Scrivener->Dropbox->Android Writing App

In Fiction on August 28, 2014 at 7:56 am

Update: Here are the files I promised. rtf2md converts from RTF files to Markdown files, and md2rtf converts from Markdown files to RTF files. The other two files are helper files, so you don’t need to touch them. The whole thing is approx 10 megabytes and all you simply to do is extract them to your Dropbox folder!


Something I’ve tried to do lately was create a better workflow between Scrivener and my mobile, a brand new HTC One. The problem I’ve had is that Scrivener eports to only 3 formats: TXT, RTF and FDX. I’ve never used FDX (Final Draft) files before, TXT format removes all the formatting, and RTF is not really recognised by the majority of the Android writer apps.

What I’ve managed to do (Mac only, sorry) is setup Scrivener to output to Dropbox and link up to Dropbox with Draft, my favourite writing app. I output all my files as RTF files to Dropbox and then use a few bash script files that I’ve created (including Python scripts that others have created uner the GNU license) to convert between the RTF and Markdown formats.

Markdown is a new format that uses * and _ and # (as well as other characters) to emphasise the formatting and layout of your document in a way that it can be converted to a HTML document for blogging or a web page, but also has enough flexibility to be used as another type of document. Say an RTF.

Now all I do is sync from Scrivener, run rtf2md from my Mac on any RTF files I have in Dropbox—that converts them to MD files. Then I can edit happily and save. Then, when I get home, I run md2rtf on the changed files and they’re all back as RTFs, ready to be synced with Scrivener. This might sound complicated but it’s really not.

I’ll try and chuck the files up on this blog in the next few days for others to use. I’m sure I can automate the process further: perhaps doing a check for files changed that day in the directory and only converting these, or creating another directory in Dropbox and a script that runs when a file is changed so new files are marked when synced. The sky’s the limit.


Update 29/07/14: Genesis

In Fiction on July 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Dear Readers,

Ideas are fickle/funny little critters.

In an attempt to create a world enriched by characters with actual dimensions (my initial draft ravelled out tangled), I conducted another brainstorming session this evening. Tumbled images poured out of my heart and head until I stopped upon the idea of a seedy pool bar hidden behind an underground comic book store. Sounds too fantastical, right? Well, it’s since developed into a kind of dream place my character imagines when they want to relax, a place of control, a place of warm familiarity. Far more appropriate.

I sat for a few minutes and tried to trace back the root of the idea. Where had it come from?

Then, shazam!

In 2008, I taught singing part-time at a large musical studio and to a colourful cast of students: the aged, pre-teens, Asians, Jamiacans, metalheads, and popstars-to-be. One of these students was heavily into the self-help movement and in a moment of shared interests recommended ‘Psycho-Cybernetics’ by Maxwell Maltz, a classic self-help manual written by the grandfather of the genre.

I surprised myself. I read the book through and really appreciated the techniques outlined within (how to handle stress, what causes stress, how to relax under adverse circumstances). One of the chapters focused on how to construct your own locus of relaxation: what this created place should look like, what elements to include, feelings and colours to incorporate, and how to enter and leave. As an example, my ‘special’ place was an attic with couches, a bed, a fireplace with a rug and a window that overlooked the ocean. I could actually feel coolness radiate off the walls as I one-stepped up the narrow stairs to its entrance.

In my creativity, I’d plucked a snippet of my life from years previous and twisted it into a new and unfamiliar shape.

Add my character’s interest in comics and then a former interest in bar-crawling and you’ve got the rugged skeleton of a catchy idea. And that, my friends, is priceless.


Update 18/07/14: ‘Don’t Look At The Man Behind The Curtain’

In Editing, Fiction, Personal on July 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Dear Readers,

Whether you write a story or a poem, a blog entry or a tweet, a speech or a novel, a novella or a letter [death threat, Dear John, or cheerless goodbye], trim the fat.

(Just a quick post. Back to my novel I go.)



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