Asciidoc: part deux

First of all, I’m going to apologise for the post-Christmas techy rant.

I do most of my writing in Markdown; and as I may have mentioned before, I’m not altogether happy about it.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s a lot better than trying to craft a novel in Word, which is a plethora of distractions and well-intentioneed overkill. There are lots of really good tools, at wildly varying price points, that make working with Markdown a doddle … mostly. The important thing, however, is that a Markdown file can be converted to just about any other file format, so it’s the idea place to keep the source of your novel.

The trouble is that the publishing industry is built around the Word document format, which is why, I guess, most authors still churn out their books in Word.

But what if we could start again? What if a comet hit the planet, wiped out civilisation and we all had to crawl out of the ashes and rebuild? What would the new universal document format look like? 1)I’m willing to admit that my priorities may come off as a little skewed.

Continue reading “Asciidoc: part deux”

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Asciidoc: Markdown on steroids.

I used to write my stuff in Word.

Then I started writing my stuff in Scrivener.

Then I split my writing between Scrivener (novels) and Ulysses (everything else).

But I’ve always had a slight problem with both of them: it was the markup.

Ulysses uses Markdown – or rather its own subset of Markdown. It can handle basics like bold and italics, and at punch, it does a fairly good job with stuff like footnotes (pretty useful if you’re writing academic papers). Table support has been a weak spot as old as Ulysses itself: it just can’t do ‘em, even though every other Markdown editor supports them. Still, most novels don’t need tables, so it’s hardly a dealbreaker if you’re writing the next great American novel. What’s important is that it saves your work in the Markdown format: it’s purely text-based so is portable, a good fit for collaborative work, and is great for version control systems.

On the other lawn, we have Scrivener, which stores everything in RTF format.

Now, the problem I have with RTF is probably just my own ageism: RTF is old. It’s the format Microsoft used for word processing when the world was a twinkle in the eye of the cosmos. Things have moved on; Microsoft certainly has. So while there is nothing lacking with RTF, I don’t like keeping stuff in a dead format, especially one that’s kind of … opaque.

Continue reading “Asciidoc: Markdown on steroids.”