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FAQ

What can I use to help me write a book?
Anything and Everything! Writing a book is more than just putting random words down on paper and an intelligent reader can always tells if real thought was put into the writing of the book they are reading or if the book was written cold seat of the pants approach. Only truly skilled and knowledgeable people can write in the latter described but this is why characters and plot symbolism and language are minimal. Seat of the Pants approach can certainly crank-out material for the writer but the chance of what is written bing literature is not in the writer favor. My first novel I wrote when I was 18 was seat of the pants and it took me ages to edit mostly having to do with continuity. It was a bit of aplex story and many dates were part of it and when doing the math at one point I found that about one-quarter of the dates did not match-up to what I had going on. It was after that that I kept track of everything and eventually I clued-in that the only real and appropriate way to write a book was to plan-out everything to the smallest detail. Before I start writing a single word towards the story I know everything about the story the plot the characters and the symbolism I wish to use. I have gotten to the stage where I now know not only how long the story is going to be (almost to the word) but also I pretty know how every sentence will be written within the book. Some will argue that a writer doesn have to do it and for them they are 1% correct - for me I don agree. I wish to eventually have my fiction viewed as literary even if it does not sell. However if I wish to be a hack just for money I am perfectly able to seat of the pants crank out material. Obviously I am not rich because MONEY is the LAST reason someone should look at bing a writer. The entire world and all it contains is your color palette that you will use to paint the images within your story. Listening to people talk can help you in knowing how to write dialogue. Music may help you when writing something emotional. Art and Nature could be utilized to reflect culture and change. Nothing should be allowed to go unnoticed by a writer because everything is essentially there as your inspiration. Now before you decide to undertake a major project such as a book how about setting the goal of planning (or designing) a dozen short stories? Go through the process of premise outline and plot. Consider where you start where you will end and what it will take to get from point A to point C. Consider your characters and create them as real people. Always find the appropriate name for them instead of giving them one of your favorite names. Study meanings of names and understand your character personality and match-up the person to the name. The same goes with locations and the time period set for the story. Leave nothing to chance and you will find that your story is suddenly finished and requires less editing than if you just sat and wrote it cold. You will also discover one truth you will not have writer block and if you do you will recognize it for what it is the laziness to write. I won get into writing nonfiction because the approach to that is all knowledge and fact-based and planning such an undertaking a slightly different than that of a novel.
Who uses Scrivener for writing novels, and what are your thoughts?
*I* use Scrivener for writing novels. And non-fiction books. And even long-form blog posts. Hell I use it for medium-form blog posts when I want to do them well. If I was smart I probably begin using it for love letters to my wife (they tend to stray somewhere around paragraph three more often than not; Scrivener would probably help organize those missives better too). It an indispensable tool for organizing your content (and your thoughts) while supporting those flashes of creative madness that sometimes lead writers way off into the creative TFW* but in a way that allows a later more rational mind an efficient way to work that bit-in-the-teeth brilliance into your story structure (in a way that won make your editor blanch). Thises admittedly from a number one non-selling author on Amazon so such a rmendation might be justly overlooked. But the experience that converted me into a Literature & Latte evangelist for Scriveneres from a past of seeing countless novel attempts started in MS Word (or whatever editor I was using at the time) stall out around Chapter Three because I fastened on a Grand Idea but not gridded the story out well enough to support writing through the middle. Word processors just don support the disjointed creativity that spews from my 21st-century electronically-distracted mind. Scrivener let you sit down and write whatever part of your novel youre most inspired to write at any given time (assuming youre not the kind of highly professional robot that can grind through prose creation from beginning to end like some Charteresque* machine). Then its wonderful organizational tools provide for moving your scenes around until your overall story structure works best. When youre scatterbrained Scrivener will rescue you from writing repeat scenes or forgetting important characterizations because you can so easily reference elements like character sheets and location notes. For those self-publishing authors (and even for those determined to throw their work into editorial slush piles) Scrivener makespiling your book into ebook and other formats absurdly easy. One of the keys to any success is minimizing the time you spend doing anything other than creating Scrivener helps do that. Having used it I couldn imagine wanting to write any kind ofplex story using any other tool. When something works don waste time learning new tools; use the one that already works for you so you can channel your energy into content creation. * TFW Trackless effin wasteland.n* Charteresque Leslie Charteris creator of The Saint famously wrote (or later in his career *narrated* (!)) all of his 1-odd often intricately plotted Saint action stories straight through from beginning to end from page one thru page (last) without ever having to go back to insert plot devices move passages around or adjust character actions or dialogue. He hammer out the book send it off for publication then start the next. The man had an incredible mind.
Where do I find beautiful and professional ebook templates for Power Point?
Thanks for answering my question if you have an existing PowerPoint presentation that needs to be converted to ebook format - see my answer below with step-by-step instructions in the second half. Or if you consider creating an ebook in PowerPoint - in this case my answer would have been a lot shorter Do not do this if you intend to stay sane. italic You are searching for a way to convert a PowerPoint presentation to an ebook. If you use Google to search for such a solution you can have a a good laugh - because most people seem to think that PDF qualifies as an ebook. So they suggest to just export it to a PDF format from PowerPoint - tadaa! Anyone who ever tried to read PDF documents on ebooks readers though would find this an absurd idea. Ebook readers were not made for reading PDFs and although some readers support PDF documents they do a poor job of displaying anything that is even remotely similar to the original presentation. One solution that does not work Unreadable content because each PowerPoint page was converted to an per page in the reader and you cannot read any of the words. Anything but the header is too small and pixelated. So you zoom in and now you have to scroll from the top left of the is no solution what other problems turn up if you read a PDF- or even worse a PDF that was converted. say to Kindle format on an ebook reader? Unreadable content because PDF is an abhorrently bad file format. Ask anyone who ever had to write software that reads the content of a PDF file. I only ever got any one of two reactions from programmers who were forced to do this They either spin a long tale and both of you will feel sad at the end or they refuse toment and leave. Remember that your ebook reader is made of software. Software that was created by one of these developers. Software that desperately tries to make any sense of the PDF content but finally throws its hands up and displays something italic . Did you ever want to read an ebook where you need to guess which partial sentences belong together? Imagine your original page content to be chopped into pieces here a quarter of a sentence from the main there half a sentence from an s sprinkled in somewhere italic . It looks like the newspaper collage of a five-year-old. There is a very good reason why instructions on the Internet how to easily convert PowerPoint to an ebook only shows the steps involved and never the result If the original presentation was any moreplicated than one long or a list of the result will be the newspaper collage. Start of instructions You can try this to get a fast idea how your presentation would look like in ebook format The Well it could italic work could not it? approach Install a tiny program called Send to Kindle s on yourputer. When asked use your standard Amazon account login. On Windows Right-click the PDF file in Windows Explorer choose Send to Kindle and tell the program what should be the name of the document in your Kindle Library and the author. Upload it. Wait a few minutes for Amazon servers doing their job. Hover with the mouse above Guest and choose Sign in. Hover with the mouse above (your first name) and choose Manage Your Content and Devices. Sign in again. Clock the left-most box that is left of your PDF title. Now orange buttons above the list have be active. Choose the Deliver button Choose all of the devices then click the Deliver button in the big box. Open your PDF document on all devices. Option A Rejoice because it looks just like the the original presentation. OK now we get serious and instead of creating just a PDF file we create a real italic Kindle ebook Repeat the steps above but this time an additional few steps are needed Install the software calibre - E-book management s on yourputer. Here is a video instruction how to install Calibre and how to create a Kindle file from a PDF Have Calibre create the mobi file. This will upload the mobi file to your Kindle cloud. Again check all pages of all devices if they actually look exactly like the presentation. Or swear that you will never again try to create a Kindle ebook in PowerPoint and give up on the idea to convert a PowerPoint presentation to a Kindle ebook. Unhappy with the results because the Kindle ebook on the reader looks still horrible? Either study the art of ebook creation or look for a professional to do it for you. ordered-list
As we can easily export PDFs from many kinds of software (like Word), why do people still need Acrobat Pro?
I am sure that there are some users that don't have need Acrobat (beyond the reader) now. As time goes on and more of Acrobat's functionality is absorbed (at a cost I'm sure) into other applications that group may get larger. There are some things that Acrobat still does very well though that require Acrobat to aplish. One off the top of my head is Acrobat forms and LiveCycle. Acrobat forms are more than just creating a document with blanks. A lot of intelligence can be built into those forms that make the forms behave in different ways depending on input or environment. If it is a livecycle form the capabilities be so much greater (such as automatic size-adjusting). The disposition of the filled form can also be intelligently handled by Acrobat systems. So while it is possible that the average user may not ever need Acrobat Professional those who create forms for the average user to use still need Professional.
Is it possible to export speaker notes from PowerPoint (for Mac) as plain text or .docx?
I can confirm if this works on PowerPoint for Mac but it should. Here a Export Create Handouts Select Notes Below Slides The next step is optional but it speeds things up with large presentations. Under Add Slides to Microsoft Word documentnSelect Paste Link You should have a Word Documents with all the notes and all the Slides as Images. Now in Microsoft Word Select All (CTRL + A) Cut (CTRL + X) Paste (CTRL + V) (For those like me who like keyboardbinations youll notice it a three key sequence holding down CTRL - AXV) The next step is different for Windows and Mac. When you Paste on Windows you can simply hit CTRL to get a Paste Options menu. On Mac you have to click on the little clipboard icon at the very end of the pasted content. In that menu select Keep Text Only (a little clipboard with the letter A) On Windows the shortcut for this is T All the images disappear leaving unformatted . For the whole process in Word the windows Keyboard Combo Sequence is CTRL + (AXV) CTRL T Four keystrokes and youre done.
What tools can one use to build end-user documentation efficiently?
I can say there are literally hundreds of tools out there that will help you build end user documentation efficiently. On DocToolHub s an index ofmercial and open source technical documentation tools weve listed 364 tools so far (and counting). To understand which tool will offer the most efficiency for you in terms of lowest cost per page to produce and highest benefits for end users you will first need to look at your own situation and then narrow down the choices available What of product are you documenting? If it online is it a SaaS product desktop or mobile application etc.? Youll need to choose a tool that outputs formats (e.g. HTML PDF JavaHelp ) that your product can deliver as part of its help system. Also can you integrate the help in a con-sensitive way in terms of what the user is doing at that moment (e.g. explanatory that appears on hover)? Or will your help system be a stand-alone system (e.g. knowledge base)? Who will be writing the documentation? Will your documentation be a collaborative effort among the engineers developing the product? Or will one expert (e.g. technical writer startup CEO ) be writing all the documentation? Also will there be editorial workflows and reviews? Some documentation tools offer workflow design features whereas many don (so youll have to design these manually outside the tool). What the budget for publishing documentation? This will determine the amount ofplexity and vendor handholding that youll get. For example many aeronauticalpanies shell out for big XML publishing systemsplete with post-sales support (these cost many thousands of dollars) while many software startups use free open source documentation tools (e.g. a static site generator like Jekyll) that require technical skills and manual configuration on the part of the customer. These are the three main considerations to keep in mind when looking for a documentation tool for your situation. When choosing a tool keep the risks in mind as well e.g. consider scenarios where the vendor discontinues support for a tool as well as what may happen if the lone writer leaves thepany. Once youve selected a tool youll need to make your documentation processes efficient. This means investing in the skills necessary to make your project a success such as learning how to get the best from the chosen tool improving technical writing skills and so on.
What tools do you use for technical documentation?
I can say there are literally hundreds of tools out there that will help you build end user documentation efficiently. On DocToolHub s an index ofmercial and open source technical documentation tools weve listed 364 tools so far (and counting). To understand which tool will offer the most efficiency for you in terms of lowest cost per page to produce and highest benefits for end users you will first need to look at your own situation and then narrow down the choices available What of product are you documenting? If it online is it a SaaS product desktop or mobile application etc.? Youll need to choose a tool that outputs formats (e.g. HTML PDF JavaHelp ) that your product can deliver as part of its help system. Also can you integrate the help in a con-sensitive way in terms of what the user is doing at that moment (e.g. explanatory that appears on hover)? Or will your help system be a stand-alone system (e.g. knowledge base)? Who will be writing the documentation? Will your documentation be a collaborative effort among the engineers developing the product? Or will one expert (e.g. technical writer startup CEO ) be writing all the documentation? Also will there be editorial workflows and reviews? Some documentation tools offer workflow design features whereas many don (so youll have to design these manually outside the tool). What the budget for publishing documentation? This will determine the amount ofplexity and vendor handholding that youll get. For example many aeronauticalpanies shell out for big XML publishing systemsplete with post-sales support (these cost many thousands of dollars) while many software startups use free open source documentation tools (e.g. a static site generator like Jekyll) that require technical skills and manual configuration on the part of the customer. These are the three main considerations to keep in mind when looking for a documentation tool for your situation. When choosing a tool keep the risks in mind as well e.g. consider scenarios where the vendor discontinues support for a tool as well as what may happen if the lone writer leaves thepany. Once youve selected a tool youll need to make your documentation processes efficient. This means investing in the skills necessary to make your project a success such as learning how to get the best from the chosen tool improving technical writing skills and so on.