Character names. Don’t you love them? Sometimes they’re memorable. Sometimes, especially for minor characters, they’re not. Scrivener lets you create detailed character profiles in a separate folder within your document if you want to.
But here’s the problem. You’re part way through a scene and you just need to remember the correct spelling of the name. It’s a lot of faffing to switch windows just for that. Especially for me since a lot of the names are foreign. Scrivener doesn’t do conventional new windows really but it has a great trick for putting up what it calls a Quick Reference Window. This is a trimmed down but fully functioning window on an individual document in your project — be it a scene, research or, in this case, a handy reference to your characters.
First, create a single document and put a brief description of all your characters in there. This only works with a single document so you must have them all together.
Select the document in the Binder and hit the space bar (on the Mac at least — I think it’s the same on Windows but you may need to check). You get this…
A handy little window that floats above the rest of your project. You can move it around, hide it, do whatever you like. And if you look at the View Menu you’ll see you can open anything in your project this way directly from there too.
As we revealed a while back, that fantastic actor Richard Armitage is the narrator for a new Shakespeare adaptation I’ve co-written with A.J. Hartley. Now Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel is available for pre-order from Audible before its release on May 20.
You can find it on Audible.com and on Audible.uk. The performance will be available worldwide on all Audible stores on release, but pre-orders may not be available if the native language isn’t English. Rest assured though… Richard’s fantastic recounting of our redrawn Hamlet is on the way worldwide.
We’ll be teasing you with some goodies from the recording sessions shortly.
Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be the first in your field. Scrivener started off as an innovative fledgling among writing apps back in 2007 and now is a piece of software used by writers, researchers and journalists around the globe. But as Keith Blount has freely conceded since Scrivener first appeared some of the inspiration for its approach to writing came from an app that’s still less well-known — Ulysses, now in its third incarnation from its German developers The Soulmen.
Being then minded to buy just about every writing app that appeared on OS X I picked up Ulysses 1 (at quite a price I seem to recall) when it first came out and then upgraded to Version 2 — and still never used it. From the start Ulysses has taken a very left field view of the writing process. It set out to be minimalist before minimalism was fashionable. It eschewed conventional word processing formatting in much the same way. Much as I was intrigued by this approach to writing the thing drove me nuts in its first two versions because the developers placed absolutely no store on such simple things as being able to make a word italic with any great ease.
Now version three is out — a completely new app, available on the Mac app store only (which means there’s no upgrade path for earlier users — though there is a demo version available too, details at the foot of this article). Happily Ulysses has seen some of the light. Italics are a doddle and many of my earlier misgivings have been addressed.
So what exactly is this curious piece of software? And should you be using it? Continue reading
Here’s a familiar challenge: you want to work on one scene but know that what you’re going to write is dependent upon a scene, several stages back in the book, which is already done. The standard response to this situation, depending on the software you’re using, is either to split the screen between the two documents or open two windows, one for each bit of the book.
Perhaps it’s me but I’m no great fan of either. All those scroll bars and different bits of window get in the way. This is a book — one long story composed of different bits. I want to see it that way. Continue reading