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Messages - Dormouse [ switch to compact view ]

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I assumed data capture (screen, web page or file - especially the first two); hadn't considered the other option. But you are right, the question was all about constructing the manuscript.

a) Is my logic sound?  And what can you add?
-Steven Avery (July 22, 2018, 11:12 AM)
Most of these things are choices, and there are many programs that can do the equivalent.

I'd say that for these purposes, the ability to publish to book formats was irrelevant. You are likely to need a book design stage or program to get the pictures, footnotes and endnotes set out as you want.

Picture capture might be better done in a separate program. Shouldn't be difficult to get a workflow that is as efficient as having it in program.

b) If it is sound what are some of the RightNote alternatives and how do they compare?
-Steven Avery (July 22, 2018, 11:12 AM)

Rightnote will do this. So will OneNote. I'm sure that you will prefer one to the other.

Personally, because so much of what you describe is about capturing and organising a variety of data, I think that a strong database program would be the best option. The writing itself is secondary, and could even be done in a separate program. In addition to Rightnote and OneNote, most of the old options will work perfectly well (Ultra Recall, TreeDBNotes, etc); so would doogiePIM, except that you might find the range of extra functions distracting.
I'm not sure how easy you would find it to stay on top of the various drafts, edits etc with this workflow though: you'd probably need to specify them separately in the side panel.

Sorry for gap in responding. Interrupted by a few health issues. All dealt with now and seem to be recovering well. Might take a little while for me to catch up on where I was.

I've been thinking about whether there are alternative workflows that don't include spreadsheets.
There aren't alternatives that perform the same function, although most writers won't bother to check and will just try to keep it in mind.
The story lines don't cut it, Aeon Timeline has has a different function.
Needs easy hide & unhide (excludes doogiePIM spreadsheet), but most spreadsheets are probably fine (I've checked RightNote, Excel, Google).
Doesn't change any conclusions, as it is as easy to do in an external program as in a linked one.

True. But it's aimed at online help or user manuals (small market, corporate bias). May well be very competitive in that field (that's why I didn't say it was expensive). But for more general use, where it has a good range of normal features, it's feature list looks OK but nothing special. Better value in $ than € or £, but $598 is still way above most general writing programs. So may be a good choice if you already have it, but hardly enticing otherwise. Of course I don't write user manuals.

PS I have a lifetime subscription to ProWritingAid, and it was very cheap in comparison.

my 2 Cents when it belongs to Writing "Help and Manual" is great authoring Software
I don't know it at all, but looking at its features, I can see that you might be right.
But the price! ... is .. er.. very corporate; a lot of writers think it too much of a stretch to pay $40 for Scrivener.

I've been thinking about whther there are alternative workflows that don't include spreadsheets. The programs with storylines can use those instead, but I've not thought of another working alternative other than word processor tables, which are really a cutdown version.

The reason is keeping track of what I think of as the 'pulses'. Stuff that is there in the background, but may not often impact the narrative.
In LotR there are unsen actions by the protagonists - the party members, Sauron, Saruman - going on all the time. But there's also the ticking away of the Third Age with the Elves leaving and Sauron and ordinary men rising with the Fourth Age depending on who won - but the Elves would have left either way.
And in the Siege of Malta I mentioned in the book tread, there weere the threads of the direct actors (the commanders on both sides; different locations) and the events, but there were also other beats - the Spanish commander weighing up the possibility of reinforcements, the overall political position of the Templars, the Sultan in Constantinople, the machinations of the French, Venetians and others; and then slower beats around the Turk's thrust into Europe; and even slower with the development of oceanic trade/travel unravelling  the importance of the Mediterranean and the entrepot of Venice and the Turks. The last is only mentioned a little in passing but is a fundamental part of the context. And mentioned frequently in the narrative, but without a beat, is the extensive practice of raids, piracy and enslavement which was still increasing: and because there is no beat the references consitute a source of incoherent noise and detract from rather than add to understanding.A further beat is the impact of the reformation and counter-reformation, but this is ignored and has no imapct on the narrative, although it could be argued to be an important consituent of the context.

It is easy to see how this is important in any work that proceeds with time, from the past, through the present and into the future. But it is just as important in other works that have many intertwined threads. Even if only a few are being examined then the others are part of the context for that. The only types of work where it has no use is where there is no narrative, and the work will be read in sections (eg reference books).

Ideally, it would be a corkboard, with storylines/timelines fixed below, but I don't know of anything like that.

As a pseudo-card based systems I would consider Protopage.  It is much more than a Start Page.  And is becoming my central organizer.
-Steven Avery (June 22, 2018, 05:36 PM)
I can see how a journalist or blogger might use Protopage or Linoit, but I'm not sure otherwise how it fits into a writing workflow. Since I'm also personally not looking at cloud programs (variable connectivity), so maybe you could explain how you see it working?

I've now put in a card based systems section. Gingko, NoteZilla. Google grouping ... Keep.

PNotes .net version always is always an alternative to Notezilla, although the robust NotesBrowser in NZ might be one plus, where each program has 10 plusses and minusses.
-Steven Avery (June 22, 2018, 05:36 PM)
There will be many alternatives to NoteZilla which can be used and some may be better. I was using it as an example of how a sticky note program can be useed in a process by addding a very flexible corkboard alternative and a flexible ability to put onscreen info that you are referring to in the current writing. Only functions as a limited and particular part of a workflow and wouldn't suit everyone. The key to its working is the browser control panel: if that's good enough any sticky note program should work.

The other card systems (Gingko, Keep) are very different. Gingko as a pure writing system and Keep as a part of an integrated workflow.

Living Room / Re: What books are you reading?
« on: June 17, 2018, 08:52 PM »
Like Gulliver's Travels, it is all held together by a fast paced adventure, in this case a romp with characters that zing like a James Bond movie. Structured like The Magnificent Seven or the Dirty Dozen (and maybe even a deliberate reference to the Seven's appropriation of a Japanese original), the adventures are pure D&D (as is the totting up).

The economics described are those of Rome (late Republic/early Empire) or maybe Spanish conquest (the economics is more Roman, the social consequences more Spanish). Explicit social comment, but seems more aimed at the isms in D&D/RPG than contemporary society. I suspect that the author has already overstretched his economic expertise and that Book Two, which I haven't read yet, will have more of the social commentary than economics. If it has either, because they can be ignored as the story and characters hold up on their own.

Living Room / Re: What books are you reading?
« on: June 17, 2018, 06:03 PM »
I have just finished Orconomics: A Satire by J. Zachary Pike.


It's an exploration of the economics required for D&D to exist in the form it does. Alludes to the financial crisis, and is probably slightly more enjoyable if you have some understanding of economics and finance but it is at a very simple level and not needed to enjoy the story at all.
Describes itself as a 'satire' but it isn't really; certainly not a viciously derisive satire in the Swiftian tradition and far more of a light persiflage full of warmth and fun.
Something that I think would be enjoyed by many RPG players.

I find that it has poor ergonomics for active use with the mouse. Keyboard shortcuts can be set to please, but the right-click menu is very limited meaning that many common operations require going to the menu.
However, the developer seems responsive and I'm hopeful that this will be addressed.
I'm likely to switch quite a lot of stuff to Evernote/RightNote and workflow will be easier if these are improved.

Progress on looking at the rest of the programs has slightly stalled.
Mind still slightly fuddled by prospect of using NoteZilla for multiple floating notes/prompts/info when writing. I'm setting one project up for this now. Cross platform is a huge advantage for me here, even if the notes on other platforms aren't as full. If this works effectively, it will change my needs in writing related programs as I won't need them to carry so much information or do as much prompting.

Also keep finding myself drawn back to using WriteMonkey. Not sure why, though I do like the folding; maybe I just like the colours I set up  :-[. It also suggests alternative workflows, since quite a lot of programs are happy saving in rtf format and that means that they can all be working on the same file. If NoteZilla is doing hte heavy prompt/info lifting, then there are many workflow options here.

The RightNote/doogiePIM/Evernote/OneNote options are quiet different since they hold everything in a database and would therefore be used for different projects or different stages in a workflow.

RightNote has a perfectly good word processor, but is not aimed at writers. If I were using the information in it - or in Evernote - I would have no problem in using it to write; otherwise I would choose something else.
Having spent some time testing out the RightNote editor, I find that it has poor ergonomics for active use with the mouse. Keyboard shortcuts can be set to please, but the right-click menu is very limited meaning that many common operations require going to the menu.

The easiest workaround is to use the Evernote application which has pop out windows and a much more extensive right-click menu. And this can then by synced with Rightnote. But this makes for an awkward workflow if working in RightNote.

The Journal surprised me by sharing a lot of functionality with RightNote (although the link with Evernote is based on import/export) - they both have journal and note options and the ability to insert files etc - but the right-click options in The Journal are far superior, making it much easier to write in.

Living Room / Re: What books are you reading?
« on: June 10, 2018, 06:14 AM »
Yesterday I read Greylady (Clan Wars 1) by Peter Morwood; first published 1993. The start of a prequel series to the Horse Lords. The second (Widowmaker) was published but the mooted third in the series never appeared and neither did projected extensions to his Horse Lords series. Some joint writing with his wife, but his own writing seems to have come to a stop around 20 years ago. Apparently now 'consults on modern militaria and medieval European weapons'. He and his wife, Diane Duane, appeared at the Discworld Convention in Warwick on 22nd July last year and will be back again this year.

Came up on my random number generator, and I thought I'd check Goodreads before diving in. 3.89 - not good. None of his individual books were as high as 4 - not at all good. Worth bothering? I thought about it, but decided to check it out. And actually it was good. Rich sonorous prose. Somewhat derivative setting, but very little isn't. Too slow for modern pace junkies, but they would surely stop after a few pages, realising it wasn't for them. So looked to be worth a higher rating (OK, not by me - but I'd probably rate 1-2 points lower than the average rater). Not very, very good. Deus ex machina shows, hurrying some transitions. No tension build, and no sense  of impending resolution either; can be OK, but not usually in this genre. All tweakable. And, I think, still is. Up to 90%.


But then a massive flaw. Six missing months. And it simply jumps into the new present. Fine in some books, but this style was about reflection and internal development as well as external. Those six months may have had no big external events, but personal events were moving apace.
And at the very end the protagonist does something he simply wouldn't have done.

Why? The short answer is rank bad editing. The book shouldn't have gone out like this. The author is probably culpable too.
  • Fixed word target, and the book was cut down to fit.
  • The natural end was thought not to draw readers on to Book 2.
  • Author boredom. He'd demonstrated an interest in his settings and that he saw action as scenes, visually, and maybe saw the missing six months as rehashing.
Poor editing in any event. Either poor executive decisions about how the book should be, or a failure to direct or persuade the author to address the issues. No idea if he how much editing he did himself or how much input there was from his wife.
Not read any of his other books, so it is hard to know whether they have similar issues - I'm pretty sure the writing quality would be similar.

I'd still recommend it; always a good sign if a book is finished in a day.

I don't understand how business works

MS think GitHub is worth more than $7.5bn if they control it.
GitHub owners think it is worth less.
Neither share their ideas about valuation, but both think their lot is improved by the sale.

Whether either has any sense is another matter. And who is right can only be known in the fullness of time.

I've not seen a single comment anywhere giving a calculated value, so I doubt if anyone knows.

Living Room / Re: What books are you reading?
« on: June 06, 2018, 06:23 AM »
I hope you are also aware of Tim Powers' The Anubis Gatesw.  I only read it once, long ago, but it seemed to me a fantasy masterpiece.
I became aware of it when I checked out what else he'd written. Haven't read it yet, but intend to. Glad to see a recommendation.

My method for selecting books is partly random. I acquire books (paper and ebooks) when they seem very good value (usual), or I want to read them NOW (less usual), and I use access to other people's books whenever I can. If I'm staying at a B&B with books, I will try to read one of them (preferably finishing before I leave) and will browse books at coffee shops and pubs that have them.

At home, I choose what I want from the shelves or use a random number generator to select a book from our shared ebook library. If it lands on a series, I choose the earliest book I haven't read. If I don't feel like it, I'll look at the list again by author or recency, and then reroll. I prefer to switch genres and subjects to avoid staleness. I also like trying lots of stuff I would never have deliberately chosen. And varying quality levels, and styles.

I have now added a bit to Gingko and put up the table for NoteZilla.

I think NoteZilla could be used for a lot of the writing process, up to and including the writing itself, but since all the notes and boards can operate independently, there is only a small advantage to keeping it all in the same system and there may be other advantages to writing in other programs (including easier revising and editing).

Not entirely sure what to go on to next. Probably the Google system, and then back to pure writing programs.

I don't know. On some of our computers we do this. And I think it's good enough for the vast majority of threats.

But I can usually arrange it so that Bitdefender doesn't cost me much and system impact seems very small except for a minute at start up. Also have Malwayrebytes (except when it decides it won't deal with live threats).

So, for me, it is all a small bit of gain (maybe) on the one side against a small cost on the other. Decision could swing either way any time depending on circumstances.

You would have to have a way to create a contact note structure.
And an event or call log structure.

Within Rightnote.
And link the two together.
-Steven Avery (June 05, 2018, 01:35 AM)
Says it does this:-
Create links to other notes (Richview and spreadsheet notes)
Standard version

I have now put up the Gingko table.

It says it is a horizontal tree starting from the left, but can as easily be constructed to go up or down; I'm not sure whether users in languages that read from right to left would prefer the horizontal direction reversed.

It is a very flexible program for keyboard oriented, pure text users; less so, but still usable for other people. Probably one of the most approachable writing systems out there.

Payment level (within limits) can be decided by users to reflect fact that not all users are in the same financtial position.

Personally, I wouldn't want to write anything long in it - the narrow columns and inability to return a card to the default size are too restricting. But a lot of people seem OK with that.

Next, I think I will do a completely contrasting card based system - NoteZilla.

Living Room / Re: What books are you reading?
« on: June 03, 2018, 03:54 AM »
Dr. Gottman has spent decades studying relationships and is the foremost expert on them.
Hesitate to weigh in here, but I think it is an exaggeration to call John Gottman the foremost expert on relationships. Or an academic. He was a clinical academic, which is quite a different thing. His research and statistical approaches were somewhat problematic, although that isn't unusual in clinically oriented research. If you want an academic view, you could try one of the books by Steve Duck (though his interests have widened in recent years).

Steve has written or edited 60 books on relationships and other matters and was the founder and, for the first 15 years, the Editor of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. His book Meaningful Relationships: Talking, Sense, and Relating won the G. R. Miller Book Award from the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association. Steve co-founded a series of international conferences on personal relationships. - Excerpt from Amazon

Disclosure - I knew him personally some years ago (acquaintance rather than friend).
PS I'm not recommending the books, (a) because I probably haven't read the ones you'd consider and (b) because a book by a pure academic is rarely what people are looking for when they are looking for books on relationships.

Living Room / Re: What books are you reading?
« on: June 02, 2018, 02:56 PM »
Last week I finished The Great Siege of Malta by Bruce Ware Allen. It was a surprisingly exciting account for a history book with a substantial proportion of its pages with footnotes and references. Many references drawn from contemporary eye witness accounts.


I read it because it was a pivotal (long) moment in the history of Europe at the transition between the mediaeval and modern ages (1565), and because I'd recently become aware of how little I knew of the detail of Italian history in the post-Roman and mediaeval periods. This was drawn to my attention when I read Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark, which I read a few months ago. This brilliant fantasy was based on the Siege of Vienna in 1529 - another successful resistance to an Ottoman attack. Tim Powers was known for using contemporaneous evidence and recorded history to provide a basis for his fantasy fiction. I was surprised that it had not been extended into a series (everything had been set up for it), but had not realised that it had been first published in 1979 before series were the accepted way for authors to make money.


I have now posted the RightNote table.

It has a perfectly good word processor, but is not aimed at writers. If I were using the information in it - or in Evernote - I would have no problem in using it to write; otherwise I would choose something else.

Next stop Gingko, a very different beast.

to have a call-note log you have to relate a contact to their events.

Is there a way to get this from the Rightnote functionality?
-Steven Avery (June 02, 2018, 11:35 AM)
Can't you do this using links?

I think visual as in you can visualize the organization better in that horizontal format.  At least, I've found that I do.
That ties in with designs using tabs. Most people work better with a grid system rather than everything being on a single tree (vertical or horizontal - though which is vertical and which horizontal has an impact); we interpret the organisation differently according to how it is presented even when it is structurally identical. I don't think that is actually visual, more the way this particular presentation makes it easier or harder to correlate with the organisation we have in our minds. It's one of the issues I was going to address in my conclusions.

That makes complete sense. I'd always regarded Gingko as a keyboard oriented, text based card system with some organisation, but was concerned I was missing something when I saw references to it being a visual system.

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