Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Scrivener

Further Up The Path Toward My Next Book . . .

So many steps to take… 


Image Courtesy of josh cantrell ~

Some are plodding, some are like skipping, some very passionate dancing

Back on February 19th, I talked about needing to integrate Behind The Scenes with Notes from An Alien—taking notes in my Scrivener project

Then, I tackled a notes file from the time I thought Notes from An Alien would be followed by a collection of short stories rather than a novel.

So, those notes plus the ones from Behind The Scenes plus the few, very general notes directly about the next book added up to nearly 24,000 words

I’ve pruned those down to around 9,600 words.

Now, I need to ponder, deeply, those choice notes

Then, I can finally re-read Notes from An Alien—taking notes from each chapter.

The next book (the tile of which will be Finally, The Story Can Be Told) will have just as many chapters as the first; though, each will be longer

I have firm ideas about my main character and her love interest

Re-reading the last book will let me weave the plot of the new book into the events of the last one—same universe, same time span, very different story


Back to work :-)

Being Pregnant with A Book . . .

Time to catch you up on what I’m doing

I’ve finished all the preparatory research for my next book.

Next step is to read through my last book, Notes from An Alien, while making notes in Scrivener.

Then, weaving the notes into a form that reflects the events in the first book but tells a much more personal storycreating a set of “parallel” books

I’ll be back periodically to report on how the labor is going.

In the meantime, whether you’re a reader, writer, or publisher (or, all three), I strongly recommend your reading a post I wrote nearly two years agoperhaps, the most important post on this blog.

Also, until I can take another break from attending to my labor, you can use the search box in the upper right or scroll down on the left to the Top Tags widget to find some of the other treasures in my 1,000+ posts

Is Voice Recognition Software As Good As They Say It is?

Voice recognition software’s been around for quite awhile now.

Voice Recognition Software

Image Courtesy of Julia Freeman-Woolpert ~

I haven’t tried it yet (except to run a couple Google Searches) but an article on the ALLi blog—Writing: Voice Recognition Software – Is It the Author’s New Best Friend?—peaked my interest.

Even if you’re not a serious writer, give it a read…

I thought I’d do my normal reportorial routine and give you excerpts from my link-out but my Best Friend, Author Jane Watson, has been using voice recognition software for quite awhile and was kind enough to give us this appraisal (the links were added by me, not Jane’s VRS):

“I first tried voice recognition software about 25 years ago. At that time voice recognition was in its infancy and, in my opinion, the programs that were available to individual users then, who did not have a special need (which perhaps qualified them for funded software, costing around $10,000), were very limited, experimental, and hardly worked at all.  I tried to use a program for the Mac called “iListen”. It could have been more appropriately called “I shout at you and you ignore me”. So many frustrated users would raise their voices when they were trying to talk to it, that there was actually an instruction in the manual telling the user that the program would not hear them better if they yelled….

“Then things improved. First with Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Windows and then DragonDictate for the Mac. At this point I began to get results that were nothing short of miraculous. I did not expect a program like this to be able to transcribe a writer’s thoughts, sometimes my sentences were long and convoluted, sometimes they did not follow what I would call conventional syntax, and yet this marvellous piece of software took it mostly in its stride. I had a special page of dictation that I used to test new microphones  – this page described a visit to a country town near where I lived and referred to an incident that had occurred, regarding the loss of a coat. Imagine my astonishment the first time I dictated this passage and DragonDictate was able to immediately recognise the word, Daylesford,  the name of the, not very well known, country town.

“I don’t agree that you cannot use software like this to ‘talk’, i.e. you have to consciously ‘dictate’. It is true that when I first began to voice my writing I found it difficult to relax and feel that I was actually ‘writing’. Initially it seemed odd to voice punctuation such as ‘comma’ or ‘ellipses’, but after a while this became second nature, just as folks once learned to press return on the keyboard instead of pushing the lever on a typewriter. This process of acclimatisation and learned relaxation is very similar to the struggle people had when they moved from the old typewriters to the new word processors. No one ever thought they would be able to write on those either…

“I realised however that I had reached the point where the software had become a tool that could increase my creativity when I did Nanowrimo, which is the insane attempt to write a 50,000 word novel every year in the month of November.  In one month I dictated all 50,000 words into Scrivener, my choice of writing software, and when I reached the end and read through what I had written I realised that what I had written was no better or no worse than what I would have done if I had pounded the keyboard – some was drivel, some seemed to have promise :-)

“In the last couple of years the accuracy of voice recognition software has become even better. It now literally takes hardly more than five minutes to train the software to a standard where it can actually start recognising your voice no matter what accent you use.

“Do I use this program every day? No, but I should. I am still a little hesitant that folks may hear me talking to the computer. But I am going to get over it. It saves an enormous  amount of time and frees me up to think. In fact, I have just dictated these paragraphs whilst relaxing in my armchair.

“Microphone off.”
Jane lives in Australia
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It’s Document Freedom Day !

Do you use “documents”?

Open Standards

Locations of Major Document Freedom Day Events

Documents with words or numbers — spreadsheets, presentations with images, drawings, math formulas, or databases?

Do you use Microsoft Office to create those documents?

Ever had severe problems with Microsoft Office?

Ever wonder why you should pay money for a program that seems broken out of the box?

I can hear some folks saying, “But, it’s the Standard. I have to use it because everyone else is using it.”


Actually, you don’t have to use Microsoft Office.

I use an office suite (didn’t cost me a penny) and anything I do can be saved in Microsoft’s format (and, perhaps needless to say, I can open Microsoft docs with it).

Also, there’s a worldwide team constantly improving it.

It’s available in over 110 languages, too.

You can check out a complete feature comparison with Microsoft Office.

And, it’s name is LibreOffice <<< that link is where you can download it :-)

Document Freedom Day is not just about LibreOffice but also raising awareness about Open Standards.

Here are the main reasons Open Standards are good:

“Open Standards ensure that you can:

  • Collaborate and communicate with others, regardless of which software they are using
  • Upgrade or replace your apps and still be able to open and edit your old files
  • Choose which phone / tablet / computer you want to use without worrying about compatibility

“Open Standards ensure that society has:

  • More competitive software and tech products
  • More efficient governmental systems and services
  • More accessible high-end software for innovation and experimentation”

So, as a writer, when I need to present my work to others, I use LibreOffice to create as well as Adobe.pdfs.

But, adhering to Full Disclosure, for drafts I use Jarte; and, to do all the insane sorting and collating of complex works, I couldn’t live without Scrivener :-)
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NaNoWriMo Has Some GREAT Sponsor FREEBIES !!

National Novel Writing Month will start in two days—various writers with various motivations will write 50,000 words (usually not edited at all)—1666.67 words per day (for an 8 hour day, 208.33 words per hour…).

I’m not the type of writer that does something like this, though I’ve easily written 208+ words per hour many, many times.

It’s not that I couldn’t do NaNoWriMo, it’s that I don’t have sufficient motivation to be in a “contest”—still, I don’t think it’s a bad thing—great discipline for lots of folks—riotous fun for a few

And, the companies who’ve given $6,000 dollars or more to support NaNoWriMo are giving some super great freebies!

We can thank My Best Friend for letting us know about these 16 Fabulous Offers:

Two free paperback copies of a finished book for NaNoWriMo winners

CreateSpace is proud to support Wrimos. We invite you to explore easy and rewarding independent publishing, take advantage of free tools, or choose from our everyday low priced professional services. In addition, NaNoWriMo winners can get two free paperback copies of their finished book. Get started here.

Scrivener - Outline. Edit. Storyboard. Write.

50% off Scrivener for all NaNoWriMo winners, and 20% off for all participants

Scrivener is an award-winning word processor and project management tool for the Mac and Windows that has been enthusiastically adopted by best-selling novelists and novices alike. As a NaNoWriMo 2013 winner, you will be eligible for a 50% discount on Scrivener’s regular license on either the Mac or Windows platform—see the “Winner’s Goodies” page on December 5 for details. For those who participated and didn’t make their 50,000 words, use the code NANOWRIMO for 20% off until January 1, 2014.

Write on Wattpad; Win $2,000.

Wattpad is a free writing and reading app that unlocks a global audience of more than 18 million readers. It is mobile and web-based, meaning that your writing is always with you, wherever and whenever you find inspiration and time to write. In honor of NaNoWriMo, Wattpad will be offering a $2,000 prize to one lucky NaNoWriMo winner who is also a Wattpad user. Find out how to enter.

Free Manuscript Review and Hardcover: Learn what kind of writer you are and who’s most likely to read your book and The Book Genome Project invite all NaNoWriMo participants to receive a free personality profile of your book – a customized analysis of your manuscript, with insights into what makes your writing unique and who the best audience is for your book. When you’ve reached a good stopping point with your manuscript, you can privately and securely upload it to receive this free report through the end of 2013.

When you’re ready to print your book, you’ll receive a free copy of your First Edition Hardcover when you publish your book on

Claim these exclusive WriMo offers now at

Storyist Software

50% off Storyist for Mac for NaNoWriMo winners, 25% off just for participating!

Storyist is a powerful novel writing environment for Mac,  iPad, and iPhone. Storyist for Mac has some great self-publishing tools, too. Perfect for NaNoWriMo! Get 50% off Storyist for Mac if you win—see the “Winner’s Goodies” page on December 5 for details. If you don’t make it to 50k this year, you can still get 25% off Storyist for Mac at the Storyist Store through December 15, 2013 using the coupon “NANOWRIMO13″. And be sure to download the special NaNoWriMo trial version which allows you to use Storyist for Mac for free for the month of November.

Swoon Reads is looking for teen romance manuscripts! Submit to be considered for a $15,000 publishing contract

Writers whose manuscripts are considered most Swoon-worthy by both the community and the publishing board will be given a standard Macmillan publishing contract with a $15,000 advance, and their book will be published in both print and e-book formats—including editing, design, marketing and sales. Submit your manuscript today!

Write your novel on Leanpub and share your royalties with NaNoWriMo

Leanpub is a free publishing service designed to let you publish your book while you’re writing it. Its powerful features let you publish your book early so you can get reader feedback, and let you publish new versions as often as you like with one click. You can set your own minimum and suggested prices and earn great royalties, or you can make your book free. And you can share a portion of any royalties you earn with NaNoWriMo, directly supporting the cause with your own writing.

Planners/Winners save 40%, all participants 20% off our normal $US40 price

We are once again proud to sponsor NaNoWriMo by offering special discounts on Aeon Timeline for both Mac and Windows users. Aeon Timeline is a timeline tool for creative thinking, designed specifically to help writers capture, create and explore complex ideas in an intuitive, attractive interface. Whether you are a planner or a pantser, Aeon Timeline can help you nail down those plot points before you race towards 50,000 words or edit your work afterwards. We will be posting special NaNoWriMo content throughout October and November, so check our NaNoWriMo page regularly for discount codes and support material.

Ten free eBooks for NaNoWriMo Winners!

Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is hard work, so we made the next step easy for you. Kobo Writing Life is a one-stop, do-it-yourself publishing platform helping authors reach millions of readers in over 190 countries. For all NaNoWriMo participants, we are delighted to offer a free eBook copy of Joanna Penn’s excellent title, How To Market A Book. Head over to and enter the code NANOFREE at checkout (code expires 9/30/2014).

NaNoWriMo winners will get 10 free eBooks chosen by the Kobo Writing Life staff, ranging from books on writing and marketing your book, to our favorite new fiction picks. See the “Winner’s Goodies” page on December 5 for details.

Get a free copy of “Twitter for Authors in Ten Minutes a Day”

In this exclusive guide for NaNoWriMo participants, BookBaby (the largest eBook distribution network for independent authors) outlines a strategy for you to effectively promote your book on Twitter without getting sucked into another social media black hole. After all, if you’re going to get to 50,000 words, you can’t spend all day tweeting!

Download your free copy of “Twitter for Authors”.

Join Book Country and find your first audience; 30% off publishing package and featured placement!

Book Country is a free online writing and publishing community dedicated to helping writers connect with each other to create their best books and discover the first audience for their work. Come workshop your manuscript with our supportive community and we’ll feature it on the site so everyone will know you’re a NaNoWriMo writer. Ready to publish? To celebrate 30 days of hard work, take 30% off Book Country’s Landmark publishing package through December 31, 2013 with code NANO. We’ll also feature all novels in our bookstore. Check back Nov. 15 for a special offer for NaNoWriMo winners!

50% off Spark: A Creative Anthology for winners and 20% off for all participants

Published quarterly in print and eBook formats, Spark: A Creative Anthology features the freshest writing from a range of talented writers, from established professionals to newly-emerging authors and poets.  We’re delighted to offer 20% off single volumes or one- and two-year subscriptions for all NaNoWriMo participants and 50% off for all winners. Use the coupon code NaNoWriMo13 to claim your 20% discount, and check the “Winner Goodies” page on December 5 for the winner discount.

Save 40% on Wide Distribution from FastPencil—and win a consultation with bestselling author Angela Sage Larsen!

FastPencil offers easy-to-use tools to help you write, edit, and format your book. And our Wide Distribution service will make your book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major outlets. For a limited time, you can save 40% on our Wide Distribution package—just use Promo Code NNWM40 when registering. Also, sign up for free to try using FastPencil and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a free consultation with bestselling FastPencil Premiere author Angela Sage Larsen along with free Wide Distribution packages.

One-year all-access Golden Ticket to any LitFactor event; discounts from Authoright

Sign up to LitFactor and receive a special one-year all-access Golden Ticket to any LitFactor event, anywhere in the world. These events include seminars, pitching events, and meetings with literary agents. Sign up a friend to LitFactor and they will receive a Golden Ticket to any LitFactor event, anywhere in the world, too.

LitFactor helps authors submit to literary agents—we are a literary matchmaker, designed to unite unpublished authors with literary agents, online, to support the discovery of new writing talent. We also provide you with up to date news direct from agents such as what they are looking for right now as well as expert advice from agents and inside tips from published authors. And it’s all free. All Wrimos signing up with us will also qualify for exclusive advance invitations to reserve a place at LitFactor’s online events featuring panels of literary agents, experts and publishers. Once you have signed up, email us at

Also, all NaNoWriMo participants can have a free consultation and receive 10% off Authoright’s extensive list of services and 25% off any editing services.

Authoright helps authors self publish well. We are the only author agency with offices in both the UK and US, and since 2005 we have become the leading provider of book marketing services, working with authors and publishers alike. We also support and advise authors who are thinking about publishing. All NaNoWriMo participants qualify to receive 10% off Authoright’s extensive list of services and 25% off any editing services.

50% off Author Concierge Service membership for NaNoWriMo winners ($120 value), and 20% off for all participants.

Now that you have written a novel, BiblioCrunch can guide you through the process of publishing your book through our Author Concierge Service. We provide a personalized concierge service for authors, complete with phone and email contact, an opportunity for one-stop shopping for your entire project, and more. We’ll help you find quality, award-winning professionals you need to take your NaNoWriMo work to the next level. Need an editor for your novel or maybe a book cover? Post your project and watch the proposals pour in from our group of rated and reviewed editors, designers, proofreaders, and other quality publishing experts.

The best part is that it is free! So, try us free first on, and if you like what you see, consider upgrading to a premium membership. All winners get a free phone consultation about their novel. See the “Winner’s Goodies” page on December 5 for details.

All NaNoWriMo writers are invited to submit their stories to compete for monthly cash awards!

We are thrilled to be a part of NaNoWriMo this year—and a proud sponsor! Our publishing platform helps aspiring and published authors get their stories discovered, polished, and promoted. Plus, all stories get to compete for our top 30 monthly cash awards. It’s easy to submit and we only ask for the first chapter. We invite writers of all genres, fiction or non-fiction, to check out JukePop Serials to learn more. So take your NaNoWriMo challenge to the next step and get your story discovered by submitting your story starting December 1, 2013.
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