Monday, March 25, 2024

One Pole At A Time and Part II of PWA and AutoCrit

First up, One Pole At A Time is available for pre-order.

This story is the closest to a stand-alone entry in the Dragons Run My World universe, so for the pre-order period, until April first, I chose to offer the e-book at $0.99 everywhere. The paperback is also included, but it’s priced at $9.99, about as low as I can price it.

The Blurb for One Pole At A Time

The pitfalls of not being prescient.

The fake lord is in Lord Vang’s prison, the rebellion is over. At the least, Tanial, Falcon Queen, believes the threat of uprisings has ended.

The Premier makes good on his promise to send rénmen with the practical knowledge building the telegraph will need, and Aedyt, self-appointed ambassador to the Consolidated States, returns from Zūzhōu City accompanying the first four of the experienced rénmen.

The rén engineer will choose a factory or two to draw wire and fabricate tools, keys and sounders for the system; the woman seeks small stature bodynoli to climb the poles and string the wires. Nimah and Tanial direct the final two to survey the telegraph’s first route, between Kongens By and Slot Minear.

The uprisings foiled in Slot Minear are not the only actions Free the Experiment takes; the surveyors find more than trees and suitable paths.

The surprise is the one that leads the way. Not only to the Queen.

One Pole At A Time is the tenth book in the Dragons Run My Life series, continuing the epic sweep of Tanial’s adventures.

Pre-order at
Amazon  Books2Read (epub3)  Paperback (Amazon)

AutoCrit and ProWritingAid Part II

Wherein we look at the interface each of these tools provide. Again, colored by my experiences and specific requirements.


Once you load a project, you have a screen like this. I’m using the desktop version of PWA.

PWA Open screen

Don’t forget, I work in Scrivener, and the whole project is loaded. The highlit entry, “12 28 Jasel Launch” is selected, so that’s the one PWA will work on. I cut it off, but in the bottom status line, the word count: 917 and the character count: 4080, are also given.
Remember I said large chunks of text bring a warning. Here it is,

PWA Large chunk warning

 The highlight “Vest Lindebalgh” has, based on the status bar, 10,041 words and 43,647 characters, which exceeds the 10,000 word suggested limit. My experience is that analysis of the text chunk proceeds, but the time grows. I haven’t done much with overlarge chunks, so I can’t say if the app crashes or otherwise fails with those larger chunks.

Back to the first figure; click Reports, center top.

Reports - first view

 These are some of the reports PWA offers. The  (…) More Reports button provides access to another sixteen reports. Some of those are included in others, and some are less frequently used, I guess, in PWA’s opinion.

All, however, are included in the Summary report, to the left of the Reports bar. Click that.


PWA Summary Report First View

 Kind of self-explanatory, yeah? This s/s is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Scroll down through it for top level readings on the main topics, and below that, details where they think it useful. Printing it will produce (in my specific case) a fifteen or sixteen page document, the top of which looks like this.

PWA Summary Overview

Scrolling down either the Summary report screen or the printed version, you may see something like this: the detail of a thing they flag as a problem.

PWA Detail of Grammar Spelling Flag

You are shown the two Grammar errors they’ve flagged and why, and then two spelling errors. I may or may not agree with the two Grammar suggestion, but the Spelling suggestions are spot on: Frea is a name not yet added to the dictionary, and “diety” is just wrong.

These are information only, go back to the full Report bar and select the “ABC Grammar” icon; the corrections can be made there. We’ll visit that later.

First, AutoCrit deserves a look. That will be next time. I'm worn out trying to get Blogger to put images where I want them.

Comments are welcome,  especially if I've been unclear or you think more information would be helpful.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Ruling, and Part I of PWA and AutoCrit

 First, it’s release day for Ruling, the ninth book in the Dragons Run My Life series.


Click the link you like to acquire a copy.

Cover image for Ruling

Buy at Amazon   Books2Read (epub3)    or Print (Amazon)

One Pole At A Time is coming along nicely, and if all goes to plan, it will be available for pre-order just after Ruling’s release, and released on April first.

AutoCrit and ProWritingAid Part I

If your not interested in the nuts and bolts of editing, feel free to clock away to whatever pursuits are important to you. Otherwise…

I almost wrote "versus" in the title and heading, but that's not really true. There are comparisons, but not in the sense of choosing one over the other. As you'll see, I use both; this may explain why I make my choices. YMMV.

These are two software attempts to ease the writer’s editing tasks, kind of taking the middle ground between the writer’s first read-thru after typing The End, and the bevy of first readers, beta readers, editors of all descriptions (and prices) that proceed the release to Amazon or to one of its competitors, or if you’re into self-inflicted pain, before you begin sending your query letters to agents for representation.

As I said last week, these are software, not a magic bullet, though for the prices they charge, you might be forgiven for thinking different. A human with a mind that remembers that a description from the beginning of your work probably still applies as you approach the climax, for example.

Let me digress to say how I do things, being fully aware that my techniques shouldn’t be applicable to any other person. This is more so you can understand where my decisions rise, and why I might complain about some things and not others. I use Scrivener as my main writing tool. Since I distribute through Amazon’s KDP for Kindle e-books and POD paperbacks, and Draft2Digital for the wide world of epub3 compatible reading device e-books, in Scrivener I use different Front and Back Matter to differentiate the three output files. The difference between Amazon and D2D e-books is primarily the sales links allowed in each. For Print, the links are replaced by qr codes. I produce an rtf file which Nesus Writer Pro then tweaks before creating a pdf file to go to the Zon.

PWA accepts as input my Scrivener project, as is. With multiple trials, Scrivener has never failed to open the file that PWA produces, and the changes are accurately reflected. There are interesting anomalies in PWA’s display of text, but they don’t affect the final version.

AC accepts rtf files (and a couple others: [MS Word(.docx), rich text (.rtf) or plain text (.txt)]), but I’ve not tried any but the rtf, since it’s already in my work flow.

Here I’ll say a word about versions. I’m sure you have a way to keep track of where you are, so I won’t tell you it’s important that you do. But because (unlike PWA) I can’t easily bring the AC output file back into Scrivener, when I make a change to the text in AC’s editor, I have to make the same change in my Scrivener source file. It’s a pain, but okay. Keep track of the files you use for anything, especially in the case where the file is an off-shoot.

I said last week that they both work on chunks of your manuscript, rather than the whole thing. I need to recant a little.

PWA might work on the whole of a 50-150k-word ms, but it provides a dire warning message for any document bigger than about 10k-words. You’ll find it faster, it says, to analyze smaller sections of the document. As result, I haven’t tried to run over the whole of one of my books.

AC, on the other hand, won’t analyze a slab of text more than 20k-words. Less than that and for the Story Analysis and Fiction Analysis functions, the piece is considered a short story. I’ve done little with short fiction, and have no gleaming insights. 

For files of book length⁠—I’ve used between 70 and 100 k-words⁠—for the Story Analysis and Fiction Analysis tools, the work must be chapterized. What that means to me as a user: I have to check that I have breaks in the text (which I do, that’s not an issue), that the breaks are called “Chapter” (this was a minor aggravation, requiring me to change my source file, more later) and then check each of them is less than the limit (this required me to add three or four pseudo-chapters (named Chapter thus and so, of course) that I then had to remember to remove at the end of the exercise.

Their help video points out that you don’t have to have chapters in the text, and if you do but they’re not named “Chapter”, that’s okay, because you can go through the ms, either finding what you did call your chapters (you did call them something, right?) or just blocking it off in 5-10 k-word chunks. Like I said, I decided it was less effort to fork the source file and make one special for the AC experience.

Turns out that’s necessary but not sufficient. I still had to take my chapterized ms and after inputting it, tell AutoCrit that there are chapters and they are called chapter, so it can find them. That’s done by clicking a button called Find Chapters (I think; I don’t have it open right now) and it does that, lickety-split. You’ll get a warning if one or more chunks exceed the limit; you have to go back and add chapters, or exercise the procedure I mentioned just above.

That’s what I was thinking of when I made my blanket statement. For the Story Analysis and Fiction Analysis tools, the chapterization is required.

However, all the other checks are done on the complete ms. This is good and bad.

Part II - the information and displays provided by the software comes next. It takes several screenshots to convey, so, shortly.

Comments always welcome, especially if I’ve been unclear (as if!).

Monday, March 11, 2024

And Now It's Over

Big thanks to everyone who downloaded one of my books during the sale at Smashwords last week.

Some 230 books out the door!

Hopefully everyone enjoys what they got, even if it was someone else's work. Reviews are welcome!

Leave a comment if you wish.

Not What I Promised

Rather than write a post about ProWritingAid and AutoCrit and their differences and similarities, I spent the time using them both to revise One Pole At A Time, the book due for release on April first.

One top-level comment: both of these tools work primarily on chunks of your manuscript rather than the whole thing at once. You will need a human editor or reader to detect problems in the overall story.

It's not what I hoped for; I'll continue to work on the comparison and publish it as soon as I can, likely in pieces.

I hope your days and weeks are going well as the seasons move along. Comments welcome, as always.

Monday, March 4, 2024

A Couple Things for a Monday

 First, Happy Read an Ebook Week! 

To help you find a book to celebrate, you can find my entire collection FREE at @Smashwords from March 3-9. Find my books and many more at #ebookweek24 #Smashwords Both series starters and anything in between, though series enders have not yet been published. Sorry, not sorry!

Second, Today, at Amazon and wide,

We Are Not That Girl is available.

Buy it at Amazon    Books2Read (epub3)     Paperback (Amazon)

As mentioned above, at Smashwords, it’s free until March 9 in their Read an Ebook promotion, so go and check it out.

Next, the ninth book of Dragons Run My Life, Ruling, will go up for preorder by Friday the 9th and will release on Monday March 18th, as promised earlier. Links for that will be available by Friday.

The last of the books I have ready, One Pole At A Time, will be available for preorder by March 22, and then released on April first.

Speaking of being ready, two Rebecca Jamse Thrillers books, Hacked! and The Girl In The Bag, will follow One Pole in April. Hacked! on April 15 (at least it’s not Tax Day here in Massachusetts), and then one week later for the Girl In The Bag.

I’m reading with dismay and uncomfortable voyeuristic interest about the conflict in Israel, and I’ve about decided before I can release Girl In The Bag, I’ll have to rewrite the couple of scenes set in June, 2024 which take place in Tel Aviv and traveling to Syria via Lebanon. Fortunately, Beckie and Ian are on relatively good terms with the IDF.

I’ve been using both ProWritingAid and AutoCrit to prepare manuscripts for release. Next week, I’ll share some thoughts about both of them, reflecting the way I use them. I hope it will have some utility to you, but, maybe, maybe not. Or as they used to say, YMMV.

Comments welcome.