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Notes for a Novel: revisiting (Read 26243 times)
susan gibb
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #15 - Jan 06th, 2011, 1:28pm
 
Hi folks. So happy to see so many writers here--I'm not quite a technical geek but I do love Tinderbox for my writing efforts. I've written many, many stories into Tinderbox, though I admit they were all hypertext pieces. I use map view almost exclusively for them, since it's such a good way to visualize how the story lines loop around and to avoid leaving a reader in an inescapable maze.

I also use Tinderbox to keep track of projects, i.e., 100 Days 2009 which was a hypertext daily for 100 days, and 100 Days 2010, which is traditional form flash fiction. On this latter, it's enabled me to later keep track of submissiions, publication, and oh yeah, rejections of stories as well.

If I can be of help--though I've not done a long traditional (non-hypertext) piece in Tinderbox--please let me know.
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JeffAbbott
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #16 - Jan 29th, 2011, 11:55pm
 
Just to keep the book conversation going. I have made some detailed outlines for my next two books in Tinderbox (I don't normally do that, but just how the process worked this time around). I was intrigued by some of the new features in Scrivener 2.0 (I had planned to do my writing in Word 2011), but I have not figured out a way to get my Tinderbox outlines into Scrivener (I have seen a way to export it as a file that I guess you can drag and drop items into the binder, but not a way that, snap, replicates the Tinderbox outline into Scrivener and preserves your notes. I saw some helpful discussions on this in both forums but too much of it was Greek to me, and the Simplenote sync didn't work for me.) I have to say I think I will find it easier and less time consuming to recreate the Tinderbox outline in Scrivener by hand via cut and paste. Or to simply keep the outline up in a Tinderbox window while writing in Scrivener. (While I often stick to my outlines, they are not cast in stone, they often develop and change while I'm writing.)

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Hugh
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #17 - Jan 30th, 2011, 3:33am
 
Jeff, have you seen this thread in the Scrivener forum: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1355&hilit=tinderbo...?

The first post from AmberV near the top of the first page is the one to look for. I followed the instructions there and got my Tinderbox outline into Scrivener, complete with notes, with no difficulty. Of course both applications have gone through new versions since that advice was posted (2007), but I have no reason to think that it won't still work now.

Re-typing can be useful for other reasons, but shortcuts are still worth knowing about!
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« Last Edit: Jan 30th, 2011, 3:34am by Hugh »  
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JeffAbbott
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #18 - Jan 30th, 2011, 10:10am
 
Hugh, yes, I did see that, thanks. I even went to the Tinderbox Way to try to see how to create a template, where it would go, etc., and got lost. I'm not a programmer, I don't think like a programmer, and I don't know HTML. I'm sure the instructions are useful to someone with the required knowledge. (But even the section in the book on 'why templates are hard' reads as though written for computer science majors, which sort of defeats the point.) I mean, is a template just another note that lives in a subfolder in the same folder as the document you want to export? I had to read three different sections to figure that out. I still don't know how to set up a template, though. (Someone will someday write Tinderbox for Dummies and make a tidy sum off actual dummies like me.)

It's stuff like this that just keeps me using Tinderbox as a very good brainstorming outliner and visual map, and *nothing more*. When I write I just keep the outline visible, or print it out. After a lot of the initial power of the program in capturing and classifying notes, there is just a wall there that I don't know how to scale (or more fairly, don't have the time to scale. I wrote two books last year and am trying to do the same again this year.) Not a complaint, I knew what I was getting when I bought the program. But I'm glad my editors don't ask me for my outlines.
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #19 - Jan 30th, 2011, 10:26am
 
I think we'll be working on more seamless Scrivener export.

In the interim, which would you prefer to do first?

  • get the outline onto paper
  • get the outline into Scrivener


Either way, could you show us some small excerpt of the outline -- perhaps reinventing it so you don't blow the plot on the next novel! -- so we can see exactly where we're coming from and where we're going?
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Hugh
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #20 - Jan 30th, 2011, 10:31am
 
Well, leaving aside "Tinderbox for Dummies" which I too would gladly fork out for, here's a thought for Eastgate. Mark B was I believe calling for suggestions for tutorials a week or two back. How about: "How do you export a Tinderbox outline, including text, into the Scrivener Binder and synopses, in easy stages?" Could be video, but might just as well be text and screenshots, just so long as it moves at the pace of the slowest member of the class (probably me).

I imagine that would be of particular interest to those who recently bought Tinderbox as a result of the Scrivener offer. But not just them!

Edit: Overtaken! That was quick, especially for a Sunday!
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« Last Edit: Jan 30th, 2011, 10:33am by Hugh »  
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #21 - Jan 30th, 2011, 10:32am
 
Also in the interim, try this demo (right-click to download the TBX). The demo shows OMPL export from TB. Try the demo's export to test import to Scrivener (Scrivener manual, PDF v336 - on screen 'paper' page 331). Then, use the templates in your own TBX not forgetting to update the reference to other templates in the wrapper template (i.e. you need to ensure it points to the right location in your TBX when you use it).

[Later: the reason I can't test the Scrivener end is I don't use/have the app]
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« Last Edit: Jan 30th, 2011, 10:34am by Mark Anderson »  

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Hugh
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #22 - Jan 30th, 2011, 12:09pm
 
@ Mark B: "More seamless" would be terrific. For my purposes, the export need only be very simple. Typically, one might have several parts in a Tinderbox fiction outline, including linked "trees" for Characters, Locations and Events. But for me at least the core will always be a simple traditional outline sub-divided into Parts (possibly), Chapters and Scenes (and maybe for some users even finer granularity than that).

What one would want to do would be to export this core outline structure and the names of notes into the Draft section of Scrivener's Binder, and the text into the Editor or the Synopsis (probably the Editor because at present one can easily put text from the Editor into the Synopsis, but the reverse is copy and paste.) If one could do that export seamlessly one could also export other sections of the Tinderbox outline (Characters, Events, Locations) into other sections of the Binder. Ultimately, one may want to map Key Attributes such as $StartDate into the Scrivener Outliner custom meta-data columns, but what I have described so far will be excellent as a beginning. (I don't think anything is batch-importable into Scrivener's custom meta-data columns as yet.)

Of course the above can already be achieved as Mark A describes with OPML export, because Scrivener now imports OPML. But mention of templates may put some users off. As I say, "more seamlessly" would be terrific.
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« Last Edit: Jan 30th, 2011, 12:19pm by Hugh »  
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JeffAbbott
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #23 - Jan 30th, 2011, 12:47pm
 
What Hugh said.

I did try the OPML that Mark A suggested (I tried it last night) and that file, in a new Scrivener projects works fine, but when I try it with my own I'm not doing it right; it puts in a file with the export name, outside the Draft, and it's just one long file that I can drag and drop from. I'm not sure where to put the templates and the Export this File! -- in the TBX doc? In the template folder I created in the same folder as my TBX outline? I did both, neither worked. I'm sure there's something not set correctly in my own TBX file but I don't know where to look.

So I'll just recreate it by hand (just doing my Act One outline first). Not a big deal. I was going to write this in Word to begin with, and had no expectations that I could import the outline. (I am kicking Scrivener 2's tires--there are things I like about that program, but I am so used to writing in a traditional word processor I have found the change hard to make.) I've got 2,000-3,000 words to write today and that needs to be my focus rather than outline engineering.

Thanks!



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Mark Anderson
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #24 - Jan 30th, 2011, 1:10pm
 
@Jeff. As you note Scrivener [sic] isn't putting your import where you want it. This is an indication the software can't guess your intent. The manual page I quoted does say there's a Scrivener setting you can use to affect where the OPML import ends up - did you try that?  I don't have the app but from the manual, the OPML import support is pretty basic; it only import oultine items ($Name in TB) and 'item notes' ($Text), based on the OmniOutliner model. Nothing you do in TB is going to affect where Scrivener puts the import, that's down to Scrivener. So, if Scrivener's importing valid OPML but not where you want it, contact Scrivener support - there's nothing we can do here.

I wrote the TBX demo originally when TB v5.0 was current, since when TB OPML export has been updated several times to ensure export data is valid OPML (as has the demo). But that's half the story. Even if the data leaving TB is valid OPML, you are equally reliant on the importing app doing what you expect with the data.  It seems it doesn't, which is why you need to contact support for the receiving app - a 'better' TB export won't solve your problem. Frustrating, but true.
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #25 - Jan 30th, 2011, 2:42pm
 
See (I think) the Import & Export pane of Scrivener's Preferences dialog. You'll see several options for where Scrivener puts imported HTML OPML.

Perhaps you could compare your current settings to the demo, and let us know how they differ?
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« Last Edit: Jan 31st, 2011, 12:09pm by Mark Bernstein »  
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JeffAbbott
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #26 - Jan 31st, 2011, 11:59am
 
Mark: thanks, I just did it by hand, it was easier since I was in a rush (and let me review the outline again). I probably do need to figure this out, though, since I am keeping my series bible in Tinderbox (formerly kept in Word) and also have to start a world-building project for a new project, with a detailed world, and want to do that in Tinderbox, and there will be times I want to share that information with other people (such as a screenwriter who wants to adapt the Sam Capra novels for film).
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Phil Houtz
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #27 - Jun 5th, 2011, 5:46pm
 
I'd be interested in discussing "best practices" for novel writing with TBX. I realize that every author is going to have a different way of doing things and Tinderbox is flexible enough to facilitate a wide range of approaches. But it seems that some organizational practices might be better starting points than others.

For example, I started my novel using a separate prototype for each character. I applied these prototypes to each note so that I could instantly see when a note applied to Bob and when a note applied to Carol.

But then I had a scene with Bob and Carol together. To continue with my strategy I would need to create a Bob/Carol prototype. And then a Ted/Alice prototype. Pretty soon it's getting difficult to differentiate notes by color.

So I changed gears and created a Character prototype that defined Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice notes. I linked characters to Event  and Description notes.

But then I watched Mark Bernstein's very helpful screencast on planning a book and decided to create a Who attribute and use agents as my Character Objects. I'm wondering now if I even need a Character Prototype if I'm using a Character Agent?

I think you can see how I'm spinning my wheels here. And I guess to start off a "best practices" discussion I'd like to know how others are using links. What do you use links FOR and what would you absolutely NOT use a link for?
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #28 - Jun 5th, 2011, 6:45pm
 
For inherently multi-value data like Characters in a scene, use a list or set type prototype; for characters set-type is more useful as we don't want dupes. For the characters, have one or more character prototypes. Likely it's one but you might want to differentiate two or more distinct sub-groups of characters, having a separate prototype for each allowing you to show different appearance for each group.

If there are artefacts critical to the scene you could also use a separate set attribute to track these, especially if the artefact is used again later - helps avoid continuity issues.

You could link a character to every scene they are in but it makes for a very messy map. You could instead make each (major?) character an agent instead of a note. The agent's $Text and necessary key attributes could hold info about the character whilst the agent could match any scene where the character is referenced as a participant (the set attribute described above). Such an agent can be parameterised in prototype form so that, for example, the query uses the note $Name (which is the character's name) as a parameter in the query. Thus your set attribute for characters might be called 'Cast'. An self-referring agent might use the query:

$Cast.contains($Name(agent))

or to look for just first name

$Cast.contains(firstWord($Name(agent)))

If your story has a definite timeline, give scene notes a date, then it's easy to view all scenes in date order allowing you to check narrative coherence.

When tinkering with attributes, get the hang of how attribute values are inherited and how to re-set a note's attribute to re-enable inheritance.

Do ask if any of this leaves you lost, though for specific mechanics of code, etc., I suggest starting a new thread here for each topic leaving this one to discuss generalities.
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Hugh
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Re: Notes for a Novel: revisiting
Reply #29 - Jun 6th, 2011, 10:10am
 
I'm just starting to use Tinderbox for this purpose.

My thinking at the moment is not to try to create a big all-singing all dancing document where everything is interlinked and related, like a Heath-Robinson machine. For instance, my immediate requirement is to sort several hundred dialogue snippets (don't ask why, it's too complicated!). That is likely to require Character Agents or Adornments. But I may also need Character Notes for scenes, and Character Attributes for events and a timeline, if I include one.

I'll probably try to keep it all in a single document, but I already recognise that it's not going to be neat and tidy, and there will be some duplication.
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