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Old 06-28-2013, 08:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Anna Drake View Post
I use LO. I'm currently learning to use its styles features. Fingers crossed. But I really won't know if it's been done correctly until after I upload the book.

How do you set up an alternative dictionary? Am an extremely tech-challenged person.
I'll answer the second part first: From the "Tools" menu choose "Options". Then expand "Language Settings" and select "Writing Aids". This is where you can edit existing dictionaries and create a new one - and select which dictionaries are active.

I create a new one for my book or series (I name it as the book or series), and activate it when I'm working on it. While editing and you want to add a word to the dictionary you should see your newly created dictionary available as the one to add it to. (And/or you can review, add and edit your dictionary from the dialog mentioned above.)

As for styles. Get used to watching the style box up on the toolbar (which shows the current paragraph style) and/or have the "Styles and Formatting" window open (I attach it to the side of my main writing window). As your cursor moves through the document you will see the currently selected style change. The window version is useful because you can also choose the character styles display to see that text that looks italic (for example) is actually a given style (other than default). If you make a habit of checking this you will begin to get a better feel for how styles work and how you can make effective use of them.

Note that checking how well you have used styles, before upload, can be achieved also by converting to epub (I use writer2xhtml) and looking through the raw html (if you're into that sort of thing ). This is a useful way to see how consistent your document formating has been, and maximising consistency will maximise the chances that your document will convert well.

The advanced search features inside LO can also be used to find certain style attributes as a way of finding things (like direct bold/italic etc) that should really have been styles. For example: to find something that you made explicitly italic, you would search using the "Attributes" button of the search dialog (click "More Options" if necessary) and tick the "Font Posture" item. For bold, search for the "Font Weight" item. Don't forget to click the "No Format" button to clear these searches when done.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:32 AM   #17
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Scrivener, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't use styles, and it drives me buggy.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:18 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by BeccaPrice View Post
Scrivener, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't use styles, and it drives me buggy.
Ouch, yes. I remember being so impressed with everything else about the product. There were two things that concerned me - styles was one, but I wondered whether I just needed to spend more time to hunt them down - and the other was some effective way of handling story threads and time-lines.

Not that OO/LO helps with the latter, it's still a manual thing for me at the moment, but without that incentive to move it was easier to stay with LO. I even went so far as to spend some days experimenting with creating my own program to do it - using LO as the text editor, and using master document and section features to fit the collection of scenes together (in much the same way that I do manually right now at the chapter level). I quickly worked out two things: it is definitely feasible (OO/LO and MSO all have the API needed to do it), but it was going to take more time than I could spare to get anything useful. (I could either write the software or write my books, the books won.)

Hmm... getting a bit off topic.

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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
As for styles.
A quick addition to what I said above. If you really want to learn styles there is a slightly drastic way to do it: Hide the formatting toolbar! (the one showing the Italic and Bold buttons etc). If you use Ctrl+I for italics etc. (as I imagine most writers do) then go into Tools / Customize. Select the Keyboard tab, scroll down to the Ctrl+ keys and clear the offending keys (maybe save the current before you start so you can easily restore them). Now show the "Styles and Formatting" dialog and attach it to your main window. This will go a long way toward forcing you to use styles throughout your documents.

(I have macros set up for Ctrl+E (emphasis) and a few other items, but describing those is beyond the scope of what I should say here.)
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:33 AM   #19
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and the other was some effective way of handling story threads and time-lines.

Check Aeon Timeline out, it works with Scrivener and handles the time line. You can link stuff to dates and stuff. I have not used it much yet, but it promises a lot.

http://www.scribblecode.com/
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:30 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
Check Aeon Timeline out, it works with Scrivener and handles the time line. You can link stuff to dates and stuff. I have not used it much yet, but it promises a lot.

http://www.scribblecode.com/
Interesting, thanks. I'll keep the link, but it's no use to me yet - Mac only at this time. I also have some reservations about a few things I read:

"This is a one-to-one representation, meaning that each Scrivener document can be associated with only one event, and each event can be associated with only one Scrivener document."

That sounds a bit restrictive to what I had in mind.

Also, the pretty graphics are all well and good, but I have my suspicions about a few of the more functional things I was hoping for - the sort of stuff that I think will probably only happen with tighter integration.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:50 PM   #21
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I use libreoffice, it's great.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:08 PM   #22
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Man, I don't know what you guys are talking about with the styles being so helpful. I've just been taking regular old MS Office Word 2003 docs (with no attempt to use styles) and cleaning them up in Notepad++ and then finishing them off in Sigil. It works out great. Am I missing something here?
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:42 PM   #23
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I use OO/LO for compiling things that can't easily be done with an ePUB- like the first submission for the Meatgrinder. But that's about all I use either one for. Plain text editor for teh win.
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:00 PM   #24
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Interesting, thanks. I'll keep the link, but it's no use to me yet - Mac only at this time. I also have some reservations about a few things I read:

"This is a one-to-one representation, meaning that each Scrivener document can be associated with only one event, and each event can be associated with only one Scrivener document."

That sounds a bit restrictive to what I had in mind.

Also, the pretty graphics are all well and good, but I have my suspicions about a few of the more functional things I was hoping for - the sort of stuff that I think will probably only happen with tighter integration.
Maybe. I have started to slowly put my time line in it, but I do not use the integration with Scrivener. I am using it more like notes. It really is the best timeline tool I have found so far.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:07 PM   #25
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Man, I don't know what you guys are talking about with the styles being so helpful. I've just been taking regular old MS Office Word 2003 docs (with no attempt to use styles) and cleaning them up in Notepad++ and then finishing them off in Sigil. It works out great. Am I missing something here?
Since you are currently getting by without styles you may wonder if they are worth it. But the real point is that styles are no harder to use than any other formatting, it's just a matter of altering your habits to avoid the formatting toolbar and using styles instead. Get used to doing this and you get all the advantages of consistent formatting with no extra effort - and you will see the benefit especially when dealing with epubs.

I do go on a lot. So rather than clutter, I've enclosed my rambling in spoilers.
Spoiler:


Lots of people have, for years, been using the various office software without much awareness of styles. They produce wonderful and pretty one-page letters and sometimes more interesting documents, but what marks them out from the others is that the moment you go to change something about the layout the entire document starts to fall part. In simple documents, being forced to re-type and/or reformat from scratch isn't that big a problem, so people live with it and never learn any better.

Those of us that have had to create long documents (manuals etc.) quickly learn that having to go through and find every instance of some formatting choice and alter it to a new preference is a PITA. And since such documents often go to multiple output formats, the problem quickly gets out of hand.

One example that is difficult/impossible to achieve without knowing about styles, but very easy with styles, is switching between different paragraph formats. For example swapping between indent-first-line, no paragraph separation, and no-indent-first-line and paragraph indentation. And these choices multiply as your document gains additional formatted elements.

A typical novel is not, necessarily, that much of an issue. There are chapter headings (people often manage to use styles for these even when they don't realise they are), plain paragraph text and emphasis - and in some cases that's all. As long as you're careful never to use spaces and tabs to create indented text or similar "one-offs" (that all too often turn out to be many-offs), then - providing you stay right away from using any explicit font type and size choices - you'll get along without much awareness of styles.

But then we move to ebooks - epub/xhmtl etc. These are intended to use CSS (ie. styles), and where layout is usually done in relative terms (relative to screen or base font size). Yes, they can accept most ordinary HTML, but some choices are not acceptable. As you get more adventurous the chances are you will start to run into trouble. Consistent use of styles in your source document can help you to avoid, or minimise the impact of, that trouble.

My export to epub from LO produces an xhtml document with CSS based on the styles I've used inside my document. When I want to alter how some particular piece of formatting is done (eg: embedded correspondence between protagonists) then I alter the CSS and all instances will use that. If I want to change the layout of chapter headings, I do that once in the CSS and all chapter headings follow. etc. etc. etc.. This same centralised management of your formatting applies as much to your original document as it does to the epub, but it is particularly noticeable in epubs (and similar outputs), because the output is across multiple files (hidden inside the epub) and they become difficult to manage any other way. It is MUCH easier to create a valid, well formatted, epub if your original source used styles consistently.
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:43 PM   #26
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thanks gmw

Wow. What a great explanation, gmw. Thanks a lot. I certainly understand what you're talking about with a document falling apart. I noticed that years ago transferring a Word document to the body of an email. Stuff just seemed to move around on its own accord. It was maddening.

As long as you're careful never to use spaces and tabs to create indented text

But I use the tab to indent every paragraph when I write a novel and all there is to clearing it up is putting ^t in the "find what" box and nothing in the "replace with" box. Presto. 5 seconds. Tabs gone.

So I don't know.Maybe if I was doing more involved things like you it would be worth the effort of changing my writing habits but right now my stuff is so simple I don't think I need to.

Thanks again for the awesome explanation.
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:50 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Gregg Bell View Post
[...]As long as you're careful never to use spaces and tabs to create indented text

But I use the tab to indent every paragraph when I write a novel and all there is to clearing it up is putting ^t in the "find what" box and nothing in the "replace with" box. Presto. 5 seconds. Tabs gone.

So I don't know.Maybe if I was doing more involved things like you it would be worth the effort of changing my writing habits but right now my stuff is so simple I don't think I need to.

Thanks again for the awesome explanation.
All those wasted key strokes. I don't mean the find and replace, I mean all those tab and then start typing. Anyone would think you were still using a typewriter.

There can be lots more to it than simple indent fixes. Styles give you a lot of flexibility whether you're going to epub, pdf or paper. A quick change of style setting and I have my preferred paragraph spacing for paper based review. When producing print-ready PDFs for print on demand I get to fiddle with the styles make the pages fit together as I want them - automatically adjusting the spacing of the chapter titles, margins and so on.

The problem with waiting for things to become more involved is that your habits are all entrenched and it starts to look like hard work to change. To turn a non-styles-consistent document into a styles-consistent document can be fiddly, so you waste time trying to adjust your processing for "just this little thing" and then "oh, just this little bit here too". Training yourself early, while things are simple, can save time later.

Of course there is another way: I once worked with a person who happily reported that he knew everything he needed to know about computers, he would turn to his secretary and say, "Do this for me."
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:59 PM   #28
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ha

Quote:
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Of course there is another way: I once worked with a person who happily reported that he knew everything he needed to know about computers, he would turn to his secretary and say, "Do this for me."
That used to be my way! (Until I ran into you MR guys!)
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Old 06-30-2013, 04:47 AM   #29
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Thank you. G. M., The material on adding the dictionary was very helpful.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:58 PM   #30
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One major benefit gmw did not explicitly mention is by using header styles you get outlining capability. You can use the document map (now called "Navigation pane" in View ribbon) to move sections of text easily, just as you'd expect from any outlining application. No header styles = no joy in that regard.
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