It took a while–holidays, illness, and stuff–but I just finished a read and edit pass through chapter 10. Things are looking good, so far. Off to write chapter 11.
As an artist, it can be tempting, ‘safe’ even, to spend all your time on your own art. But if all you do is focus on your stuff, it can be difficult to find new inspiration, or to think in new ways, or to see something from a different perspective (which can apply to your life in general, not just to your art). Doing that, you can fall into the trap of repeating yourself, or of become boring, both terrible places to find yourself. One of the things I do to try to avoid that, as a writer, is to read various magazines (printed and online), and to occasionally pull a favorite book (or books) off my shelves and read it (them) again. I am a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy and have over a hundred books I’ve purchased over the years by authors like Asimov to Zelazny and so many others in between. Having written a few books and sat in on writing groups, I am much more conscious of the technical aspects of a book as I read it, though I am still able to enjoy them. Now, however, I am more able to appreciate a nice turn of phrase, or jot down synonyms that don’t always occur to me as I write, for handy reference later. Taking in these different ways of painting a scene, of describing emotion, or action, or what-have-you, reminds me anew of those different ways of accomplishing something. Having great examples helps me come up with my own recipes on how to mix things up, so to speak.
So I guess my advice here is to take the time to look at other art similar to your own to find various kinds of inspiration on how to make yours better.
So, Calc has a nifty option (which may not be unique) that auto-sizes the height of a row (up OR down) to fit the cell in that row that has the most text. For text in a scene description cell or in a scene notes cell, I just type away (I enabled text auto-wrap), hit Enter when done, and Calc takes care of adjusting the row height for me. Having all cells fully visible (with no effort on my part) is great because I want to read every cell at a glance without having to go into the big text cells to expand them. And auto-height ALMOST works perfectly.
There is another option that Calc has, a zoom factor. I recently upgraded my computer monitor because my old one (the thing was eight years old) was taking longer and longer to turn on (it was taking 12 minutes to fully turn on and display anything when I finally broke down and ordered a new one). Anyway, the new monitor is a 2k monitor, that is it displays 2560 by 1440 pixels. It starts right up as it should and has a fantastic amount of screen space. Text on everything, though, is a bit smaller due to the smaller pixel size (Larger resolution with about the same screen size means that the pixels are smaller, and that means everything appears smaller, though it also means more things fit on the screen). That being the case, in Calc I clicked on the zoom adjustment thingy, set it to 105% and . . . rows were no longer adjusting to the correct heights. The height was a little bit off, which cut part of the text in the fullest cells. I asked my trusty friend Google about it and tried all the things I found. Some SEEMED to work, but as soon as I sorted, rows were again not adjusting to the correct heights. It seems that Calc’s auto-height function breaks if zoom is larger than 100%. It might also break if zoom is less than 100, but I’m too lazy to test.
So, how did I get around this annoying bug? I set the zoom back to 100%, selected the entire document, increased the font size, and then modified the Default text format to have the same font size so that newly entered text would also have that font size. Still, aside from this bug, I really like OpenOffice. It’s a fantastic alternative to, and a lot cheaper than, the big productivity suite, particularly for people who are on very tight budgets.
A friend posted a link on Facebook today to an article, and I found it quite interesting. It’s purportedly an essay written by H.P. Lovecraft concerning his ‘method’ for writing. I thought some of you might enjoy it, too.