Writing


MellelI do a lot of writing, or more accurately, typing (although the occasional pen + paper combination does arise). Until recently – yesterday, in fact – I relied solely on the simplicity of a text editor for the bulk of my work (I’m using TextEdit right now).

A new book, however, might just change that.

My primary reason for using text editors rather than word processors is their simplicity; it’s very much a black and white world with little or no formatting. It encourages writing rather than tweaking.

This reason can also be a limitation. For a 1,000 word article I really don’t mind typing things in full, repeating headings and inserting the occasional hyperlink manually. In fact, in a strange, slightly controlling way I quite enjoy it. It’s all part of the process; part of the fun.

However, a 100,000 word non-fiction volume is quite a different proposition. There are more people involved (whether they’re co-writing or simply reviewing your work) and this brings a much greater need for organisation. Page numbers, footnotes, indexes and so on.

I spent some time yesterday looking at the various word processing options for OS X. The one that caught my eye was Mellel (Hebrew for ‘text’), an application developed by Israeli company RedleX. It has some glowing reviews, and after a short play around with it I can see why.

Quite simply, it does precisely what I need (and much, much more).

As with any new piece of software I use, I’ll give it a solid run for a week or so. I’m certainly not expecting any problems though; so far it looks great. As long as it holds up OK, the Script Frenzy should be a good way to really put it through its paces. Now, all I need is an idea.

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Script FrenzyIf you enjoy writing, chances are you’ve got at least one of those ‘novels you’ve been meaning to write for years’ tucked away somewhere deep in your brain. At least I have.

Accordingly, I jumped into last year’s NaNoWriMo (a challenge to write a 50,000 novella in only 30 days) with all the mad enthusiasm I could muster.

I lasted about a week.

The problem was not the amount of work involved (I love writing, so it never feels like a chore); simply that the rest of my life was not organised enough to handle having much of it ‘on hold’ for a month.

Script Frenzy – run by the same group of people as NaNoWriMo – sounds much more achievable. The challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to write a 20,000 word screenplay / stage play in 30 days. Sounds like fun.