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Can I divide my word count by 250? (Read 5168 times)
Greg McQueen
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Can I divide my word count by 250?
Feb 20th, 2008, 5:04pm
 
I've been an on/off Tinderbox user for a couple of years now. I'm a writer, and have experimented with most of the Mac apps for writing. But, I keep coming back to Tinderbox. Why? You're all Tinderbox users, I'm sure I've no need to bore you with that answer! Anyway, 4.1.0 is great work Mark, and it has really switched me on to fully embracing Tinderbox as a tool to get the chaotic contents of my brain squeezed into a well written story.

Okay. Here's what I'm trying to do:

I'm revising a novel. I have containers for each chapter, and inside are notes that are colour coded through prototypes to indicate what stage I'm at draft wise. So, the Chapter One container has 3 versions of Chapter One: Rough, Revised, and Final.

I then have 3 agents set up to collect each draft version. I also have 3 notes set up using Display Expression to give me a live word count for each draft. Here's what I'm using to display the word count(s):

sum(child(/Agents/Rough Draft Manuscript),$WordCount)

What I would like to do is try to set up a Display Expression to show an approximate printed page count as well. To do this, I simply need to take the draft word count and divide it by 250 (the approximate number of words per printed page.)

What would also be interesting to try and figure out is how I can make the "exact" word count generated by Tinderbox into a "publishers" word count. I'm sure there's a few writers out there in Tinderbox land that can confirm that publishers (at least, of fiction) don't use exact word counts for a novel. They count the number of pages in the manuscript, then, going by the rule of thumb that there's an average of 10 words per line and 25 lines per page, times it by 250. All the chapter beginnings that start a quarter the way down the page and the endings that are only a half still count as a full page of 250 words. This means that the "exact" word count done on a computer falls short of what a "publishers" word count would be.

I realise any word count will be fuzzy using the terms I've outlined. But, I'm certain that a word count can be generated that at least falls plus or minus 3000 words (for example) of what the publishers count might be.

This all might be totally mute if Tinderbox doesn't do the math. However, if it can ... A little logic could help put the word count within range. For example:

A chapter always starts a third of the way down the page. That's 8 [double spaced] lines, or 80 words. That roughly dictates whether the end of the chapter ends a quarter, half, or two-thirds down a page, or neatly at the end; although it's more likely not to end neatly (not sure why I think that), so you could just hedge your averaging bets and simply put an even 100 on the back of each chapter word count. That's 180 words added per chapter, adding up to 5400 words for a novel that's 30 chapters. That's the difference between saying you've written a 55,000 or 60,000 word novel. And, in page count terms that's 21 (and a half!) pages.

I think adding an average of 180 words to each chapter word count would be acceptable. So, I guess what I am after is this:

To get Tinderbox to add the average 180 to each chapter word count. Then, take the entire word count for the draft and divide it by 250 to display an approximate page count.

I hope this all makes sense and look forward to a few suggestions on how this might work.

Thanks.
Greg

"Being a writer means having homework for the rest of your life."
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Can I divide my word count by 250?
Reply #1 - Feb 20th, 2008, 5:38pm
 
Tinderbox 4 is good at math.

What you want to do is create a numerical attribute PageCount.  Use a rule to set PageCount=$WordCount/250

What you want is a DisplayExpression like this: $Name+"("+$PageCount+")"

Now, if you want to use the Publisher's word count, you know that they're figuring 60 characters per line (ten words, including spaces) and 25 lines per page.  So a page is 1500 characters.

     PageCount=$TextLength/1500

Why not do the math in the DisplayExpression?  Because DisplayExpression currently assumes you're working with string expressions, not numbers.
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Can I divide my word count by 250?
Reply #2 - Feb 20th, 2008, 5:39pm
 
Oh -- and don't miss the discussion of book planning in the Applications section!
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Greg McQueen
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Re: Can I divide my word count by 250?
Reply #3 - Feb 21st, 2008, 5:00am
 
Great! It only took me a couple of minutes to set up. With my previous Tinderbox use I've kept things pretty simple. Like most, I went straight for the Map View, using Tinderbox more as a mind mapping style app. However, when I put a whole manuscript draft into it--all the scenes, notes, reminders, etc.--Map View becomes a bit overwhelming, and disorganised. I was about to give up and switch off from Tinderbox again, but I then read a couple of posts from this forum about starting out with Outline View instead. It probably sounds silly, but it was a light bulb moment.

Thanks to your help, I now have a great template for novel writing that has the room to evolve the more I use Tinderbox. I also write screenplays, and recently read on John August's site (http://johnaugust.com/archives/2004/new-css-template-for-screenplay-formatting) about a Css template for screenplay formatting. He uses it to display snippets from screenplays on his site. But, I'm thinking it could also be used in combination with an Export Template for Tinderbox to export a fully formatted screenplay in HTML.

I don't have time to fiddle with the screenplay export right now. But, will certainly be looking to build a template within the next couple of months. I'll no doubt have plenty of question when I do ...

Thanks again, Mark. I'll check out the Book Planning bit of the forum as you've suggested.

Smiley
Greg

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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Can I divide my word count by 250?
Reply #4 - Feb 21st, 2008, 5:16pm
 
The next release of Tinderbox will make this simpler, by allowing numeric computation directly in the DisplayExpression.
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