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orrenm

David Hewson on Storyist

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Yes, very interesting. I am amused that DH thinks that Steve doesn't collect a lot of feedback (I alone have inundated him with positive and negative feedback—not to say weeping, whining, and wailing—over the last five years, and we haven't even mentioned how Thoth chalked up close to 4,400 posts at last count. ;)). Storyist also has a lot more flexibility and power than the review indicates.

 

But otherwise a very competent and fair review. And he says nice things about the forums, so it must be good! :)

Thanks for letting us know.

M

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Hi Orren.

 

What Lady M said, ditto.

 

I also noticed that Amazon sells two Kindle books that teach Scrivener (by David Hewson) and Scrivener 2 (by Kirk McElhearn) plus a Dummy book (by Gwen Hernandez due Oct 2, 2012). How To books are good marketing tools.

 

More importantly, there is also a Storyist book by Ronald Cohn and Jesse Russell. But at $45, it's a bit pricey for a How To book.

 

Lastly, that 4000+ post count would be a lot higher if I used Storyist on the iPad. Since I don't I am reluctant to post on the iPad Beta forum. iPad on the Mac is very stable these days so I spend most of my time here inspiring the masses. (Short story about a pillow fight, anyone?)

 

Thanks for the heads up.

-Thoth

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And the Storyist book has a suspicious look about it, as if it might be compiled from Wikipedia articles (who knew there was more than one!). But I agree with Thoth that a How to Write a Novel or Script with Storyist, walking people through how to set up and outline a project, set up and use sheets, create custom fields, use plot points, and all those other things that may not be immediately obvious (notebook, new collections, images, comments, bookmarks, collages—long list!) would be a great marketing and education tool.

 

How does Christina feel about writing Storyist for Dummies, in effect? If Sir Percy or Lynx hit big enough to let me lead a life of writing and leisure, I swear, I'll tackle the project myself (although I also swear that I will not call it that!). :)

 

Storyist on the iPad is wonderful, Thoth. Hope one day you will solve your keyboard woes and get a crack at it (besides, the rest of us miss your contributions).

best,

M

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Hi there - I am David Hewson though the moniker would suggest otherwise. I'm sure the software can do a lot more than I know but as I said I haven't written an entire book in it so I can't write about that.

 

I don't think Storyist needs a book like the one I did on Scrivener. Scrivener is a very complex piece of software that can do any number of different things. Storyist seems much more focussed on writing fiction. If you understand how novels are structured you should get the Storyist idea pretty quickly. It can be harder with Scrivener especially with tools like Collections that are unique and need to be explained in some detail.

 

For what it's worth I found the default Storyist template a bit off-putting because I didn't understand what section sheets were. Most people when they launch writing software simply want to write to begin with and I found it hard to understand where section sheets fitted in with that. If you read some of the comments on this forum I think I'm not alone there.

 

Storyist's strength is it simplicity and I'm not sure that came across for me in the default template or the Getting Started Guide. In fact it only started to click when I hid a lot of the section sheets and focussed on the manuscript. That's fair enough because all software has a learning curve, of course. But I think Storyist is an interesting, original and very promising project, and the Mac/iPad pairing is pretty much unique right now. I bought version one, then version two and the iPad app. I'm sure I'll be a Storyist customer long term wherever it goes next (I am trying to cut down on my habit of buying every Mac writing app that comes out but in Storyist's case I will definitely make an exception).

 

So I hope you view this as a constructive addition to the conversation. I think the iPad app is fantastic and will be going on location on Sunday using it and an iPad alone as a way of syncing with an outline desktop Storyist project.

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Hi, David, and welcome to the forums! (I had guessed your user name based on the questions you asked and the items you mentioned in your review). I hope you will stick around the forums now that you have written your review. We always appreciate a new voice.

 

I do think your review is an excellent addition to the discussion—and I'm glad that you wrote it. I also agree that in the beginning new users probably do best to focus on writing and the most obvious types of sheets (character and setting). I ignored plot points, for example, for a couple of years and could see no use for them for all that time, until I figured out that they offered a great way to plan a specific sequence or to chart the Hero's Journey or even to create a quick and dirty timeline. Now I use them a lot. I didn't "get" character development points at first, either; I just used the sheets to track physical details and notes.

 

Section/scene sheets are most useful for plotters, who like to craft out the story scene by scene before they write a line. Not being a plotter, I use mine for revision: to check whether I have a conflict in each scene, for example. They aren't essential, but they can be helpful. And in fact, you could set up a custom field in your scene/section sheets, if you wanted, that would track the state of the scene (first, revised, perfect), as you asked elsewhere. But since Steve had already suggested a simpler alternative, I didn't want to pile in with a lot of potentially confusing instructions.

 

I tried Scrivener (1 and 2). I admire it but have never managed to warm to it; I much prefer Storyist. And the iPad app is great. Still, the world is big enough to support two good novel-writing programs!

 

By the way, ePub and MOBI export works great in Storyist (as well as in Scrivener). I often read Word-created RTF files into it just to export them as ePub, so I can vouch for that feature.

Best,

Marguerite

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Thanks Marguerite. One question - what happens with images when you export to MOBI or epub? A friend of mine is writing a book with screenshots in. I know Amazon keep moving the Kindle goalposts - when I wrote the Scrivener book last year I had to watch file size and scale them down.

 

Do you need to do that in Storyist to get the right output too? I don't intend to go that route again - I just write for publishers. But for people who do I imagine things have changed somewhat now that lots are reading ebooks on tablets where rescaling images would be better. (Actually the friend just told me he's now bought Storyist and the iPad app so maybe he'll be on here asking those questions himself shortly).

 

PS. Being English I tend to shriek when people mention Joseph Campbell which may be another reason I should stay away from section sheets.

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Thanks Marguerite. One question - what happens with images when you export to MOBI or epub? A friend of mine is writing a book with screenshots in. I know Amazon keep moving the Kindle goalposts - when I wrote the Scrivener book last year I had to watch file size and scale them down.

 

Do you need to do that in Storyist to get the right output too? I don't intend to go that route again - I just write for publishers. But for people who do I imagine things have changed somewhat now that lots are reading ebooks on tablets where rescaling images would be better. (Actually the friend just told me he's now bought Storyist and the iPad app so maybe he'll be on here asking those questions himself shortly).

 

Hi David (thanks for joining the thread),

 

Steve has made screencasts to guide users through the process and tips for publishing for MOBI and ePub:

http://storyist.com/...lish-on-amazon/

http://storyist.com/...-epub-for-ipad/

The bottom line is that Storyist should itself scale down images if necessary, so the user needs to be less concerned about file sizes.

 

Orren

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I haven't used images at that level, although some other forum members have. I have a cover image and (in one book) a map, both of which I scaled down using Photoshop's Save for Web and Devices feature (in part to keep the Storyist file itself at a manageable size). Those are both independent files, so when I export to (say) ePub, I specify them among the files to be exported and drag them into place. I think Storyist does scale them down even further, because the ePub comes out at about 1/3-1/2 the size of the Word version, which is pure text.

 

In my experience, anchored graphics are the bane of ePub/MOBI export (they give InDesign fits, and if anyone should know how to create an ePub file, Adobe should). I think Storyist handles them better than most programs—certainly better than ID—but I can't say more than that because I haven't tried it myself.

 

Sorry to cause you pain and agony with my Joseph Campbell reference (which was actually a Chris Vogler reference, but he was stealing from JC). I tried desperately to read Hero of 1,000 Faces at one time, but didn't make it past the sacred oak (or was it an elm?). ;)

Best,

M

 

P.S. Stoopid question, perhaps, but you do know that there is more to the Storyist documentation than the Getting Started document, right? Steve's wife, Christina, produced an honest-to-God printed manual, which you can buy for $10 or download for free as PDF or ePub from the Storyist website (although it doesn't, so far as I recall, answer the images in e-book question you just asked). The manual also exists as Help files, but then you have to know the exact terminology, which I rarely do.

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Thanks Orren and Marguerite

 

Didn't know about the manual. Have grabbed it and copied to Evernote. I'll leave my friend to work out what he wants to do with images. He deals with InDesign too so he should be used to these things. I never got as far as the sacred oak or elm I'm afraid... I'm just temperamentally allergic to anything that tries to reduce writing down to theories.

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I forgot to mention that the Storyist Manual was, not too surprisingly, created in Storyist. Steve has made the Storyist version available at the same support address where you downloaded the version you put in Evernote. There are also Kindle and ePub versions there.

 

I bring this up because the manual includes many screen shots, so your friend could download the .story file and see how it is constructed, then check the results against the Kindle and ePub versions. That might be more useful than following a manual.

Best,

M

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Why are we all calling the Storyist User's Guide the Storyist Manual?

 

Granted, the differences between a guide and a manual are subtle to the point of obscurity, but a guide is meant to guide, not just explain the product's commands. Steve does a good job of guiding with his videos. I think that video collection should be more fleshed out (to include Lady M's techniques, for example).

 

Just a thought.

-Thoth

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Yes, my bad. Thou art right, O Lord of Magic, etc. It should be the Storyist User's Guide. Blame my lousy memory.

 

16,000 posts, and only about 1/4 of them yours. You have been slacking off! :P

M

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