As I sat down to do my daily writing this morning, it occurred to me that I use a couple of things I’m not sure most people know about, and could possibly make use of. I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing, and while the first one doesn’t “improve” anything, it does make some things easier. This will also go into a bit more of my work flow. WARNING! This post also contains a shameless book plug. (I said book) But hey, it’s my blog! So here goes.
Scriptito is a free online writing website dedicated to letting you write, in their words, “Any time, any where”, and they do an excellent job of it. I wrote my first published novel THE BROTHERHOOD using their site. You can upload your manuscript to their site, and of course it provides a word processor. Under account, there is a preferences section, where it allows you to set font and spacing. What scriptito does differently than using just an office word program, is that it breaks your manuscript down into chapters, and allows you to, but also into sections (such as Book 1, Book 2, or whatever). I’m not going to give you a complete verbal tool, you can go to their site and check it out. Hey, it’s free! The two best things about scriptito are this: it allows you to write anywhere, and it allows you to export your books into html, text, epub, pdf, and my personal favorite, mobi. As most of you probably know, epub and mobi are the two most used formats for ebooks, and .mobi is the one amazon uses for their books. In fact, I converted mine from scriptito and uploaded it directly into amazon without a hitch. Remember me saying it breaks your book down into chapters? while it makes your book easily to work on (it’s so much better to work on a small chunk than have to scroll through a whole manuscript to get to your chapter) , it also generates the table of contents for you. That means no need to try to work with kindlegen or any other not-so-easy-for-newbies way of getting your book formatted.
While scriptito is free, it has two paid options, but as far as I know both of those are yearly, and just give you more storage. Currently I still have not reached my limit on the free version, and so far I have 1 completed manuscript, a short story, and a WIP, but I’m going to upgrade to the first yearly option to support further development.
This one I use to help edit my manuscript before I pass it on to my poor unpaid editors, in this case my father and wife. Editminion does a lot of things. It identifies things such as weak words, (probably, directly, easily, etc) that aren’t good in a novel unless you’re writing dialogue. It identifies things like ending in preposition, passive voice, often misspelled words, different variations on the word “said”, and the use of adverbs. You know what else it does? It HIGHLIGHTS them, so you can go through and see where you’ve done all those horrible things I’ve mentioned. Obviously, you don’t have to cut all of those things out, but I personally try to keep them to a minimum and just leave the ones where either I might have to rewrite an entire sentence, there isn’t another word to use in its place, or hell, maybe I just like the word and it looks good on virtual paper. If anything else though, it will make you aware of these things so you can see how to make your writing stronger.
last but not least: The Evil MS Word.
I hate Microsoft. There, I said it. Why? Overpriced comes to mind. I have other reasons, but I won’t mention them here. I would rather use one of the wonderful open source alternative such as LIBRE OFFICE or OPEN OFFICE. I would rather say that those two do what I need them to do out of the box, making them completely newbie friendly. Which for most people, they do. But they lack two huge (in my opinion of course) out of the box options when it comes to writing books. Those are easy formatting, and lack of really good spell check. Spell check, you say? Yes. Because MS Office does more than just spell check. It literally catches things like Capitals at the beginnings of sentences. Why’s that so important, you ask? Because in my experience, that’s one of the easiest things to over look, next to using its instead of it’s or visa versa. (Which it catches too.) I was using Libre Office exclusively until I ran across these issues. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s a wonderful extension for Libre Office that will catch those things too, but I feel it’s something that should come with the program. You download it, you should be done. But for someone who’s never used the program, or isn’t tech savvy enough to find it, it can be a real pain. Heck, it was a pain for me, and I am tech savvy.
I’m sure I will get lambasted by the open-source group for advocating a MS product. Believe me, I feel your pain. If I had the time to figure out how to make formatting work in Libre, I would. But I don’t. I have writing to do. So if one of you wonderful people want to message me, walk me through it, great!
Edit: One thing to note on the subject of Scriptito’s export, is that places like Smashwords and the Pubit! site require an MS manuscript, you can’t upload an epub exported document,