Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » FocusWriter

   
Author Topic: FocusWriter
wetwilly
Member
Member # 1818

 - posted      Profile for wetwilly   Email wetwilly         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you haven't come across it, I just found FocusWriter, and I'm finding it very helpful. It's a minimal program, basically just useful because you can create your own visual environment and get rid of all distractions on your screen while you are writing. It's free (on Linux, anyway; I think it's free on all platforms). Worth a try if you have a few minutes. I really like writing that way.
Posts: 1068 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MartinV
Member
Member # 5512

 - posted      Profile for MartinV   Email MartinV         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I use Q10 for that.
Posts: 1266 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not sure what you guys mean...I just use the Microsoft Works Word Processor program, whatever version it is on this computer, and that seems enough for me. So far.
Posts: 8007 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wetwilly
Member
Member # 1818

 - posted      Profile for wetwilly   Email wetwilly         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm running Linux. No Linux version of Q10. @ Robert: A normal word processor is fine; this is just a full screen word processor, so all the other distractions on my computer disappear, and I can immerse myself in my writing more completely. Also, that Firefox icon that beckons me to waste all my time doing stupid crap gets out of my sight.
Posts: 1068 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Denevius
Member
Member # 9682

 - posted      Profile for Denevius   Email Denevius         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Haha. Just, wow. The fact that a program like this exists, and is needed, makes me feel old.
Posts: 392 | Registered: Nov 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Other programs like this I've looked at include Dark-Room(W) and JDarkRoom(WML), WriteMonkey(W) and WriteRoom(M).*

I use MS-Word and there is a fullscreen mode for that application (as there is for OpenOffice Writer and a number of others), which does the same thing on a fully fledged word processor.

(* where W=windows, M=mac, L=linices)

Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rcmann
Member
Member # 9757

 - posted      Profile for rcmann   Email rcmann         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Have you looked at RoughDraft? It's not elegant, but it was designed by a writer for his own use. Multiple tabbed documents, sidebar file manager, clean interface. I like it well. Strictly RTF or txt format though. You would need to transfer the file for places that require doc format.
Posts: 884 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattLeo
Member
Member # 9331

 - posted      Profile for MattLeo   Email MattLeo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I guess everyone has different needs. I don't have problems with distraction when I'm writing -- my problem is tearing myself away. I've used special novel writing support software, but by-in-large they solve problems that aren't problems for me like keeping track of which characters are in which scene and recalling the identifying features of each character.

I once tried a literate programming tool; it was helpful in that I could write in plain-old text make underlines _like_this_ and italic *like this*, then generate manuscripts in plain text or nicely formatted HTML, PDF or DOC files. The tool also allowed me to generate plot outlines or manuscripts from the same file, and even alternative versions of the manuscript. All these function were *moderately* useful, but the tool had one big drawback: people give feedback by marking up Word documents.

So I switched back to using a word processor. It does more than I need, but it includes the critical comment sharing mechanism. Of course I could have continued working in the literate programming system, producing doc files as needed and reading the comments in a word processor, but it'd be an unnecessarily complicated system for the benefits.

Fussing about your writing tools can be the biggest distraction of all; any time you spend fiddling with some new writing gee-gaw is time you *aren't* writing.

The one special tool I use now is a version control system. When I am about to make a major change like deleting a scene, I commit the latest manuscript to the version control system with comments of how far I've got and what I'm intending to do. After I'm done I commit the changed manuscript to the system as well. The version system provides me with a complete log of all the major changes I've made to the manuscript right back to the start, and I can retrieve the exact manuscript prior to or after any change. This is a great improvement over having dozens of cryptically named copies of the manuscript, and the ability to get any past version of a manuscript instantly makes me more willing to try radical changes.

Posts: 1189 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Denevius
Member
Member # 9682

 - posted      Profile for Denevius   Email Denevius         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey Matt, that sounds pretty interesting. What's the name of this system you're using? I have to admit, it does become confusing when I have all these saved docs of the same story at different edited/revised stages, particularly when I divide them into chapters to send off to different people.
Posts: 392 | Registered: Nov 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattLeo
Member
Member # 9331

 - posted      Profile for MattLeo   Email MattLeo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Denevius -- I assume you're asking about version control, not literate programming.

I've used many version control systems, but the one I've settled on for my writing is called "bazaar" (or sometimes bzr). I chose it because it was easy to install, worked in a stand-alone configuration, and was cross platform (Linux, Mac and Windows). Any version control system is going to have tons of overkill features for writers, but in bazaar the basic operations (creating a source archive, committing changes, checking out versions) are simple.

There are perhaps better version control systems out there, but bazaar I think is the best candidate for writers based on ease of administration (basically none, which can't be beat) and use (some are easier if you have an admin to support you, but bazaar is easy enough and doesn't require an admin).

I've been suggesting version control as a useful tool for writers for some time now. I'd be interested if you try it. Shoot me an email if you have any questions.

The link for bazaar is http://bazaar.canonical.com/en/

Posts: 1189 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Denevius
Member
Member # 9682

 - posted      Profile for Denevius   Email Denevius         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey Matt, thanks for the response. It seems like a useful program, but unfortunately with my current Mac with Mountain Lion, I have to download and work around more factors than I feel comfortable with. It's embarrassing to say, but beyond the very specific programs I use, I'm really not all that computer savvy, and I'm not sure what they mean by bundles and macports and Qt evaluation Platforms and all of this type of stuff. I'll ask some friends though and see if someone who knows more than me can set it up for me.

Either way, thanks!

Posts: 392 | Registered: Nov 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
micmcd
Member
Member # 7977

 - posted      Profile for micmcd   Email micmcd         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Version control is something second nature to programmers, but probably very few others (sadly). Mercurial and Git are also great systems, though I'd advise Mercurial (Hg) if you hadn't used one before.

In any case, you'd need to rethink how you consider differences in your manuscript if you used one, particularly if you make one massive file for the MS. Version control is spectacularly useful if you keep each chapter or scene as a separate file, perhaps with a manifest-type file denoting the order and formatting (I do this invisibly with Scrivener). One key thing to think about with any VC system is that they work best with text and differences in lines. And a paragraph is one long line—only newlines create "new lines," and we generally only use those to create paragraphs when writing.

I'm not as familiar with Bazaar, but it's worth noting that many VC systems don't work well with binary files, such as .doc or .docx. With text (or RTF), it can just tell the differences between lines, but for .doc, it thinks of it like a picture. Adding one new line to the end of a .doc file changes all of the bits, so all it can do is note "the whole file changed" instead of "lines 33-35 are different now."

MS Word (or pretty much any other editor) can save as RTF and read from RTF with no real problems unless you are doing picture books, so that's not too much of a sacrifice to make.

Posts: 499 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2