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Author David Hewson on his latest software set up

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Posted by Foolness
Dec 9, 2012 at 01:57 PM


Alexander Deliyannis wrote:
Stephen Zeoli wrote:
>>David Hewson, who literally wrote the book about writing a novel in
>>Scrivener, has recently blogged about his switch back from the Mac to
>>Windows and his software workflow using OneNote and Word 2013.
> >Very useful, thanks. From an author of 23-24 books, I believe the
>following advice is well worth keeping in mind (for me at least):
> >“It’s important with all software to focus on the parts you need
>and ignore the rest.”
> >and:
>“Pick the right [computer] for the job, choose the few tools you need,
>then focus on what matters most: the work in hand.”

For the victors maybe but not for the victims. Yes, I know you added (for me at least) but this is precisely why it’s dangerous. You’re among the major market for this debate as you have published something. As a target market, your opinion is not only dangerous but it is the majority opinion.

In contrast, the novel writing software arena (at least for non-Mac users) have long been taking advantage of authors who “ignore the rest” and pretend (not always intentionally) to focus on their needs when it’s really their wants that they are focusing. I don’t know if historically this is accurate but is it any surprise that few free applications have evolved to be better than Scrivener when one of the core userbase act like ignoring the flaws and adopt a “just getting the right computer” is acceptable behaviour. What’s worse is that you have this pattern of “talented and experienced the better software” that then moves down to “now I can adapt with this poorer software”.

Where does that leave those who couldn’t experience a better program like Scrivener first? Where is the right computer for those who need more than Scrivener?

...it’s gone/hacky and takes longer than a simple Google search to find: All because most of the people adopt this attitude of “ignore the rest”. Ignore the rest but be the famous “howler” who will advertise OneNote over other cheaper/more specific Windows novel writing apps. Ignore the rest but be the talented writer who might as well be saying “I’ve reached a talented stage where I don’t need Scrivener and all I need is a web browser that has a word processor tacked on and a bookmark feature.”

It’s a sickening game. Not only from the subject of software users because at least that holds some merit. The words could be treated generally which can then be said as a way to cope with software addiction.

However once those words entered into the zone of “I have published x books” and “this or the article is good advise”, it’s no longer safe.

The danger is real that wants become replaced by need instead of it being merely a sentence which then worsens the current stagnancy in novel writing software.

The danger is real that more books can be made but less books are actually written in a useful manner from those software but authors back up this idea of best tool out there and becomes the invisible men holding up the illusion for how limited current novel writing software are.

The danger is real that ways to acquire/use a similar method to how that author uses OneNote is buried simply because it’s not a famous author referring to a famous application and more people simply back up those statements without seeing how flawed it applies to creative writing software especially as there has been a dry spell of worthy cheap/free alternatives to YWriter or Writemonkey and now those programs’ progress/quality are being pushed back by the “ignore the rest” motto.

...and what about the books?

E-books are getting as pricey as real books, there’s still no publishing platform that have managed to bypass the politics of third world publishing, school textbooks can still be biased, creative fiction becomes a game of who can be marketed as the next Harry Potter or 50 Shades of Grey instead of becoming less slaves to advertising thanks to the expansion of the web.

This is not the time for authors to be promoting advises like these. They have their good points but it doesn’t replace the danger. It may feel like I took your sentence out of the context of “at least for me” but I’m not. There’s no room for at least for the losers. There’s an entire vast space of problems right now that many authors are either taking for granted or are completely blind to (cause you’re authors already) and you’re “at least” ends up not being an “at least for me” but, you may or may not realize it, it’s stated with the flawed premise that you (being a group of published authors) feel like the sentences are worth keeping in mind because the other person is also a. an author and b. utilizing a software to the intention of your niche without taking into consideration that a. OneNote is one of the few software that wasn’t being updated as often b. OneNote is not a Scrivener replacement at least/at most/it doesn’t come close to it’s ballpark c. The only reason that author made it work because he still used it as a word processor and he has no problem typing stuff (as opposed to methods like live typing a novel using a software or writing a book on making OneNote completely replicate Scrivener) and yet it’s an advise that can seem sound when it’s not. The more space there is to publish things, the more software needs to catch up but they’re not and many are money sinks and time sinks with no signs of improving cause they live and die by word of mouth authors who praise some small tidbit of feature they not only don’t need but is clearly there because it makes them “want” to praise the word processor which then leads them to using the word processor and acting as if it’s somehow special.

In short, it’s dangerous because you loosely threw an advice simply because you misguidedly thought the mindset behind the quotes weren’t bad but they’re bad. They’re bad not only outside of your at least but it’s bad that an author like you thinks it’s good without at least sounding like you can see the casualties. You have to remember unlike outliners, books are going through a potential metamorphosis. You have to remember that it wasn’t so long ago that the OLPC was the closest thing to being a cheap technological computer saviour for poor countries. You have to remember this is the novel/book writing niche not just outliners where plenty of better powered applications could be had for free and you really have to bring value to sell something for mid-expensive prices. You also have to remember OneNote is another problematic software. There’s no true OneNote replacement just as there’s no true Scrivener replacement and these are problems that can’t be ignored if you truly want everyone to have the right computer for the job.