annathepiper: (Ein Minuten Bitte)
[personal profile] annathepiper

And now, part 2 of my review of Write!, the text editor. In part 1, I talked about my initial impressions of its pricing and subscription model, its treatment of saving to a cloud vs. saving locally, and functionality I was able to learn about on the first couple of menus.

In this post, I’ll talk about the functionality on the Edit and Format menus, as well as the overall look of the thing and the experience of writing in it.

Yep, that sure is an Edit menu

I see pretty standard functionality available on the Edit menu: Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Copy As (with a few different options as to how you can copy into the window you’re working on), and Find.

(Additionally, since I’m looking at the Mac build, there are also the Start Dictation and Emoji & Symbols options that I see at the bottom of Edit menus on other programs on my Mac. But as those as not specific to this program, I won’t talk about them here.)

The Format menu

Show Context Menu

This brings up a bunch of things that I’d expect to find on toolbars in other programs, and is essentially a glorified toolbar here, even if it’s in multi-tabbed menu format.

I’d be a little annoyed by this, as having to go to the menu seems like a redundant way to get at this functionality, except that I also just discovered I can get to the same stuff by right-clicking anywhere within my edit window. In which case I kinda wonder why there’s a whole menu command to get to this, which, again, feels redundant. But I guess not so much if you’re not used to right-clicking to get to stuff.

Bold, Light, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough, Upper Case, Lower Case

All of these menu options do what I’d expect them to, though I’m a little surprised by “Light”, as this is an option I haven’t seen in word processors or text editors before. It basically appears to be functioning as an opposite of Bold. Except that if you want to un-bold text you can toggle it in every single program I’ve ever dealt with, so I’m not exactly sure why a separate format needed to be here. If I try to bold an entire phrase and then choose “Light” on a word within that phrase, it does the exact same thing as just de-bolding that word.

I do like being able to automatically upper-case or lower-case text, though.

I’m not entirely pleased with all these formatting options being their very own menu items, though, particularly given that they’re all duplicated on the aforementioned Context menu. So there’s another layer of redundancy here, all of which I think would have been entirely fine to eliminate completely with a simple toolbar.

On the other hand, if you have the formatting options on the menu, you can also show the keyboard shortcuts, which is useful, so there’s that. Things like command-B and command-I might be second nature to me (or any other writer who’s been working for a while on a Mac), but I’m not everybody, and it’s important for me to keep that in mind.

Though okay, I just figured out why this menu/context bar bugs me. I’d like to be able to have that context menu floating over on the side so I wouldn’t have to keep bringing it up and dismissing it if I want to reformat text. Or, I’d like these options on a toolbar. This editor is billing itself as a “distraction-free” text editor, but it’s distracting to me to have to keep bringing the context menu up and dismissing it again. I’d be bugged by this less if it were on a mobile device where screen real estate is more important, but I’m on my laptop screen and not lacking for visual space.

Headers and Paragraphs

This is another formatting option that is duplicated on the context menu, and basically covers a small assortment of styles you can apply to text: headings, code, quote, etc. Not too huge a style set, but on the other hand, this is calling itself a text editor, not a word processor. I wouldn’t expect a text editor to get nearly as complicated with its styles as an outright word processor would, so that’s fine.

Alignment

Left, Right, Center, Justify, and Reset, some basic alignment options for whatever paragraph you’re currently in/selected, and it does appear to work on a paragraph basis. Which is about what I’d expect.

I am, however, a bit surprised that these options are not duplicated on the context menu. This is a bit of inconsistency of behavior, which I almost find a bit more irritating than the aforementioned redundancy.

Lists

Bullet, Numeric, and Alphabetic lists styles, including a “Switch” option that apparently just cycles through the three. Not something I feel I’d particularly need when using a text editor for writing.

But, if you’re using this thing as a client to write a post for Medium or some other blogging platform, basic lists could be useful. I use lists in my posts all the time.

Highlight

Behaves mostly like I’d expect, highlighting a word if I’ve already selected it, or turning on highlighting for whatever I’m about to type next if something isn’t already selected.

However, highlighting apparently does not toggle like Bold or Italic. If I have a word highlighted, and then select the Highlight command off the menu again, or use the keyboard shortcut, it doesn’t remove that highlight.

If I want to remove the highlight, I actually have to go onto the context menu and get at the “Clear Formatting” command on the first tab, or the “Clear Highlight” command on the Highlight tab. Easy enough to find but slightly irritating that I had to go looking for it.

Edit Hyperlink

Okay, I get the intention here: add a hyperlink to text. However, I take issue with the implementation, on the following grounds:

One, “Edit Hyperlink” implies there’s already a hyperlink there to edit, which is not the case if what you want to do is actually add a new one.

Two, if you select some text and then select “Edit Hyperlink”, what actually happens is that the context menu pops up, and the “Hyperlink” command on it is replaced by a text box where you’re supposed to enter the hyperlink you want.

And I’m sorry, but the entire notion of splicing a text entry box into a context menu just makes me go NO. Even if it does appear to work and (presumably) saves the effort of coding a separate dialog box to keep track of that setting. I don’t care. It’s still annoying.

So if editing and formatting annoy me, is it at least nice to write in?

Here’s something good I can say about this program: with sidebars and things turned off, whittling it down to just the basic program window itself, I do actually like the aesthetic look of it. It’s clean. It’s simple. It certainly is nicer to look at than TextEdit.

I am not really a fan of its default sans serif font, and there appears to be no way to change it. Nowhere in the program do I see any sign of ability to change what fonts it uses.

But at least visually, that’s the only nitpick I’ve got with it.

Typing-wise, I’m finding it distracting that it doesn’t auto-indent paragraphs for me like Scrivener does. But I can’t hold that against it, because again, text editor, not word processor. TextEdit doesn’t auto-indent so I wouldn’t expect Write! to do so either.

And here’s a thing I do kind of like. Here’s a screenshot of what the window looks like to me:

The Write! Window

The Write! Window

That little gray square over on the right is a navigation bar, which you can use to get a thumbnail view of where you are in the document, and do a fast scroll up and down. I can confirm, now that I’ve typed enough into the test window to get enough text to scroll, that that does work. I also note that if you don’t happen to like that feature, you can turn it off. (More on this in the next post.)

And OH HEY SURPRISE: down in the left bottom corner, that “1 174” down there? Turns out that’s a word count feature that has no access on the menu whatsoever, so I stumbled across that entirely by accident. More on this in another post, too; I like some of what I see there, but some of it seems buggy as well. The lack of an obvious word count was one of the things I was going to say I didn’t like about the program, but since there is in fact word count functionality here, that’s a distinct advantage over, say, TextEdit.

For now, though, that’s enough for this post. More to come in part 3!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Aubrey Orly?)
[personal profile] annathepiper

This week I got email from a gentleman telling me he’s a community manager for a piece of software called Write!, which he talked up to me as a distraction-free text editor. He said he was looking for writers and/or bloggers to review the program or at least mention it on their websites, and offered a free license to try the program out.

Now, as y’all know I’m a big fan of Scrivener, which will continue to be my go-to tool for dealing with larger projects. On the other hand, if I want to write something short (say, the extremely rare short story), I sometimes feel that Scrivener’s actually a bit too complex a tool for that. Sometimes I just want to whip something out in a text editor and not have to worry about a lot of bells and whistles.

And hey, since the guy was offering a free license, I took him up on the offer. So here’s a post reviewing Write!, possibly the first of a few, just because I’m going to do this right and go over it in depth just to see what I’m dealing with here.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Book versions vs. movie versions

Sep. 11th, 2017 01:35 pm
annathepiper: (Path of Wisdom)
[personal profile] annathepiper

I’m not terribly active on my Pinterest account; most of the activity I have there is my sister forwarding me stuff and asking my opinion on it. (Part of why I’m not more active there is, in fact, that Pinterest has made a lot of its systems frickin’ unusable, and there’s only so much patience I have for that. But that’s a topic for another post.) One of the items she sent me this past weekend was this one.

And, given that I had a reaction to this that I don’t think my sister entirely expected, I thought it might be useful to write out my thoughts in blog form.

Overall, I have an issue with what this screencap implies. Which is to say, not only is it coming across with the theme of “the book version of a story is inherently superior to the movie version of a story”, it’s got a side helping of snarking at the fans of the movie version. My sister didn’t parse it that way, but I did, and this is why: because in each of the shown examples, the book fan is responding to the movie fan by asking if they like a character who only appears in the books.

And if the movie fan hasn’t read the books, they have no possible way to answer that question.

Now, if you assume that the hypothetical book fan and the hypothetical movie fan have not specified which version of the story they’re talking about, then okay, I’m fine with the conversations as portrayed. But the way they came across to me, particularly given the “see, this is why we read the books as well as watch the movies” responses in the screencap, is that the assumption is that the book fan knows that the movie fan is talking about the movie(s), and not the book(s).

In which case, if:

  1. You’re the fan of a book version of a story,
  2. You see a movie fan exulting that they like the movie version of a story,
  3. You know they’re talking about the movie version, and
  4. You ask them what they think of a character who appears only in the books…

…then all due respect, but at least to me, you’re coming across pretty snotty there. And that’s exactly how it read to me in the conversational examples between Movie Fans and Book Fans.

And I have a couple problems with this.

One, as I’ve written before, I highly dislike anything that goes in a direction of “you’re enjoying this thing wrong because you’re not enjoying it the same way I am.” This is true for SF/F vs. romance, Mac vs. PC, Windows vs. Linux, Coke vs. Pepsi, Classic Doctor Who vs. New Doctor Who, or whatever. So I am not on board with giving movie fans shit for preferring the movie version of a story over the book version, particularly if the movie fans haven’t even had a chance to check out the book version yet.

Two, I have issues in general with the automatic assumption that the book version of a story is inherently superior to the movie version.

Okay yeah sure, I get that “the book version is the original and tells the story the way the author intended” as a powerful motivator here. I mean, yo, I’m a devoted reader and a writer, so believe me, I get that. Books are powerful. Books are personal, and a good book makes you develop a strong bond to it.

I also get that movie/TV adaptations of a beloved book or book series can often suck. Ursula K. LeGuin comes to mind here, as to date, I am aware of at least two lackluster attempts to do something with the Earthsea books. And certainly, a lot of folks swear up and down that they hate the Hobbit movies, and would therefore use them as an example of this too.

(I am not one of those people; as I’ve said before, while I find the Hobbit movies flawed in certain critical respects, I will forgive them a lot of sins just on the grounds that they made the dwarves living, breathing characters and gave them a culture, which the book just does not do. And I say that as a diehard, lifelong Tolkien fan. But, I digress!)

But to automatically dismiss any movie version of a story as inferior to the book(s) is rather unfair to the movies. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s vital to keep in mind that what works on the page may not work on the screen. There are different creative choices that have to be made for the movie version of a story than for the book. To go back to Tolkien, but this time with The Lord of the Rings, there are certain choices the movies make that I infinitely prefer over the books. Though for me, the LotR movies stand shoulder to shoulder with the books for how much enjoyment I get out of them.

And to use an example in the screenshot I’m linking off to, there are definitely movie versions of stories that I prefer over the books. Multiple Harry Potter books fall into this category. The movie version of Prisoner of Azkaban is excellent, and Order of the Phoenix is more fun to me in movie form than it is in book form. In no small part, this is due to my relative lack of patience for emo teenaged Harry in the later books–there’s only so much of his emoting in all caps I can deal with!

The best movie versions of stories for me, too, have a big thing I can’t get in the books: music. Howard Shore’s masterful score for the Tolkien movies is of course the shining example here, but let’s not forget John Williams being the guy who gave us the main Harry Potter themes, either.

And to pull in another of my big guns for book version vs. movie version–let’s talk Master and Commander, shall we? Even aside from my documented history as a Russell Crowe fangirl, getting to see and hear Jack and Stephen play their instruments together, and to hear the wonderful soundtrack that goes along with the film, is a huge, huge part of why I get more enjoyment out of re-watching the movie than I often do trying to continue through the series–which I still haven’t finished. I love Jack and Stephen as characters immensely, but Patrick O’Brian’s propensity for telling the reader about a dozen different kinds of sails, not so much. ;D

One more example, from a story that’s generally universally snarked on even though a whole helluva lot of people have in fact read it: The DaVinci Code. I’ve read the book and seen the movie, since the latter was an office morale event, so I got to see it for free. And I’ll say straight up that while neither version of the story could legitimately be called good, the film ultimately was more enjoyable to me.

Three, even aside from the relative merits of a book version of a story vs. the movie version, there’s also the question of whether a given fan is even able to enjoy the book version of a story. Maybe that movie fan is dyslexic or sight-impaired, and the book may not exist in a form they’re able to enjoy (e.g., audiobook, e.g., ebook that can be read aloud to them via the right tech). Maybe they only got to see the movies because they aired on their local TV station, or because they got to see them on a school field trip or as part of a morale event for their workplace (both of which I have been fortunate enough to experience during my time), and they don’t yet have enough pocket money to pick up copies of the books. Maybe they don’t live near a good library or good bookstore. Maybe they don’t even know that there is a book version yet.

The overall point here being, there are any number of reasons why a fan of a thing may so far only be a fan of the movie version, and not of the book version. And IMO, this doesn’t mean the movie fan is doing it wrong.

If I’d been involved in any of the conversations in that screencap, this is what I’d have said:

“Ooh, I love them too! How do you know the story, via the movies or via the books? You haven’t read the books yet? Do you want to? LET ME HELP YOU OUT WITH THIS. Go! Go read! And then come back to me so that we may squee about this awesome story together, won’t you?”

Because yeah, life’s too short IMO to be overly concerned with what version a fan is using to engage with a story. Rather, I’ll try to look for how to share fannish joy about the story with another person, no matter how they’ve come to know it.

Because stories, like everything else in the world, need all the joy they can get.

(And hey Becky, if you’re reading this, thank you for giving me an opportunity to think! And to post!)

ETA: Typo correction. Changed ‘pocket movie’ to ‘pocket money’.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

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