Month: October 2017

Halloween Odds & Ends

First, let’s get Halloween out of the way: BOO!!!

Next, here are a few tidbits about the site:

  • I’ve updated the main-page to include a gallery of artwork and cover-art from The Bow of Hart Saga – comments are welcome. I’m still making some changes so bear with me.
  • I’ve resurrected the “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” feature just in time for Halloween. This feature has been dormant (dead?) for some time so it’s good to bring it back to life. There were 2 posts for the feature over the weekend for a couple of authors through Books Go Social: J. L. Stowers and Alena Des – click to those posts and have a look if you missed them.
  • As mentioned last Friday, I’ve created a private group on Goodreads as a writing roundtable/lab where I can interact with some readers who are interested in reading some early drafts of information.
  • Even though Halloween ends this evening, I’ve got some real treats about The Bow of Hart Saga coming in future weeks that should be fun reading so look for those on Thursdays.
  • I’ll keep sharing more about other new projects on Fun Friday posts.

Now that I’ve got those bits of housecleaning out of the way, onto whatever is on my mind. These days, my spare time is either taken up with writing new projects or studying about marketing and new technologies for my erstwhile career. I do my best to stay as busy as possible regardless.

I’ve made lots of progress on the two super-secret novels that my agent is/will pitch soon. I don’t have news on those at the moment other than general progress. I have a few outstanding submissions through the agent otherwise and I feel more like I’m waiting on outcomes than anything these days. I’m also working on some short fiction stories for submission – if anything comes of those you can be sure it will be announced.

As mentioned, I’m starting on a new gritty, pulp fantasy series soon as well as working on development of a possible parallel novella series for The Bow of Hart Saga involving mainly other characters in another part of Denaria. I have much of it written in rough draft. I’ve like to finish all three of the novellas first and then more toward publishing those. However the first book of The Broken Shield Chronicles will get published when it’s ready rather than waiting.

Print for The Bow of Hart Saga is still on the back-burner until I save enough money to completely produce the series. I’ll have another announcement about the series in just a few weeks though so check back on that.

As mentioned a few weeks back, our young tom-cat, Minou, had his surgery (there’s a bit of horror for the day, I suppose) and he’s back on his feet romping through the house. He’s now going out with the dogs – and, as predicted, coming in with them. Speaking of the dogs, they are fine if a little bored. We’ve all been busy and I’ve had an injured foot that I seem to keep aggravating every week or so – but not from running! But it’s slowly getting better.

That’s all I have for today, as if it isn’t enough. Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

 

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Lost Your Scratchpad? Here It Is In Scrivener!

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

If you read this blog very much then you know I like finding and figuring out how to use the various tools and settings in Scrivener so I can write more efficiently. I also like to share these usage tips so other authors also benefit from Scrivener . With that in mind, I’m sharing another tool in Scrivener that you may not know about: the Scratchpad.

Scriv Scratchpad

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First let’s find out how to open this tool. Click on Tools and then on Scratchpad (from the keyboard that’s CTR + Shift + 0 (that the numerical zero not the letter O).

Opening Scratchpad gives you this basic window.

Scriv Scratch Pad

But what’s the purpose of this tool? If you use the Inspector you may already use the Document Notes to add various details to a document in progress. But Scratchpad is just what is sounds like – that scratchpad you keep by your computer and take ad hoc notes. Guess what? Scratchpad in Scrivener acts the same way but you can do more like send it directly to a project that you currently have open.

So here’s how it goes – say you are like me and have several projects open. I might be journaling or revising or whatever and a stray thought hits me about something else I’ve got open. This happens to me especially while I’m journaling. I might write the thought down in my journal and there it stays until I want to put it in the appropriate project. Then I have to go searching through my journal trying to remember what day I wrote the note. The same thing happens with that scratchpad by your computer.

With the Scrivener Scratchpad you can just open it and put the note there. If you have the project open that relates to the note you can send it to that project. Here’s how – at the bottom-center of the Scratchpad is the “Send file to Scrivener” button. Click on this and you are shown all the projects you have open. From there you get a series of fly-out menus that allows you to drill as far down as necessary in your project and send the note to the chosen location. There are 2 choices – sending the note to the location you choose or appending the text to the location you choose. In other words it will either copy the note directly to the chosen location or place the content directly in that location.

Scriv Scratchpad CopyHow does that work? I just wrote an example note and sent the copy to this post in my Blogs 2015 project. It creates a sub-document to the document in which the text is located. No more lost notes, now it’s in a specific location.

When I choose to append, it puts the text at the very end of the document. This is handy for something like what I was doing last night and should have used the Scratchpad for instead of bouncing around between projects to do. I had placed some notes in my journal about my novella, What Is Needed, regarding a change to the ending. I could have easily used Scratchpad to write that ending and, as long as the project was open, append that content to What Is Needed.

Scriv Scratchpad Appended

You can write in a document while the Scratchpad is open so if you work on a large screen or multiple montiors you can drag it around and leave it open. Also, there’s a feature to print contents of your screen and save it or even choose part of a document to print to screen like this:

Scriv Scratchpad Printscreen

So Scrivener’s Scretchpad is a simple tool for making notes and inserting them into documents or making screenshots that you can save or insert as a note somewhere else. It’s a handy tool I plan to use more often. Since you can use the keyword to turn it on quickly, you can use the same keyboard command to close it so you can toggle in and out of Scratchpad as needed. Give it a try and see what you can do to better track your odd notes, ideas and such and then insert them as necessary into other projects.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyDo you often lose track of your notes either on paper or in Scrivener? If you use Scratchpad, how do you make use of it?

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. Interested in more of my writing? Just click one of the retailer banners on the sidebar to see more.

IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor. However, I am working on becoming an affiliate for Scrivener ads since I like the product so much. I’m not required to write about Scrivener to be an affiliate; I just like it that much. For more about my FTC statement see my sidebar.

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8 More Ways Scrivener Aids My Writing

LeftHandScrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

 

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There are so many ways that Scrivener helps me as a writer and it’s hard to narrow down the most important. I’ve already shared 8 ways it improves my writing experience on a daily basis. But since the time I wrote that post I’ve begun using Scrivener more heavily. Here are 8 features of Scrivener that have dramatically impacted my writing.

1. The Binder – it’s an obvious choice but the Binder is so incredibly effective a feature in Scrivener. The ability to re-structure a large project is huge. Just grasping this in other software like Word used to be monumental, if no monolithic. Now I just drag as many folders or document-scenes around to a new location as necessary within a few minutes. Then I only have to do some re-writing to smooth out the changes.

2. The Inspector bar is laden with so many useful tools it’s hard to cover them all in one blog post. The list is long for the all the tasks that can be addressed in this feature. They are all meant to help a writer track, document, reference and enhance the writing process.

3. Snapshots – this is actually part of the Inspector but I single it out as an important way to manage different versions of content. Do a snapshot before you make major changes and you can easily revert back to another version you prefer or need. I recommend using it before making any large-scale change in a project in case you make mistakes or delete something.

Scriv Collection Save Search Tab4. Collections – I recently wrote a series of posts on this multi-function tool. It has been a useful aspect of Scrivener for making structural changes where I need to write more scenes or edit for style. I can select specific folder or documents to add to the collection, work with it and remove each part as I complete them until I’m done with the mini-project. Very handy, especially when you consider you can use it in other ways – like compiling a manuscript.

5. Document templates – I find this most useful for my year-long blog project. I have different types of posts so I have a different templates to use for each one. I can update each template as changes occur throughout the year and all my new posts will have that without having to add the content by other means (by typing it out or doing a copy paste).

6. Project Templates – I can create a template for projects like short stories, my year-long blogging, a book, book reviews, newsletters, my blog tours and promotions as well as managing my overall writing. Each template is specialized to what the project is and they can be updated as necessary to reflect my changing needs.

7. The Layout Manager – this is really a cool feature to me. I can setup specific layouts for different types of writing tasks based on the stage of my project. If the project is new and in development, then I can have certain features turned on. Once I move to a new stage all I have to do is change to a different layout that I’ve created and transition into the new phase seamlessly where some parts of Scrivener are turned off and others are visible.

Scriv Scratch Pad8. The Scratchpad – you don’t hear a lot about this feature but I’ve written about it before. It’s found on the Tools menu and lets you write notes and insert the test to other parts of the project within which you are working or even to another project you may have open. For instance, I often have several projects open at a time and I may come up with an idea for another in which I’m not currently working. I can use the Scratchpad to write the note and insert it into a specific folder or document in the same project or another open project. I especially do this while journaling since that’s where I may generate a variety of ideas. I can journal it and then transfer the notion elsewhere using the Scratchpad.

That’s all for this list but I think these cover the bases well. Everything in Scrivener is designed to help writers write intuitively, fluidly and effectively. There’s no wasted effort once you’ve learned the software to any degree. You don’t waste time creating all the environment you need to write – you set it up and then you are able to start writing without worrying about all the details – and that’s the best feature of all.

Just as a reminder – my Scrivener posting schedule is changing to Friday’s to accommodate several writing events during September as well as the release – most of which occur on a Mondays. So I’ll be back next Friday with more Scrivener goodness. Until then, you are welcome to check back on other posts here as well as my writing news.

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

I’ll make an appearance on 8/13 in RRBC’s Book & Blog Block Party. Then I’ll be on The Lost Bow Blog Tour from 8/14-20. I’ll post more news about the tour as it becomes available.

And one final tidbit – for those who might have seen it on my Twitter feed, I’ve been contacted by a teacher about including The Bow of Destiny in her curriculum. I don’t know much at this time other than it’s being considered. If it is, I’ll share more information ASAP. It’s interesting news at this point and another great reason to write!

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

Amazon

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IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

Sign-up to receive my free ebooks today.

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