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Archived Author Help > markdown for writing fiction

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message 1: by Alex (last edited Jun 06, 2016 09:46AM) (new)

Alex (asato) i've been using openoffice, which works fine, but i'm thinking of trying markdown b/c i don't want to be locked into a specific file format plus plain text would make diffing a lot easier.

i just downloaded a book, Markdown for Writers (on Smashwords) (Markdown for Writers). the book states that nanomiwro writers have been using it.

it looks pretty promising. the storage format is plain text which means i'm not locked into a specific editor and you can diff it using a typical source control system (git, for example). they have free editors that export to html, rtf, epub, .mobi. you can split it into different files for ease of collaboration, modularity, more discrete source control, and even scripting. it's used widely in the open source software community (like github).

has anyone tried markdown and any editors like iA Writer?


message 2: by Missy (new)

Missy Sheldrake (missysheldrake) | 252 comments I haven't tried Markdown, but I'm an avid and happy user of Scrivener. You might want to check it out. It's a text based program with a lot of great organizational features. You can compile your manuscript to a variety of different file formats, and break down each chapter into folders and scenes. There's a bit of a learning curve, but it's well worth it!


message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments Another vote for Scrivener. I don't use the compile feature because I hand-code my own ePubs, but it's great for everything else.


message 4: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Another Scivener fan here. I haven't used the compile feature either, not sure if I will, as I also have so far built my own html files.

That said, the main functions of Scrivener I've found to be intuitive, and very useful/powerful. It's made organizing my haphazard research, notes, timelines, and random ideas easy and rapidly accessable.

Great tool all 'round.


message 5: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) Micha, how useful would this be for someone to use editing a work they've never seen before? Thanks


message 6: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Milos | 2 comments Morris wrote: "Micha, how useful would this be for someone to use editing a work they've never seen before? Thanks"

A while back I asked other writers on my twitter page what they used. Scrivener came up a lot, but to edit they often exported using word's track changes features. You may also export as pdf and edit using DC pro but that functionality is a little clunky

I tried Scrivener and can see the benefits but there was too much going on for me. I'm a minimalist when it comes to my work and use MS Word.


message 7: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Morris wrote: "Micha, how useful would this be for someone to use editing a work they've never seen before? Thanks"

I don't know but I once had an editor who relied on words to edit. Never again. I can understand an author using it to help minimize the mistakes, but any program used to edit contents unknown by the user is bound to fail. Personally, I wouldn't trust the editor who does that when I could do it myself for free. :/


message 8: by Micah (last edited Jun 09, 2016 07:00PM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Morris wrote: "Micha, how useful would this be for someone to use editing a work they've never seen before? Thanks"

I don't think Scrivener would give much lift TO an editor, although it can be used by an author upon receiving an edited version back in something like Word with Track Changes on.

It is easy to add notes and such in Scrivener. It's easy to turn sections of text into their own document, and then move that section around. But I'm not sure about tracking changes. And it would only really make sense to use it when both the editor and author are using it.

Here's an article about how one author uses Scrivener in the editing process ... sending a Word doc, getting back a Word doc with Track Changes. But if you look at the end of Section 3 where it talks about Snapshots, there's some interesting stuff about its Snapshot feature: http://www.jamierubin.net/2012/10/26/...


message 9: by Chuck (last edited Aug 14, 2016 08:16AM) (new)

Chuck | 10 comments I've used Markdown to convert old, public domain texts from PDF scanned images to EPUB, and I wrote my second book in Markdown on Leanpub. I like Markdown better because

1. It can be converted to many other formats via Pandoc or other software.
2. It is less intrusive and easier to read than HTML.
3. It's easier to remember the formatting codes because most EPUB readers are limited to very basic formatting: bold, italic, headers, and some support lists, images, links, and that's it.


message 10: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Thx, Chuck! I haven't gotten to trying markdown yet, but I'm going to use sublime on OS X as the editor b/c a programmer at work used it for JavaScript programming. Have you tried splitting into multiple files like chapters?


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