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Tinderbox Users >> Moving to Tinderbox 6 >> Intro and a few questions

Message started by Bruce Gale on Jan 3rd, 2016, 9:44am

Title: Intro and a few questions
Post by Bruce Gale on Jan 3rd, 2016, 9:44am

I have recently begun using Tinderbox 6.4 as part of a plan to improve my nonfiction writing workflow (I'm a psychologist who writes on child behavior, social skills, and use of technology).  I spent the past couple of weeks looking at and evaluating several programs and settled upon TBX, Devonthink, Devonagent, Bookends, and Ulysses (already had Scrivener, hasn't worked as well for me, seems to duplicate much of TBX unless I'm missing something).  Here are my initial questions:

1.  TBX is overwhelming to me, but getting better.  I've started with Outline mode for my parent book project, with more detailed "inline notes."  Tried looking at the Map view, but it's quite disorganized.  I can see the value of links, attributes, and agents, but for now I'm just putting together a detailed outline.  Any suggestions for next steps?

2.  I like to work on my home iMac and also on one of two MacBooks (Air and older MacBook Pro).  Accordingly, I have been testing saving my TBX document in iCloud, which has so far, worked great (however the file is very small).  I'm also duplicating it at the end of a session and saving a copy on the local computer.  No problems so far, but....  Any thoughts about this approach?  I plan to create a different TBX file for each project.

I'll stop there for now.  I've spent quite a bit of time reading through this forum.  Really nice resource -- thanks to all who have taken the time to be so thoughtful and informative.

Title: Re: Intro and a few questions
Post by Mark Anderson on Jan 3rd, 2016, 10:01am

Hi, thanks for stopping by.  a few thuoghts.

#1. If you're headed for ouptut in long-form/book format, outline helps. I find maps most useful at the start - the upsteream end of the creation process. Mindmap advocates like to talk of the 'freedom;' of mind-mapping. For me, Tinderbox maps are mind maps without the the formality of the implied hierarchy in a mind map. Indeed, if you want a mindmap, I'd use a mindmap app. Tinderbox maps are best for when you've lots of thoughts/things you believe have a relationship but you don't (yet) have clear idea of the relationship. A bit like a jigsaw; you empty it out and you know the pieces do fit together even if exactly how is not yet clear. Transposed to real life, the analogy breaks down - you may have piseces that don't belong - or be missing pieces that do, but maps are great discovery spaces. Avoid the tempation to tidy things. Messy is good; even aligning notes can imply an association. That's good if it's your intent but bad if not so, and only being done in response to teacher's voice in you head telling you to tidy things up. Looping back to your question - use the view that suits the task. What you can't do (it's more complex than assumed) is to flattened an outline to a map and vice versa. Use the map for early stage discovery and - for book/(e)print output move to ioutline as the formalisation of your book emerges. Hold on to the notion that there's no one 'right' method; find a use that suits your style and habits. If stuck on points of detail do ask here - you fellow users will try to help. Posting screengrabs, action code snippets, or example TBXs can help others help you.

#2. I work across 3 Macs: a desktop (an old laptop with external screen) at home, a Mac Mini in the university lab and a MacBook Air that shuttles with me. I use Dropbox with few problems. But whether, iCold, Dropbox, Box or some outher cloud app you must remember to close your doc - or the Tinderbox - before moving location.  The app is not designed for single-user-multi-compurer 'sharing'. Human memory is falible - if you do mess up don't overlook the app's versioning support and Time Machine (if you use the latter).

Happy Tinderboxing!  :)

Title: Re: Intro and a few questions
Post by Mark Bernstein on Jan 3rd, 2016, 12:31pm

"TBX is overwhelming to me, but getting better. "

There’s no need to use everything in Tinderbox.  Different people need different parts.

For example, some writers simply cannot abide outlines. They know that they need to discuss the shortcomings of [MacPherson 98] or to establish Perdita's relationship with Hermione, but where does that fit?  In section II.3.f or maybe in I.4.d? And while they're sorting that out, seven good ideas come and go and are lost, or if we try to jot them down then [MacPherson 98] gets left in the mudroom.  It drives them bats, and when it comes time to use the outline, things turn out to be in the wrong place anyway.  

That's where Map View comes in.  But at other times, the general structure is clear and obvious, and outlines (or charts) are quite effective.  Where structural questions remain -- do we need a separate section for Results or can we combine Results and Conclusions? -- these may be exactly the sort of question on which an outline is likely to throw the most light.

So, use maps when they make sense.

Title: Re: Intro and a few questions
Post by Bruce Gale on Jan 3rd, 2016, 7:42pm

Thanks so much for the useful replies (Mark A. and Mark B.).  I decided to set up Box.Com for my sync and it seems to be working smoothly.  Here's my outline (shared as an RTF export, not sure how else to do it).  It's about 1/2 done (currently 3 pages long).

Tried to post the link to the RTF, but can't -- I'm too new!  (Tried to paste it but that was a mess, sorry).  Let's see if this works:  Just add "http and an "s://" at the front of this:


I have quite a bit of writing from previous drafts, actually going back several years (embarrassing to admit).  Figuring out whether I have one book or two will be part of the process, but I'm not sure how to "split" an outline into two separate areas to avoid the lengthiness of it (can I just "hide" part?).

My next step will be to comb through and add snippets that support each area, then transfer the final writing to either Ulysses or Scrivener (still a bit torn between the two.  Plan to actually start off in both and see which I like better).  

Also trying to figure out what should go into TBX and what should be in DevonThink, which I think of being more for the actual research (although, is that where the writing should go in different versions?).  As you can see, while I'm not all over the place, I am trying to figure my way along.  Best use for DT at present is grabbing interesting weblinks, but that's about as far as I've gotten.  Interested to see how far I can push TBX first.

Thanks to each of you for being so responsive!

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