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Scrivener for iOS: Scribbling on the road

Or in a field if you like…

Okay, first a disclaimer: I’ve been a Scrivener user since day one (that must be going on about ten years now), and I’m also one of those people who didn’t believe you could write a whole book on a tablet, much less a mobile phone. So, skeptical me promised the developer  I’d give it a damn good try…

This is where I was when I finished Novel Number 4, the last two chapters written on my mobile phone.

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If you’re going to walk and write, keep one eye out for the river bank

So it’s fair to say I’m something of a convert.

Scrivener for iOS should probably be called the Messiah Release: millions waited for it, and as time soldiered on it seemed less likely that it would ever arrive. But Literature and Latte battled on making missteps and hitting setbacks until their developer – who said he wasn’t go to write it himself – decided to write it himself. A surprisingly short year or so later, the beta arrived, and straight off the bat, I can tell you it was well worth the wait.

I got my notification, and taking great care to ignore all the warnings and instructions, I downloaded it and cracked on. Getting my work in progress on to iOS was pretty easy: Scrivener uses Dropbox to store its files (it can’t use iCloud – more on that later), so it’s simply a case of copying your stuff to a Dropbox folder and then syncing across to iOS. Unsurprisingly, things didn’t look quite right; everything was there: the manuscript, my research notes, character bios, photographs, story plans – but the fonts weren’t right. I got straight on to the developer who pointed out the spot in the manual where it explains how to sync fonts into Scrivener. Two minutes later, I had a project that looked eerily like the one I have running on MacOSX.

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Book review: Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant

This was one of my holiday reads, and in that regard it's absolutely perfect: just the thing to take with you for a few hours spent on the beach. (I picked up a humdinger of a mosquito bite, but I can't blame the book for that).
The story is straightforward enough: Paul Morris, an author who's light faded after his first novel, finds himself in need of someone new to sponge from. He hooks up with Alice, a woman he barely remembers from his university days, and begins the rather tawdry process of ingratiating himself so deeply into her affections that she'll let him move into her house. (Having had to leave his rent-free digs, Paul is living with his mother).


Part of this plan involves romancing Alice during the yearly vacation she takes with friends and family on the island of Pyros.
Unfortunately, Paul doesn't realise that many of Alice's friends remember him from the last time they met on Pyros ten years ago, the same time that a fourteen-year-old girl vanished from a house close to where they were staying…
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Ulysses switches to paid subscriptions… Faeries wither and die all over the internet

I rarely cover tech stories, but Ulysses is used by so many writers (myself included) I thought it was worth chatting about what is becoming an increasingly popular revenue model for software developers.

You can find the announcement and pricing on the Soulmen website, but the short version is that you can no longer buy Ulysses as a one-off payment; you now pay every month/year if you want to keep on using it.

Realising this won't sit well with their use base, software companies often write a tome of a blog article explaining why this is necessary and why it is good for their customers. You can pretty much skip over whatever they write because it always boils down to two points: Continue reading “Ulysses switches to paid subscriptions… Faeries wither and die all over the internet”

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

This one's from the extraordinary visual imagination of Luc Besson; you might remember him: the chap who brought us the brilliant Fifth Element many many years ago? So if nothing else, Valerian and the City of the Thousand Planets would be a treat for the eyes. And it was a treat for the eyes; unfortunately, it was pretty much nothing else.

Okay, in terms of scope, artwork, imagination and attention to detail, then this is something of a masterpiece, especially when you think that the movie was made outside of Hollywood. The scenery is breathtaking, the aliens are inspired (though some of them did look as if they'd been recycled from the Fifth Element). If that sort of thing floats your boat (it certainly floats mine) then it's well worth the rather drawn-out two hours and fifteen minutes you'll have to spare to sit through it. But in terms of storyline, script and performance then I'm afraid it misses its mark by a good light year.

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The main problem with the film is that while it was concentrating so hard on being the movie equivalent of a catwalk model, it sort of forgot what it was trying to be; it blended action scenes, bits of history with a rambling and uninspired love story.

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