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Ok, I had a week off of work, and enjoyed time with the family as well as some progress with Pallitine Rising.  I’ve managed to finish two chapters since the last update, including a brand new chapter 15 (which bumps the old one to chapter 16) as well as what is now Chapter 17.  Chapter 16 is still presenting itself as something of a conundrum, but I am slowly coming up with a feasible, and interesting way to write this chapter as I let the situation marinate within the recesses of my mind…

Also, one of the blogs I follow, The Living Notebook, had recently posted a recommendation for the use of a piece of software called Scrivener. Skeptical, I took a look at the site and saw there was a demo you could use for X days, I poked a bit further into the description of what this could do.

In this time I saw several things that piqued my interest, namely the ability to create ebooks directly from the software itself. Other areas that really drew my interest were its ability to organize your notes on what you are writing, be it a manuscript, blog posts, what have you, as well as the ability to organize the writing itself when you are creating the content. There are several other features that I will likely hear flack about not mentioning, but that’s fine. It’s a nifty piece of software.

Now, regarding the ebook creation. If any of you have experience with tools such as Calibre, you know that in order to get the best quality ebook, you have to get your hands dirty in the HTML side of ebook creation, play with the CSS, and so on. (There may be other, better tools out there – but I tend to lean toward the free products, Mobipocket Creator, Calibre, etc etc etc.) In my limited (I’ve only spent two days playing with the software) time, I’ve organized the manuscript for Pallitine Rising, spotted / corrected a number of minor errors within – although, in all fairness, I’m unsure if these errors came from importing, or were just there to begin with since I tend to revise content or edit for typos / punctuation errors on the fly. Anyways, I digress… Within the first couple of hours of toying with the tool I created an ebook in both ePub, as well as mobi format for Kindle. Once you get over the learning curve (which admittedly, there is a minor one), it is pretty easy and quick to get going both on the content creation side as well as the ebook publishing side of things. Since I’m still relatively new using this tool, there may be drawbacks that I haven’t seen yet. To sum up, I am liking this new tool and have purchased it, and while I am not completely abandoning Word, I will be using it only in revisioning / editing my work since that tool works well for me in that regard.

The only real qualms I have regarding Scrivener are, most help seems to me, to be aimed for the Mac version, which was the first version created. There ARE pieces of information out there for the Windows version, and the manual that comes with it is geared specifically for the Windows version, don’t get me wrong. It just seems a bit one sided if you scour the internet looking for advice. The other complaint I have is related somewhat and that is the table of contents creation for ebooks seems a bit lacking for such a sleek tool. There IS a way to manually create a table of contents, but unfortunately, I have yet to find a way to use the manually created version I’ve made in lieu of the one that is automatically created for you. So, in short, my personal copies I’ve made for myself so I can revise the book and highlight errors in the text on my kindle have two tables of contents currently. I’m sure there’s a way to do this, but so far I’ve been unable to turn the default one off so it is not automatically created.

Why bother and not just let the automatic ToC sit? Two reasons. First, is the placement of the automatically created ToC. It is inserted immediately after the cover. So your title page, copyright page, etc are after it, which IMHO doesn’t sit right. Secondly, the ToC links to anything that creates a page break. Which means my ‘front matter’ meaning my title page, copyright page, etc are being tossed into my ToC along with the chapters. Again, a bit of a nuisance. Now, the ToC I’ve created manually works like a champ, is placed precisely where I want it. I just have it along with the one that sits just before the title page. Annoying. If you have a fix for this – for the Windows version of Scrivener, please by all means let me know – because that is pretty much the only negative that I can see since it fits so well with my uses.

Anywho – the stats for Pallitine Rising so far are:

Word Count: ~74,750

Est. Chapters Left: ~5 (This does not count chapters 22 and 23, which have previously been written, which need serious revisioning.)