere else…for about half a second. ;-) Keep at it and you will sell one (or more) of your books--I am convinced that making your first sale takes equal parts luck and perseverance. I am thrilled that you like Brent's Converter app! Thanks to Converter, he will probably not be looking for a job when he graduates from university this summer. He's sold something like 170,000 copies of the iPhone format, and his new Converter for iPad app was chosen as an App Store Staff Favorite a couple of days ago and is now #14 on the App Store overall. Okay, enough from the proud mom…

 

thealtruismsociety: Hey, thanks! :-) Regarding editors and submitting manuscripts, what exactly would you like to know? Anything I could tell you would all be just my opinions, of course. For the record, I am a great believer in submitting to agents and then letting your agent submit to the editors--mostly because an agent will be able to get you a much better deal, but no agent will sign you if you've already tried all the publishers with your manuscript. (They want to send out fresh stuff.) That's not to say it's easy to get an agent. The perseverance I mentioned above is key here: send it out to a bunch of agents; revise if any rejection comments make good sense to you (often they won't); send it out to a bunch more. Using this method, I collected 44 rejections from agents before I found one willing to take me on--but then she sold my first book in three days.

 

Thoth: I *love* science fiction and wish I had the scientific background necessary to write it. (Huge, huge, huge Heinlein fan here!) Going back to tweak things is one of my bad habits, too. Plotters versus Pantsers…well, first I have to say that there is no wrong way to write a book--our brains all work differently, so what's right for me will not necessarily work for anyone else. That said, though most of my author friends are Pantsers, I am a very heavy Plotter. I basically start out with a simple outline, then expand and expand until I eventually end up with what I consider a (very rough) first draft with every individual scene included. At that point, some of the scenes will be detailed descriptions of what happens, others will be partially written with chunks of dialogue, still others fully written. In other words, it will be a total mess…but I have enough to be confident the story works, so I can relax and start filling in and revising, which is my favorite part of writing.

 

Marguerite: Thanks for the tips! I have already read about half of the manual and will finish this week for sure. My new books are mainstream historicals rather than romances (but, shh…I haven't exactly confessed this to my loyal readers yet!). Like yours, they include romance threads but not as the main story. I am having a blast writing these, because I'm not stuck with the romance expectations--I can write violence and infidelity, and I can kill people--what fun! ;-) Love your screen name!

 

~Lauren :-)

 

Great advice thanks.

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Hi Lauren.

 

Totally grok Heinlein fandom.

 

While I'm normally a Pantser I wrote my first script (for Script Frenzy, see appropriate forum) as a Plotter. I was surprised to see that after fleshing it out it was 50% longer than I had anticipated. Well, it's often easier to cut than to pad, right?

 

Looking forward to hearing from you on the forums.

(Please don't let me scare you off. I'm really a pussycat. Honest.)

- Thoth.

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Hi Lauren.

 

Totally grok Heinlein fandom.

 

While I'm normally a Pantser I wrote my first script (for Script Frenzy, see appropriate forum) as a Plotter. I was surprised to see that after fleshing it out it was 50% longer than I had anticipated. Well, it's often easier to cut than to pad, right?

 

Looking forward to hearing from you on the forums.

(Please don't let me scare you off. I'm really a pussycat. Honest.)

- Thoth.

 

I think I'm both. For both my novel and script I plotted out the entire story but only a paragraph or so for each chapter or scene. The rest was done as I wrote.

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Hi Lauren,

 

Orren: We live in lovely Orange County, too! Once in a great while, I think about moving somewhere else…for about half a second. ;-)

 

I know the feeling. :) And it's nice to meet another writer from around these parts! I lived up in the bay area when I attended UC Berkeley, but other than that I've lived in or around Tustin/Santa Ana/Costa Mesa most of my life. My wife, who also has started writing (sci-fi), has nearly the same story—lived in OC other than a short stint in SF for some university.

 

Keep at it and you will sell one (or more) of your books--I am convinced that making your first sale takes equal parts luck and perseverance. I am thrilled that you like Brent's Converter app! Thanks to Converter, he will probably not be looking for a job when he graduates from university this summer. He's sold something like 170,000 copies of the iPhone format, and his new Converter for iPad app was chosen as an App Store Staff Favorite a couple of days ago and is now #14 on the App Store overall. Okay, enough from the proud mom…

 

Thanks for the encouragement! And you're very justified in your pride, that's fantastic! And he earned it, his was I think the second or third converter app I purchased (I deal with lots of Europeans, so I'm doing currency conversions and metric->imperial conversions daily) and was the best. :)

 

For the record, I am a great believer in submitting to agents and then letting your agent submit to the editors--mostly because an agent will be able to get you a much better deal, but no agent will sign you if you've already tried all the publishers with your manuscript. (They want to send out fresh stuff.) That's not to say it's easy to get an agent. The perseverance I mentioned above is key here: send it out to a bunch of agents; revise if any rejection comments make good sense to you (often they won't); send it out to a bunch more. Using this method, I collected 44 rejections from agents before I found one willing to take me on--but then she sold my first book in three days.

 

Three days? Very cool! Must have been a good book! :) (and the right agent for the book!)

 

Just to give you an idea of how varied the publishing industry can be: My day job is as an acquisitions editor for Cengage Learning, the #6 textbook publisher in the USA. I work for the teeny tiny trade/retail division, as an AE for music technology books (music software tutorials, etc). In my area of academic/technical publications, it is extremely rare to see an agented manuscript. (in technical/academic publishing, we are usually pitched ideas by authors, or we develop titles to fill particular academic/technical niches, and then find authors to write the texts).

 

I am, however, following your above advice for my fiction to the letter—I think I've sent this manuscript to 13 agents so far and I am in fact 85,000+ words into revising my 95,000 word novel based on some rejection comments that I thought made a lot of sense, and will be doing it all again when I'm finished. :)

 

My new books are mainstream historicals rather than romances (but, shh…I haven't exactly confessed this to my loyal readers yet!). Like yours, they include romance threads but not as the main story. I am having a blast writing these, because I'm not stuck with the romance expectations--I can write violence and infidelity, and I can kill people--what fun! ;-) Love your screen name!

 

In a sense, science-fiction is "historical" too. It's just a history that hasn't happened yet. :) But the "historical" aspect of documenting the setting, and the importance of the setting to the story, is still there. And I'm with you about the body count issue! :) Any story/novel I write has some element of the supernatural...and a body count. :)

 

Take care,

Orren

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I think I'm both. For both my novel and script I plotted out the entire story but only a paragraph or so for each chapter or scene. The rest was done as I wrote.

 

You know, I think a lot of us are. I tend to work out a story in my mind to the point that I know what happens from beginning to end, even if I haven't written it down. So for a novel in progress now, there is no outline on paper, but it's pretty well rough outlined in my head. OTOH, for the sequel to the novel I'm shopping now, I actually did write Storyist plot sheets for the outline of the entire plot. So I guess tend towards plotting, but not always written down.

 

Orren

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Marguerite: Thanks for the tips! I have already read about half of the manual and will finish this week for sure. My new books are mainstream historicals rather than romances (but, shh…I haven't exactly confessed this to my loyal readers yet!). Like yours, they include romance threads but not as the main story. I am having a blast writing these, because I'm not stuck with the romance expectations--I can write violence and infidelity, and I can kill people--what fun! ;-) Love your screen name!

 

~Lauren :-)

Good to know. Maybe we can trade tips; I'm a historian as well as a historical novelist.

 

On the constraints of the romance genre, I hear you: I have two murders in the first five chapters, as well as a couple of wandering husbands (one of whom eventually comes back to the fold) and a full complement of camp followers, barmaids, and soldiers with something other than war on their minds. Also a full-blown historical battle and a royal kidnapping. Never a dull moment. :)

 

I used to read a lot of historical romance, but I'm having far too much fun these days writing my own. Cheaper than therapy, too. :)

M

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Hi Lauren!

I found the feature request post before this one as well (I typically work my way down the thread list in order when I come looking for unread threads to reply to) so I said Hello there, however, I'll happily say it again! Welcome to the forums! It's great to have an established writer who'll dole out some tips. I'm thoroughly impressed with your finding an agent experience. What a story! I think I would get rather discouraged with 40+ rejection letters.

 

As for me, I am the young whippersnapper on the board (one of them anyway) in both age and writing. I'm an animal enthusiast and I spell my nick name (Jules) many different ways. I'm always collecting new ways and new versions thanks to Thoth. Ha! I found Storyist when looking around at different Mac writing software options. I originally started off with Scrivener, but I really loved the Character (and other) Sheets that Storyist offered and the community here, so I switched. I really enjoy the community here because I not only get to talk to and discuss the industry (and other completely off topic things as is quite often the case) with people who understand and who have experience to share, but Steve is around to listen to our thoughts and suggestions (how ever whiney and demanding we are) on his software. It's a really great place.

 

So again, welcome!

 

- Jools

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You know, I think a lot of us are. I tend to work out a story in my mind to the point that I know what happens from beginning to end, even if I haven't written it down. So for a novel in progress now, there is no outline on paper, but it's pretty well rough outlined in my head. OTOH, for the sequel to the novel I'm shopping now, I actually did write Storyist plot sheets for the outline of the entire plot. So I guess tend towards plotting, but not always written down.

 

Orren

I have to admit that I am a died-in-the-wool Pantser. Script Frenzy did alert me to the value of plotting: I dutifully outlined the whole story before April 1, and I loved the sense of security it gave me-- for at least ten minutes after I started writing, when I immediately started altering plot points. :)

 

I like the idea of the outline, and I love the experience of writing a screenplay. But until I see my characters in action and hear them talk, I don't seem to be able to relate to them, no matter how much I plan.

M

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I like the idea of the outline, and I love the experience of writing a screenplay. But until I see my characters in action and hear them talk, I don't seem to be able to relate to them, no matter how much I plan.

I know what you mean. (Chant: The voices in my head are my friends. The voices in my head are my friends. The voices in my head are my friends.)

:D

-T

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I once had a long conversation with quite a few of my characters on an IM client while one of my friends was on a "BRB" ... she came back to a couple pages of me talking to my characters... found it quite.. interesting. Ha!

 

Friends.... friends....

 

 

Back to Lauren, when did you first start writing? What got you into it? I love hearing how other people got started.

- Jools

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I once had a long conversation with quite a few of my characters on an IM client while one of my friends was on a "BRB"

 

I have always spoken aloud and carried on conversations with my characters. I can remember doing that as far back as I had been writing. Sometimes folks would think I was mad, walking down the street talking to myself. Now they think I'm on the phone, with a bluetooth headset hidden under my long hair! The world has caught up with me! :D

 

Orren

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