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Byzantine Roads

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The Family and I at <a title="COSI Columbus Sherlock Exhibit" href="http://cosi.org/sherlock">COSI's Sherlock Holmes Exhibition</a>. As fas as traveling Science Exhibitions, this was one of the Better ones. Nice use of Artifacts and story telling. Really fun, even if light on the Cumberbatch. First room, Conan Doyle and the true life Inspirations. Second Room, the underground Arcade, where a variety of exhibits led you through Victorian Tech and Society, leading to a coded message from Sherlock to meet him at Baker Street for a hidden picture type lesson in observation.

Then a quick jaunt to the crime scene to collect clues. And a trip around London to perform experiments in Blood Splatter analysis, Botany, Tracks and Deductive reasoning., before having the mystery revealed ( A Little Unsatisfying ending, as it was mostly just assuming LeStrade's analysis was incorrect every time, but hey...) Then a quick Movie Prop and Cultural History Exhibit, and A gift shop, where our visit was commemorated. Ah, Family Memories
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And Another One!
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So Last Night I created a simple Scrivener Template for Pulp Action Stories.

This year,  I decided to take part in the  +Write 1 Sub 1 challenge. It’s based On Ray Bradbury‘s early writing habits – Write one story a week and send one story out for publication. Do this for a year and you’ll get better at it.

But it’s been hard to keep up, and my writing muscles ain’t what they used to be after years of neglect. It’s been hard to write and easy to procrastinate.

 Enter Scrivener

Towards that end, I decided to try Scrivener so I could waste more time playing around instead of drafting. Scrivener, for those of you who don’t know, is a writing program designed for writers. I don’t want to call it a word processor even the publishers say it’s designed to Compile manuscripts for publishing and editing in external processors. But it’s about the best at what it does. I’ve used yWriter, Writer’s Dreamkit, StoryBlocks and other organizing and outlining software before.

And in every case, the learning curve was steep and the programs were not flexible enough to match my writing style.

But Scrivener seems to be a different beast. It’s really easy to use. Like a lot of organizers, it uses the concept of breaking up you work into small chunks easily represented by notecards. But the note card organizer ( The cork board) and the meta-data editor( The Inspector) are very intuitive and pretty much invisible until you need to use them. Your project is kept in a “Binder” allowing you add, edit, reorder and change note cards to your heart’s content. Under your research folder you can add pictures, videos, sounds and web pages.

When it comes time to compile your book, you choose what folders and note cards to include. Decide what format you would like the finished product to be and “Bingo!”, Scrivener exports a pretty clean copy of the code. I’ve played with the Epub export, put it into Sigil to validate, and it’s a clean as anything.

Enter Scrivener Templates

And one of the most useful functions I’ve found is the Scrivener template. You can save a blank project for use as a Scrivener template with these text cards already set up the way you choose to organize your projects. So, if you have a set way or organizing your front matter, text and back matter, you can save it as a Scrivener template and begin every project the same way.

So last night I imported my novel, a couple of stories, and created this Scrivener Template version of the Lester Dent Master Fiction Plot.

Enter Lester Dent and the Master Fiction Plot

Lester Dent was the real name of Kenneth Robeson, the creator and writer of the classic Doc Savage stories. His Master fiction plot article is a short essay outlining a good 6,000 word pulp story. Sure, it’s a simple 3 act structure ( One 1,500 word set up, 2 1,500 word sections of rising action, and one 1,500 word climax and denouement.) but it’s entertaining and easy to understand.

And therefore, pretty useful to the aspiring writer.

Now, this was pretty easy. I took a short story template, and copied in the complete text of Dent’s article for review. Then, I split the article up into cards. simple, no?

What I ended up with is a simple Scrivener Template that helps you plot out a 6,000 adventure story.

Here’s the Link to the Lester Dent Master Fiction Plot Scrivener Pulp Template:

http://www.byzantineroads.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/LesterDentPulp.scriv-2013-06-29.zip

I Originally had it saved as a Template, but have run into a well known issue with the Linux version where the compressed folders that make up a Scrivener template are not cross-platform compatible.

So instead, it is now a zipped Project. Download, Unzip and save into your project folder. Then, In Scrivener, select “Open Project.”  Once it’s opened, you can “Save As” your project name, or “Export as Template” for future Use.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think.
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Byzantine Roads

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Well, It’s that time of year again: time to think about what to do for NaNo, time to get serious and try to develop good daily habits and time to push out another idea. Maybe this year I’ll actually do it.
A couple of years ago, I purchased the The No Plot? No Problem! Novel-Writing Kit from amazon  and used up about 1/2 the included progress chart before falling behind and giving up. That meant that the next Project I was working on needed its own chart. So, instead of working on it, I fired up LibreOffice, and wrote my own.

The Backwards and Upside Down Not Nanowrimo Novel Progress Chart

Now, Since I wasn’t really doing NaNo ( I think this was my New Year’s Resolution Project), it looks a lot different from your standard Calendar.
For one, I decided to challenge myself to 2,000 words a day instead of NaNoWrimo’s 1666. Just a Simple Rounding up. And Instead of 30 days, I did 5 Weeks, for 35 Days. So the total words to Complete would have been 70,000. But, Since I wanted to use this for other projects, It’s blank. Your goal is up to you.

You’re also going to notice weeks are vertical, from the bottom. I’m not a designer, and had trouble making a calendar look right with the Progress bar on the left. But I Kinda wanted it parallel it anyway, so vertical weeks, going up it was. Also did outside-in just to be a pain.
It fits on a single 8×11, so you can print it and post it above your desk. Good Luck!

I Posted on the FB NaNo Page last year, and It got a pretty nice response, but the original Post was nuked in my site’s redesign, so Here it is again. It’s in .odt format, so should be good for most Word Processors.  I do have a Creative Commons License attached: Use it as you see fit.

Download Link for Novel Progress Chart
Click to download.

http://www.byzantineroads.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Progress-Chart-2.odt
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Byzantine Roads

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Love Sharing from Soundcloud. It makes it so Easy.
Brian Thompson Podcasts
The DIY Daily Podcast #509 - Your Imagination Matters
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Byzantine Roads

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I Keep coming Back to this Motivational and Inspirational Daily Podcast...Even though I'm neither Christian nor a musician, so much of what +Brian Thompson  speaks about resonates with me.
Brian Thompson Podcasts
The DIY Daily Podcast #500 - January 27, 2014 - 50 Things To Let Go Of Before Your Next Birthday
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Ancient History From the Depths of Youtube...
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Here's a copy of the papercraft Edgar Allan Poe Gift Box Jamie made in 2008:


Jamie made this from a "Museum in a Book" on Poe. The eyes are from the Ultima Thule; the words are facsimiles of Poe Manuscripts.

After originally posting, we were contacted by the Library of Virginia. They had wanted to sell these gift boxes for Poe's 100th Birthday Celebration. Unfortunately, this was just a graphic project and to actually make the box requires a bit of finagling. We were not able to get the specs up to where it would work for them and the project kind of fizzled.

But here they are for your amusement. I guess we'll let you download them with a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution/Non-Commercial license: use them for your own projects, just don't sell them. You are free to remix and edit the images so long as you don't sell the remixed images and allow others to remix them, just link back here.
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It's Never Too LAte to Have a Creative Life
Introduction
"Byzantine Roads" was originally the name of my RPG "company" I started as a teenager. While we never actually got around to publishing anything, the name stuck with me.

No, as a middle aged family guy and still aspiring writer, I've used this blog to try to get my act together. And after years of family drama and financial hardship, it appears to be coming together.

No, I don't think I can teach you anything anymore. You are probably a better, more dedicated and more motivated writer than I am. But dang it, I'm having fun for the first time in a long time: Developing a daily writing practice, doing interesting things in Linux and Scrivener, and just kind of horsing around. And I'm still learning. That's OK. I don't need to know everything.

I hope you stick around. Maybe we can figure out this creative life thing together. I look forward to trying.