Software, Writing, and Trailers

I’m going to ad a bit of software first. That’s not a typo, it’s more a deliberate misuse of a noun.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been messing about with Plume Creator, by Cyril Jacquet. Along with several other writers, I’ve been helping test out the Beta version of this software, finding bugs and providing suggestions. Plume Creator is a writing tool that offers a much more simple interface than, but has most of the attractiveness of, Scrivener or YWriter for me. Some authors, such as Ken McConnell have been using it with their current novel. With my focus on non-fiction and the Pa’adhe short stories, I’ve not been testing out the full features and interactions of Plume Creator as well as I could. What I can say, though, is that it has a lot to offer writers of any level and genre. The parts I have used, I like, and the latest version has cleared up most of my issues with it. The next version promises to remove my final gotchas.

Plume Creator has been available via Sourceforge for a while now and Cyril has just set up his website. Right now, the French version is “more correct” than the English but either way I am excited to see him finally making Plume Creator more publicly available. Downloads are available there for both Windows and Ubuntu (32-bit and 64-bit), and I know he would welcome your feedback.

If you are looking for an application that will help you organize your writing and you don’t mind working with a pretty stable Beta, I would strongly recommend you check out Plume Creator. I’m eagerly looking forward to what Cyril gives us in the next versions.

Now on to my latest Pa’adhe update. Ghost Ship is currently running around 5,000 words and is turning into one of those tales where it looks like I’ll be jumping all over the place writing this story. I started out writing the opening, moved on to some of the fallout of that opening, then jumped way forward in the story. I don’t think what I’ve got is anywhere near the middle, and it’s definitely not near the end. I’ve gone back to where I left off and moved the story forward to where I’m setting up the main story line and introducing it to the reader. In doing so, I had to make two new entries to my “encyclopaedia”. One is a character we’re meeting again from A Matter of Trust and the other is an informal guild. The person’s entry was easy enough, just a few notes to keep his character and personality straight between the two stories. I have no idea at this point how prominent this character will be in this tale.

The other entry, that of the guild, well, that’s a little different.

I’ve already mentioned two guilds in various of my stories, and I had thought they would be the only ones I needed to worry about. Then out of the blue, as I was typing story into file as fast as my fingers can move, up pops reference to another guild. I mean, where do these come from, anyway? I most assuredly did not have any intent of involving yet another guild in Pa’adhe’s world. Yet, there it is, being mentioned by various characters as if it’d been a fact of life all along. I thought I was supposed to be writing these stories?

Distracted, I had to create an entry in the encyclopaedia and flesh out this new guild so I could keep it straight, especially how it relates to the merchant’s guild already mentioned and some characteristics of its members. That was fun, and I had to get out of bed a couple times and jot down notes to be added to this entry. This is world building at its finest, I think.

Now, if I can just get the characters to let me continue telling their story, I’ll have a new short story for you readers in a couple months.

And for those of you wondering, yeah, I grew up with Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

I’ve also been working on a new map for these tales. The current one is OK as it goes, and can be seen here as my Linux box’s background. It’s a bit out of date, missing an island and a town. So I’ve been working on creating a new map that retains the existing shapes but adds more islands, and hopefully when I’m done more realistic texture. For those of you that care, this link will at least give you a map.

While I’ve not done much actual work on the trailer since I stripped it down, I have done some research on rust removal. Tonight or this weekend I’ll be pulling the wheels off the trailer and storing them in the garage a while. Propped up on some stepping-stone style cinder blocks, the frame will be more stable for me to work on removing rust and paint plus it’ll be easier to work on the areas that would otherwise have been blocked by the wheels. I’ll also be pulling the hitch off the tongue and putting that in a vessel of white vinegar for a week or so. That should clean off all the old paint and rust, leaving it nice and cleaned up. Then I can paint the parts I need to and oil the working mechanism without wrestling with all the curves and the cup where the ball fits and the small parts. In the meantime, while that’s soaking, I’ll be taking my wire wheels and brushes to the frame.

I also went over the pictures at Paleotool’s Vardo build site with my dad after he asked me just what I was building and how I was going to do it. We’d been talking about sheet metal to protect the bottom of the wood parts of the Vardo and it was easier to show him than tell him. I had a blast going over the various pictures, discussing wood thicknesses and changes I had in mind for my Vardo. Right now, it’s a little more fleshed out than it had been and my dad had some great suggestions based on the trailer in my previous blog post. His words: “Between that website and your ideas, that’s going to be one great little trailer.” Words I’m going to have to try to live up to now!

This Vardo was a work in progress even before building actually started. I’ve been thinking and researching for two years. All the plans, ideas, details, and modifications are in my head, constantly shifting and evolving. While I can see the final product, I have no idea the details of what it’s going to look like. As mentioned, I’ll be using the pictures at Paleotool’s site and others for framing, placement, general measurement ideas. The actual measurements of where things are and wood sizes, such as for the studs and siding for the sides, will be determined on the fly. My trailer’s general measurements are close to those of Paleotool’s, enabling me to have a plan and measurements to customize from. One example of a customization is the roofing: I will be having a skylight in the middle for even more light as well as smoked plexiglass runs along the sides. These two ideas will give me a lot additional light while still providing privacy, a warmer feeling to the inside, and a more open feeling interior. Another customization is my intent to use shiplap joints. There are many advantages to this, including sealing, repairs to damaged areas, and access to wiring under the floor.

The writing never truly ends, and neither does the dreaming.

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2 Responses to “Software, Writing, and Trailers”

  1. Erin Shields Says:

    Not sure if it’s already been mentioned, but has anyone else tried Writer’s cafe ? It’s very good. Got writing tips if you want them, space to write notes and random bits of information, simple to use, free, quick to download, works on PC and Mac (I think) has a list of names you can borrow from, a guide in case you get stuck, a quick plot generator to keep the story moving onwards, a place to put storylines and more. I’ve used it before and I intend to use it for this too. I generally plan out the stories on that, but write them using the free version of celtx (which I also strongly recommend).


    • Bill Says:

      Thanks, Erin. I’m always interested in seeing what other tools are out there. I’ll be checking out Writer’s Cafe and celtx. I do most of my writing on either a Windows box or a Linux box, so I naturally gravitate towards tools that cover both platforms.


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