Friends, for your consideration is my short story TSUNAMI. Some of you have read it and commented on the formatting issues, for which I am super grateful. Hopefully I resolved these issues – and now I am offering the story in both ePub (for Mac devices) and PDF – for the rest of the devices. If you have no preference – choose PDF as it supports images.
Also, since I’ve been discussing the Ulysses app, I’d like to inform you that the ePub is created in the Ulysses. Unfortunately, other images except the cover, did not show up so I had to remove them. I was able to insert hyperlinks and create simple structure. The PDF version was created in the LucidPress online program, which I’ve been using lately a lot. I will write a detailed review later.
It’s kind of a bragging slash review update post. I just finished a 8.000 word short story in the Ulysses and wanted to update you on my experience with the app. In short, the Ulysses app so far still rocks. It crashed once for an unknown reason, but I suspect it is more of my old laptop issue that the app itself. I was in the middle of writing and lost only a few words. The autosave works great. I found a bunch of useful features too – little optimization tools that just make the whole app experience even better.
What could improve the app?
MOBI file export option. It has the ePUB and adding MOBI seems to make a lot of sense.
That being said, I downloaded the Scrivener as well. And the first minute impression could not be starker. One word – complicated. Lots of instructions. But! If you persevere through it, it has definite benefits over the Ulysses.
Benefits of the Scrivener over the Ulysses:
Has more export options, including MOBI, and they are more robust.
Has more templates – the ‘looks’ of how your files come out, and all geared toward writers, all the useful stuff.
Has the option of non-linear writing. This is an option that is useful for long-form writing. You can start chapters and pieces of writing in separate ‘files’ or ‘cards’, and you can shuffle them however you want, and when you export they will seamlessly come out as a single document.
Offers the Screenplay format.
It has the option of virtual pin-up board for outlining scene by scene. If you are that type of a person – Scrivener is your choice.
But! And there is a big but.
Benefits of the Ulysses over the Scrivener
I feel reluctant to really explore Scrivener yet because it is so robust. I probably need to study it. Like, read the actual instructions. Also, the interface is not as clean and not as nice. The interface font is so small. It’s kind of the difference between artsy and less functional mac and less artsy and more functional microsoft that has loads of stuff you never use, if this makes sense. Also, the Scrivener takes up more space, it’s the bigger file. Also, Ulysses notes management sidebar is absolutely superior. This may be just my subjective opinion, but I feel pretty strong about it.
If you can, and finances allow, perhaps use both. If you have to pick:
Scrivener – if you want a robust all-inclusive option. If you need to write screenplays. If you need PDF, WORD, MOBI and EPUB files as the result.
Ulysses – if you want a distraction-free simple writing environment well integrated with the main social media. If you can get away without the MOBI format.
In terms of price they are identical.
As for my story, I am really psyched about it. It’s different, its speculative fiction heavy on the mix of history and fiction. I think it’s an exciting story. And it’s about alien abductions! I’ll keep you posted when and where you can read it.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. Anyone else is a fan of the Scrivener? I’d like to hear from you.
Recently I posted about my issues with writing productivity when I write outside of the WordPress environment. Initially I thought that I get energized from the feedback I receive when I post my writing, but as Candace Vianna suggested in her comments that it might be my attachment to the simplified WordPress environment that helps minimizing the distractions. Since I am currently involved in a few promising writing projects and am intended to finish some of them by the end of the year, I need to figure out this problem as soon as possible. I researched writing that minimize distractions.
There is some plausibility in suspecting that I am an easily distracted writer. For once, my desktop is always littered with images and documents that I am working on, even though I clean the desktop regularly. It is just a terrible file management habit I developed, and I suspect that I am easily distracted because of all this stuff on my desktop which serves as my pin-up board and a to-do list all at once.
Yesterday I uploaded the desktop app Ulysses and worked in it all day today. I must say, for the WordPress bloggers it should take little to no time to get used to.
My positive first impressions after one day of using it:
Simple to use even without reading the instructions. Yes, I am one of those people who read the instructions only when confronted with an unsolvable problem. The fact that I haven’t yet read any instructions testifies about the intuitive design of the app.
The interface is really clean, and you can minimize it down to the bare worksheet.
It constantly autosaves (by default backup is enabled, so make sure not to switch this function off).
It has a very handy ‘goal’ icon that shows you how far away you are from the intended progress. If the word count performance stresses you out, you don’t have to use it and you can hide it at all.
My favorite feature is the right sidebar that allows keeping multiple notes and images. The ones you are currently not using may be collapsed, as you can see on my picture.
It is a desktop app and works without the internet connection.
It has nice but basic features of exporting your documents as PDF, ePUB, DOCX, HTML, and TEXT, and also to publish to the WordPress directly from the Ulysses app, which I am intended to check out as soon as I am finished with typing. (Update: works like a charm). By the way, when it comes to the ePUB, you can also add a cover image, but not a lot more than that, so don’t expect churning your e-books in this app.
You can create structure in the document by assigning various levels of headings, creating tags and such, but these options are hidden enough and won’t distract you.
Not sure, but it seems like the app is blocking the pop-up notifications. At least it seemed this way, because I normally get a lot of those, and I didn’t notice them this time.
Probably one of the better features is that despite being a desktop app, Ulysses is not a memory hog. I have a wee 4 GB Mac Book Air, which is regularly overworked, so lately memory consumption is a consideration for me.
Bonus: Integrated spellcheck.
So that’s eleven positives after the first day. As to the negatives (or shortcomings) they are the following.
It is very basic. To my current knowledge, you cannot write screenplays or see the page layout. The worksheet layout looks just like the WordPress in a sense that it just scrolls down forever.
There are no fancy fonts, which is probably for the good, but I thought I should point it out.
Compared to the Scrivener, it is roughly equally priced ($45 for Ulysses and I believe $38 for Scrivener) wile offering twice as little features. Bottom line: expensive and less functional tan the next competitor.
I haven’t found a way to use hyperlinks in the document yet.
Can’t find the ‘undo’ button! Exercise caution when deleting stuff.
That’s about it from the negatives. However, those negatives may actually be positives, considering that I spent no time at starting working in the app and already loaded all my current projects. The notes and images sidebar is brilliant. I think it will help me to keep my desktop cleaner.
Hope this information was useful to someone. I am very interested in writing optimization tips, so please feel free to jump in on the conversation. What are your favorite efficiency tools?
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As you know, in December the first issue of the Scaffolding Magazine will see the world. The file of the magazine is almost assembled. I have a few small vacant areas, just big enough for a picture of a book cover and it’s 50-word description. So I thought why not support my indie friends here! I know many of you, and I know about your books, but I don’t have time to write short descriptions of your books and hunt down the book covers. So, please feel free to apply on the submissions page (pick the ‘other’ as the type of submission), and I will stick as many ads as I can. Please send them over ASAP, it’s first come first served. But no later than November 1. I am sending it to print in November.
The trigger for this angry post is that my mac updated me to the new OS and changed the apple ID access rules. Now it requires my phone, like everyone else. The problem is that I live and work now outside of the U.S. And there is no such country or country code in the drop-down menu. This is a major problem. I am staring at my other laptop that doesn’t let me in.
For years I have been declining Facebook’s attempts to gauge my phone number, and it goes out of it’s way to make it difficult to ‘Skip’. I manage, but what if one day the ‘skip’ option is unavailable? Remember how the Facebook forced the Messenger app on us? At first, you could decline it, but then it was no longer an option.
Twitter is perpetually paranoid and often blocks me out of my account and insists on sending me text messages to unlock it. What’s wrong with my email? And when I leave from this country and change my phone number I will have to go through all the hassle of updating it everywhere.
We really don’t have any privacy left. The major internet giants collect our data and use it to send us customized ads. And if they change their lengthy terms and conditions in the middle of you using the service, you are screwed. There has to be a way around the major corporations owning us! Come on, this is a real nightmare, worse than anything a sci fi writer can come up with.
Also there is another reason why I am against all these services collecting my phone number. What if some people have speech disability? What if someone doesn’t speak good English? What if someone has hearing disability? What if someone just doesn’t want to use the phone, maybe even for health reasons. We all read about the suspicions of cancer links to the smartphones, but we have no choice other than dismiss them. We are screwed, my friends. We are just cogs in the machine, and any attempt at privacy and individuality is trampled.
I love typewriters. I grew up when they already became a relic of the past, but I dearly love their beauty and quiet abitlity to allow me to be me. The problem is that we cannot go back to the pre-internet society. Everything hangs on being plugged in, wired, connected. I don’t see any other way out of this nightmare than to perhaps to create a petition on the grounds of the disability legislation. It would make a case that requesting a phone is a discrimination on the basis of disability. But I do not have any disability. I just hate to be treated like a data point. Any thoughts?
The problem is simple: I cannot write without blogging.
I started this blog in Jan. 2016, and around February I started blogging a sci fi series that I made up episode by episode. I hardly had any followers (even now I don’t have very many), but by March 18 I had a complete first draft of a short novel. Fast, isn’t it? Of course it wasn’t all that perfect, I am not John Scalzi and I do need to rewrite, especially considering that I figured out the story as I wrote it.
Apparently I benefit from immediate gratification of a project broken down to manageable pieces. On the other hand, I feel like I am doing myself a poor service by spilling everything online first, with typos, unresolved plots and such. And especially this worries me because I need to get to writing the second book (probably the final book in the Mazula series). I really want to publish it online episode by episode, but I know that if I end up rewriting it, readers may get confused. Any advice?
P.S. Check out my free short story TSUNAMI. On this web site you can either read it on the ISSUU web site or download a pdf.
“Have you ever had a recurring dream? Mine is always about a tsunami.” This alien sci fi story explains the origins of humanity. This is the prequel to the Mazula story that was featured my blog earlier. Read the entire short story for free on ISSUU – it is uploaded in the format of a glossy magazine. Just go over the link and read the story. Enjoy!