Spotlight on Writing

A weekend or two ago, when I was procrastinating doing the actual hard work, I decided to play around with epub files.

Initially I was toying with the demo of Vellum, and although it’s probably one of the best tools out there for creating ebooks, is a rather pricey option. And then my husband and I had a conversation. It went like this:

Dan: Why don’t you try Scrivener?
Sarah: Yeah, I know. I was thinking about it, but that costs too. Nowhere near as much as Vellum, but it’s not free.
Dan: But we have Scrivener. I’ve been telling you that for ages!
Sarah: Do we?

Sure enough, we have a family Scrivener subscription. I never bothered looking at it before now, because my husband had been trying to convince me to use it as a word processing tool, and personally I prefer Microsoft Word for writing. I know Microsoft Word isn’t the best word processor out there, and also costs an annual subscription. But, there’s something about the layout that gets my head in the game; I’ve been using Word for so long now that I’m a bit stubborn about it and am unwilling to change. Add that to the fact Ashley uses Word too, and it doesn’t make sense to be using different software when we’re constantly shuffling chapters back and forth.

But of course, Word doesn’t compile text into epub files. Scrivener does.

So I began the arduous task of copying each chapter into Scrivener’s format and compiling When the Rain Falls into an epub, just to see what it looked like.

Scrivener is a great tool for converting your book into an EPUB file. It even helps with editing. The novel template is pictured, and offers instructions on how to format in Scrivener to get a professional result.

I was shocked. While it’s not as intuitive to use as Vellum, it certainly produced a pleasing result. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s frankly surprising how much more professional it looks when it’s formatted for reading.

It occurred to me that it might be a valuable tool for editing purposes.

So, I copied Darkness, Set Us Free into an epub as well. As I read through, things that I had always questioned when editing became clear. Lines that needed to go into a new paragraph. Commas that weren’t in the right place (or missing entirely). Sections of text that drawled on and lost my interest suddenly stood out. And, instead of tedious scrolling through several hundred pages, I can now immediately skip to the chapter I want. I’ve currently finished my first round of editing (hooray!) and am in the process of reading the second draft of the ebook through and making notes. It’s working well so far.

Story-time with Sarah

Dan and I took a stroll around the storm pond. Although it’s something I occasionally do on my own, it was refreshing to get out of the house together and take a wander around the closest green space in our neighborhood.

I always enjoy taking pictures there, and there’s always something that captures the imagination. Like this upturned wagon.

This little red wagon was sinking in our local storm pond. A little how I felt when I was looking at the price of Vellum, until I realized we had Scrivener, a great software tool for creating EPUB files.

I could see the headlines.

Crash Landing. Or, a more sobering tone: Child goes missing at Local Storm Pond.

Sinking wagons aside, it was a great day to be out. The sun was shining brightly, the ice had finally melted after a long hard winter. Ducks were swimming happily, drifting close to the shore and laughing at us humans skirting around each other as we tried our best to keep social distance.

Speaking of, the only thing that marred an otherwise pleasant walk was when I looked behind me to check our distance between an approaching family, ready to step off the track, as they seemed to be going quicker than us. A woman yelled out, “We’re not even close to you!” She was clearly affronted by my skittish behavior. Which, we reflected, was rather short-sighted of her. For all she knew, we were worried about infecting her.

But whatever. Not everyone is as concerned with infection control as I am, and that’s OK. That’s why I’m a nurse, and she’s (I hope) not.

When your mind is full of words and you've been converting your book to an epub all morning, it helps to get out and about. Pictured is the local storm pond.