I gave up on the Mac nearly two years ago. I should have known it wouldn’t go away. There are a couple of projects just come in that demand OS X. No messing. No real alternatives without an awful lot of faffing.
Oh well. Sometimes you have to give in. So sitting on the desk now, hooked up to my Asus monitor, is a brand new MacBook Pro Retina. Top range model. A lot of money but then it should earn its keep over the next few months.
At least I hope so. The first two days have not been good.
Here’s a little gem half-hidden in Scrivener. It’s do with managing notes for a whole project — bits of text that relate to a book as a whole, not the individual documents that make up the text.
Scrivener defaults to opening with Document Notes in the Inspector window. You know the kind of thing. It’s the yellow bit here.
These notes relate to the individual document in the Binder, not the project as a whole. If you hit the switch though you get a Project Note. This is something you can refer to all the time — wherever you are in the book. Handy for general comments, reminders, ideas, and the rest.
I always used to think there was only one Project Note. In Scrivener for Windows this is the case. But not on the Mac. Here you can find this neat little option.
Choose that and you can create several different sets of Project Notes.
So you could use these for general comments, a to do list for the revision phase, pretty much anything you like.
A useful tool beneath the bonnet. Or so it seems to me.
The font you use for writing is important. It shouldn’t be too big or too small. It should be legible but not shriek at you. Invisibility is a good thing. All you want to see are the words and the ideas coming off the page.
My own preference these days is a simple Microsoft font, Calibri 12 point. It punches all the above buttons for me.
On the other hand it’s nice to try something different on occasion. If a scriptwriter you’re used to using a monospaced font, usually a version of the typewriter-style Courier. But novelists can go down this path too.
For a while I went through a noir phase enjoying writing in P22 Typewriter. It looks very good in Scrivener full screen. Like this…
Those distressed figures are pretty atmospheric.
There’s now a new monospaced Courier on the block though and very nice it is too — and free. It’s called Courier Prime. You can read more about its background here. The font is principally designed for scriptwriting but novelists or anyone else who writes can use it just as well.
I love the clean looks. One word of warning. While Courier Prime works very well with most scriptwriting apps as well as Scrivener and Word a technical glitch on Final Draft 8 on Windows (at least Windows 8) throws out pagination entirely. Final Draft’s fault the Courier Prime people say — hopefully to be fixed when FD9 comes out early next year.
Here’s what to expect.
Most books require a structure. Think of it as an architect’s blueprint. You may not see the pen strokes and angles, but there is a skeletal framework, a sense of design, required of narrative without which it is likely to fall apart.
In something like Scrivener structure comes naturally. You create folders or master documents then add subsidiary documents to create scenes within chapters and parts. But Word 2013 – while it lacks Scrivener’s fancier features – can do much the same thing too. This isn’t the same as heavy duty outlining or brainstorming. But it can be a creative and useful way to develop a story – one I use all the time these days.