I recently wrote about how the Ulysses app removed RTF support in favor of DOCX. Overall this opened up file compatibility options with a wide range of apps. I’ve been mostly happy with the change exactly because of this—on the Mac. On iOS it’s something different entirely. Why RTF Rich Text Format is the universal translator language for online fiction publishing. Most all magazines accept it, with some preferring it exclusively.
Or back in the saddle again. Whichever you prefer. Regardless, I’ve started to submit my stories again. I put one in with Daily Science Fiction this morning. It’s 865 words of paranormal cop-show goodness. This feels like a turning point for me. One where I can get back to writing, with a better idea of the mechanics of putting a story together. I don’t know how big the slush pile at DSF is, but hopefully I’ll have a response soon enough.
In theory, writing is easy. You type one word after another until the story is finished. But somehow it doesn’t work out that way in practice. At least for me, as someone who’s never had any significant writing instruction, the scope of a large project can be daunting. All the writing classed I’ve ever taken have been focused on short works. From high school creative writing, the classes it took to get junior college requirements out of the way, a few online college classes in short stories and non-fiction articles, and none were focused on work over 1500 words.
The Ulysses app can do a lot besides writing. I’ve written a lot about how I abuse the poor thing. Its export options offer a variety of formats. One that was convenient was the RTF option. It meant I had one click export to a standard rich text format that’s usually requested by publishers. The v2.1 Ulysses update replaced RTF with DOCX, the new Word 2007 format. These files aren’t usually accepted via email because of the chance that they carry a macro virus.
I just uploaded a style sheet for the Ulysses writing app that I’ve been working on to the Ulysses Style Exchange. It’s called KBasic and it’s meant to make creating ePub files easy. I’ve been fighting with ePub formatting for a while now. It turns out I was trying to do too much. The eReaders (hardware & software) do a great job of displaying even unformatted text. I even experimented with using a blank stylesheet to see what would happen.
So this happened. The new upload to WordPress export option. Because this is a beta release, and I’m not doing a full review because feature will be added and bugs will get fixed. In the meantime, I do have a few observations. It pulled in the wrong display name (that’s from an unused locked blog) but otherwise works the same as my upload script except links open in the same window instead of a new one.
I wrote about my experiences covering the GOP candidates in Nevada for PetaPixel. Overwhelmed and Undergeared: Two Days on the Campaign Trail in Nevada Trump, Carson, and Rubio (l. to r.). Give it a read, it’s a pretty good look at the utter insanity of what goes on behind-the-scenes during a campaign event.
This morning I ran across a little tongue-in-cheek project called the National Novel Generation Month or NaNoGenMo, where the goal is to write a program that writes a novel. It’s an offshoot of the more well known National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that replaces the author with a programmer. The results are about what you’d expect from a niche-hobby project: odd to just plain weird. The fact that it exists is a signpost on the road of machine learning.
Welp. It’s time to update this. One of the reasons I haven’t been posting regularly is that I’ve been working on stuff that I can’t post here. If I were to publish a story on these fine digital pages, it would be considered “previously published” and only qualify for a reprint rate. That would bring the value down to 1-2¢ per word. Not that short fiction pays all that great to begin with.
Out of all the different forms of writing, the one that I’ve never explored was screenwriting. I’m not sure why. I think it has to do with it being a “foreign country” as compared to prose. At first glance the format seems intimidating. The strange margins and overall unfamiliar use of capitalization and line breaks disoriented me. I first started deciphering this when I created “Fake Fountain” for Ulysses. I’m not sure what my inspiration was.