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Part 5 of an online seminar on Tinderbox and World Building for fiction and creative nonfiction. Join us! Email questions and suggestions to Mark Bernstein.

Our heroine, Florence Smith, is struggling, despite her limited means, to find and possess a wonderful and important painting. She may does not yet know which painting, of course, or how she will manage. She isn’t even quite certain how she is going to find money for Mrs. Blessington, the new cook.

Florence knows to the halfpenny how much Mrs. Blessington will cost. But you and I do not. Few of us employ cooks, and Florence lived more than 150 years ago, in a time when servants were common and comparatively inexpensive. How much money does Florence need to find? We can find out in Mrs. Beeton”s Book of Household Management, published in 1861 and a Victorian best-seller. Cooks received £14-30 per year when no extra allowance for tea, sugar and beer was made. If you supplied drinks yourself, you could trim £2-4 a year from the salary.

Every morning, the cook is going to have to black the stove — apply black lead to keep the cast iron free from rust. And every morning, Annie the maid will have to clean the front steps and apply a fresh coat of whiting. We find these tasks in Judith Flanders’ Inside the Victorian Home, a terrific reference for the middle-class Victorian house that carefully explores who did what, and where they did it.

Tinderbox provides a built-in prototype for references, with fields for author, title, publisher, and so forth. Better still, Tinderbox can automatically create a reference note simply by ⌘-opt-dragging a reference from Bookends. And since Bookends can automatically import books from the Library of Congress, Amazon, or university libraries all over the world, you don’t need to enter anything manually: just import the reference, drag it into Tinderbox, and you’re done.

Links and Citations

We’re going to be organizing and reorganizing our notes quickly, and we want to feel free to move things wherever they fit. Tinderbox makes this easy! But we sometimes want things to stay connected: in particular, it’s essential that every quotation and every excerpt in our notes stay connected to its source.

Tinderbox links make this easy. Links connect any two notes, and the link stays attached wherever you move those notes. You can rename either note; the link won’t change. And you can make links very quickly: just grab the “link widget” arrow of a selected note and drag it to the destination. Or, select some text in a Tinderbox text window, click the text link button, and connect the link to its destination.

Questions? Alternatives? Corrections? Improvements to the story? Join the conversation: email bernstein@eastgate.com . We'll be back in a day or two with part six, after the U.S. elections.

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