So, what happens next? An insight into writing.

I thought it might be of some interest, to at least a few people, if I gave some insight into just how I write.

I don’t write according to rules, for one thing.  Now and again, an idea pops into my head.  If I can, I’ll jot it down somewhere.  It may be a general idea, or it might be an actual section of writing.  Not all of these bear fruit, and some do so only after some years!  The most significant thing in how I write is that I never know where a story will take me!  I find story plans just don’t work for me, personally.  I’m more like a reader, or maybe an explorer: I like to be led by the writing, into new places and situations, often without warning.  Don’t get me wrong!  I usually have a general idea of what I want to achieve with a story, what it’s generally meant to be.  I just don’t sit down and map everything out in advance.  I guess I just like surprises LOL!

I use Jutoh as my writing tool.  At first, I used WordPress, creating a post for each chapter.  This proved too limiting, especially in terms of formatting.  I don’t mind writing in HTML but having to switch from the visual editor to the HTML text editor every time I needed to insert a wide “time lapse” spacing between paragraphs was a pain.  Also, the formatting didn’t port well from WordPress to other tools.  Jutoh provides a far better environment to work in, and it is possible to use styles that can be amended easily, causing everything using those styles to be altered with minimum effort.  Also, it allows me to use shortcut methods when writing, so that words with special characters can be typed in plain letters and they will automatically be changed to the correct characters.

In addition to Jutoh, I use OpenOffice.  This freeware package provides a platform for creating manuscripts ready for submission to Smashwords, for publication.  At one time, I tried using it to master the manuscripts but, while it may look right, some things just don’t reproduce correctly when being converted.  Plus, of course, it doesn’t produce the range of ebook formats that Jutoh does!

Another task I hate is proofreading!  Unfortunately, it’s also something that can’t be ignored.  I have learnt to proofread each chapter as I go, now.  Trying to proofread a whole novel would just drive me mad,  Unfortunately, I can’t afford to pay anybody else to do the proofreading for me!  The thing I have to keep in mind is the fact that one thing I detest in books I buy, is the sheer number of typographical errors!  I’m determined to prevent the problem with my own works, to the best of my ability.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’d love to hear from anybody who finds any of the above interesting!

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Reading on a netbook….

I finally found an eBook reader that does everything I want it to on my netbook! FBReader is a completely free eBook reader that will handle all the formats that I need it to.  It runs very nicely under the cut-down version of Linux that’s installed on my netbook.  It allows the “paper” to be changed to any colour that suits you (I like sepia!) and even permits screen rotation.  The control keys are fully configurable, so that you can, for example, set up keys to move through the book in pages or scroll a line at a time.  The only problem I have is passing a “command line argument” from Jutoh, so I can’t (yet) launch the current book automatically.

The FBReader web site includes a very useful list of eBook sources, if you want to increase the size of your library!

FBReader is available for Android devices, Windows, Linux and a host of other systems, though some are older versions of the software.

A big step forward

I mentioned my netbook in my last post.  Well, today I resolved a big headache, namely not knowing the root password, which meant that I couldn’t update existing software or install many new packages.  Thanks to the “How to” section on www.laptopmag.com.  I’m now bringing it up to date as much as possible, though it’s a slow process.  Not only will I have the ability to write on the netbook, as already reported, I’ll be able to install packages that will make the netbook more useful generally!

The amusing thing is that I had searched high and low for some way to reset the password, and nothing workable presented itself.  I gave up after visiting more than 50 sites, many of which simply suggested the same things, or stated that it was impossible!  Then, searching for an ebook reader for the netbook, I followed a link and ended up at laptopmag.com!  Crazy!

Arriving Via Unexpected Means

Some months back, I was kindly given an old Acer Aspire One netbook, running Linpus Linux.  It was my intention to use it for writing when away from my desktop PC.  OK, so it had OpenOffice Write on it, but it was an old version and caused a few problems.  No problem, just update it?  You’d think so, but the previous owner had done as Acer instructed and protected it with a system wide admin password, and had forgotten what the password was!  Every attempt to install new or updated software just met with that password and failed.

Yesterday, I was reading the Jutoh book on my iPhone.  It referred to installing Jutoh on Linux.  When I got home, I investigated further and discovered in Jutoh’s FAQ that a whole section was devoted to installing on this very netbook and OS!  Still with very limited hope, I followed the instructions and, with just a few modifications for differences in folder names, Jutoh actually installed!

A bit more investigating, and I also learnt how to install fonts that weren’t available on the netbook, and I now have a fully functional mobile solution for writing.  I cannot thank Julian Smart of Anthemion Software Ltd (creator of Jutoh) enough!  Not only has his advice on this been immensely useful, he has been enormously patient with my many questions about using Jutoh, most of which have been a consequence of not reading the book/FAQ before asking!

I can now master my writing in Jutoh and know that there won’t be any problems with porting files over from machine to machine.  It’s a fantastic advance!

Oh, by the way, I should point out that I use Dropbox to move files between machines/devices.  It’s a superb method to share files with my PC, netbook, iPhone and iPod Touch, and also with other people!

Undecided – cover design…

I’m undecided.  When I first published Skylord, I thought a plain cover might create a certain mystery which would make people inclined to download it.  Well, it’s been downloaded 18 times, which is wonderful, but I’m still tempted to change the cover.  I did try to produce something myself, but the question is whether it’s good enough…

Possible Skylord cover

Possible Skylord cover
Copyright © Steve Smy, 2012

It’s a quandary!  I don’t want to change the cover and end up putting people off downloading the ebook!

Main Imagineer Web Site Updated

I’ve just spent a few hours updating the main Imagineer web site!  Didn’t speed things along to have forgotten the password for the host, of course…  I’ve put information on there about Skylord, and added Goodreads to it, both as a button under the “Top Links” and a “Write a review…” box for Skylord.

The novel progresses nicely.  I’m starting to discover the true scale of An Coatha Vaireder, and it’s frightening.  The poor companions have a tremendous journey to complete!

At the last report, Skylord had been downloaded 17 times – I’m really excited by that!

By the dozen

Well, it’s been an experience!  Since releasing Skylord on Smashwords, it’s been downloaded twelve times!  That’s very gratifying.  Now, if only some of those downloaders would submit reviews to Smashwords, I’d be really thrilled!  OK, so I know that there’s no guarantee that any review would be positive, but I’d prefer to know whether I’m wasting my time.  Is it like this for every author?

Meanwhile, the novel progresses.  I took some time out to sort out Skylord, and I’ve also written out the full version of a poem quoted in the novel.  Plus, I worked up a cover idea for Skylord, though I’m not yet sure whether I’ll use it.  It’s been a long time since I did any art…

First Publication!

I plunged in.  Yep!  I really did, though maybe not at the deep end…  Today, I published my short story,Skylord, through Smashwords.  You can download it for free here.  I’ve now removed it from the short pieces included on this site, as I prefer the ebook version.

If you download and read it, I would love to get a review, especially on Smashwords, where other potential readers will be able to see it!

I know that it’s not exactly huge, but I’m rather excited by this step forward.  Of course, the novel still progresses, but that will take time to complete.  This is now!

Publishing and Previewing

With eleven chapters completed, I’ve been playing with how the novel will look when it’s finally published.  I find that doing so helps drive me on!

Just how can I preview the novel as an ebook?  Quite simply, really.  I use a program called Jutoh.  This software is excellent!  I’ve been writing the novel using WordPress, in a private blog.  I copy the text from there to OpenOffice.  Jutoh will import OpenOffice files so hat’s all I need to do, in theory.  Obviously, you do have to set up certain basic things in Jutoh but these aren’t difficult to sort out.  The publishers of Jutoh also have a writer’s aide, which acts as a nerve centre for all your writing, Writer’s Café.  I’ve only played with this so far so can’t really offer much comment.

Back to the saga…

Well, my health refuses to improve but it has almost stabilised. As a result, I’m writing again. It’s slow progress by my estimation, based on how quickly other authors are publishing new works! That said, I write marginally faster than I read!

The novel is now up to Chapter 10 and it’s hinting at becoming something of a saga. I expected to be much closer to the core action by now but that’s still a little way off. I await developments with interest…