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Old 10-21-2012, 03:26 AM   #263
Metal Mick
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Posts: 253
Karma: 2383254
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: The Book, PB 302, IQ
My final words on LSB

Hi all,

I thought it was necessary to put a few final words regarding the issue of LSB here. I've spent a fair while trying to decide just how to phrase things without coming across as promoting this particular software (while still giving useful information to MR members). So, we'll see how I go. What I won't do is make this a tutorial on how to use LSB - that's been done already, plus there is the mailing list on the (admittedly, execrable) Yahoo! site (so be prepared for some of your messages there to go missing).

I did take note of the claimed issues regarding rtf output. I've had problems getting it into LibreOffice - it comes in jumbled (like a 10,000 word chapter overtyped onto four or five lines) which irks me, but ctrl-A and then selecting say, a Body Text style sorts things out. Still, it shouldn't happen. I don't have Word, but in WordPad, any file or generated manuscript comes in fine without any apparent spurious characters. At least on my machine.

Regarding word processors, I'd probably still be using Lotus' WordPro (not WordPerfect as has been erroneously reported) for my writing because some of its features are still unparalleled today as far as I know, like being able to create tabbed sub-documents with unique style sheets, and being able to reorder them easily by dragging; as far as I'm concerned, its handling of bullets and numbers is still far more logical than anything in LibreOffice, nor from what I've seen, Word.

When I spat the dummy with MyNovel (earlier in this thread), I tried yWriter (again, and for at least the fifth time) because several people here gave it a good rap, but I just found I didn't like the way it worked, and for a while I even thought it was pretty limited in what it could do, because of the way it worked. There was just a severe incompatibility with the way its creator provided tools for me to use, and where I was expecting to find them. Still, I've downloaded it again, and will look into it again when I have time and I'll see how it works out for me, when I start on my next novel.

On that topic, I looked long and hard at WriteItNow because the reviews I read about it were quite glowing. I passed on it. Its character dossiers irritated my colon beyond all measure, for it obliged or encouraged me to assign a numeric value to a character trait like honesty. Okay... but what exactly would it mean to me as a writer, if I had one character at say 85% honesty and another at 75% or 84%? Simply, I had never, ever thought in those terms and doubt there is sufficient youthfulness ahead of me to start doing so now.

Oh, and its word-processing tools were at best, rudimentary, which again, irked me.

Thank goodness for demos!

Currently, I'm nearing the 100k word mark in the first draft of my novel, and though I'm doing it all in LSB, I can't claim proficiency yet, though the tools I do use seem to work very well. Setting different "modes" for say a planner, or dossier, is still incomprehensible to me and the help files are unilluminating, but when I have time I'll ask at the mailing list for a more detailed explanation. I can create a planner (say Chapter List), and set it to Dossier mode, Chapter mode, Planner mode, and about a half-dozen more. I don't know what the differences are, but eventually I'll find out.

A shortcoming I haven't mentioned before is that I can only have 3 chapters open at once, and this seems to be a function of the software used to create the program. I don't like it, though and the limitation applies to all file types.

I tried Scrivener, and tend to refute claims that it and LSB are similar. Unless I've missed them, there aren't any wordprocessing tools in Scrivener and things in LSB are absent from Scrivener and vice versa.

To me, it makes no difference if I'm the sole person on MobileRead who likes LSB - it works for me, and after finding a predominantly green UI colour scheme in the first day or so, I haven't visited that part of the program since. Green, I am told is easier on the eyes, so that's what I went with. Adding around 75k words since mid-July tends to indicate the program doesn't provide a handicap to my creativity. If LSB is prompting me to play with colors needlessly, then I'm either ignoring it or the signs are so subtle that I can't detect them.

I have only dabbled with the storyboard and other visual aspects of LSB because I tend not to work that way. Besides, although the website shows how they are used, I lack the time and energy to hunt down pictures I can use, let alone create them. Rather, I have a vivid imagination, a love of the language, and a determination to put the scenes I imagine into words that are uniquely mine, and then onto a page. I have no clear idea what a "visual" person is, but if my previous sentence indicates a working definition, then I'd run with that. Two things I'd love in LSB: spell-as-you-go, and also being able to store links to web pages easily. Little things, but I miss them badly. MyNovel had both.

An unexpected tool is the thesaurus: highlight a word in a sentence and the thesaurus gives a string of alternatives, each within the highlighted word in the sentence, so you can read an alternative and decide if the fit is okay.

I wish you all the best with your endeavors, but as I said, my novel is getting near its end (at least as far as first draft is concerned) and I shall soon start on the second draft. I doubt I will have an excess of time to return here too often, but I'll try.

In the meantime, I'd encourage everyone interested in such software to try the demos for fit and functionality, and if at the end you find you prefer four or more applications over one, go with that - I've been there and done that too. If your choice makes you productive, how can that be wrong? And if you happen to prefer an attractive workspace, don't let anyone brand you a dilettante, nor allow yourself to be bullied by those who rail against your choice just because they prefer something else.

Regards to all.

Last edited by Metal Mick; 10-21-2012 at 07:16 PM. Reason: Second thoughts on phrasing.
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