Monday, 18 May 2009

FlashWRITER - Splash!

13 Days until Beta Launch ...

The FlashWRITER code is largely complete for v1. I did get distracted and added in some additional functionality that I was planning to do in the next version. In addition BT reminded me that any real program has a splash screen - so I had to figure out how do to that (it's not hard, you can even make them transparent if you wish).

The new additions are:
  • Numbered lists;
  • Subscript and superscript;
  • New bullet types; and
  • Custom title block by publisher.
I discovered the need for the last item when I used FlashWRITER for the first time in anger. I wrote a quick 100 words of microfiction and used FlashWRITER for the entire process, which went something like:
  1. Loaded the FLASHSHOT publisher template (which I had earlier created). The template sets up the target word length, preferred publisher fonts, email details etc. and then inserted a title block.
  2. Wrote the 100 words - using the word count feature to keep track; and
  3. Sent a submission email to the publisher with the story attached in the publisher preferred format (RTF in this case). Each publisher wants something special in the subject line and body - FlashWRITER remembers this and includes a simple email application to send your piece to publishers.
I have a default title block which is based on the "recommended" manuscript layout, however the first publisher I try this on requires something unique, so I stopped writing the story and whipped up the code to handle custom title blocks per publisher. I have a feeling that I will find more of this stuff as I try using it in the real world.

The title block for FLASHSHOT looks like this:

By David Such

BIO: <in third person, 2 or 3 brief sentences to publicise your other work, give your background, comment on the story, or whatever you wish>.

The two remaining features to write are iterative backups and writing history. Apart from that I will be fixing up some known bugs and writing a few short stories to alpha test it. Still looking good for an end of May Beta launch to selected testers. If you are interested stick your hand up or better still leave a comment. The people's free writing software needs you!

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