Book-writing with Writer

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Pablo Dotro Pablo Dotro
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Book-writing with Writer

Greetings!

I am beginning a large writing project, that will most probably take the
form of a self published, free ebook. And while I have created very
long, complex documents before, I have never formatted them as a book.
Having been using word processing software for a living for the last 15
years or so, I thought myself as "power user" enough to take the next
step and try to create my document relying on Writer's features and not
depending on someone else to typeset the material.
However, after reading both the "Getting Started" and the "Writer
Guide", I am convinced that it is possible. Heh, the mere existance of
those books is proof enough ;-) But I find that there is a gap between
the techniques described there for working with templates, styles and
master documents... and the actual craft needed to make them work. A
quick look to the odt files themselves convinced me of that.
So after some googling and a disappointint amazon search on books on
this subject, I come here to rely on our collective knowledge, with a
question:

Does anyone know about a tutorial, book or website where I can
specifically learn about creating a book-lenght document, with chapters
(as subdocuments) and a master document, consistent styling, indexing
and table of contents with Libreoffice?

Thnk you very much for your time, and best regards,

--
Pablo M. Dotro
[hidden email]    [hidden email]
[hidden email] Twitter: @Pablo_El_Mago
http://www.blog.elysium.com.ar


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Nagy Ákos-6 Nagy Ákos-6
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

Hi,

I know this book:
http://www.openoffice.org/documentation/whitepapers/Creating_large_documents_with_OOo.odt
It's an old book, and is writed for OpenOffice, but the most important
part is the same, and you can reuse in LibreOffice.

I know an another book for you, but it's exists only in Hungarian:
http://numbertext.org/libreoffice/libreoffice.pdf
is a hybrid PDF, the PDF file contains the source of the book in ODT
format. Probably you don't understand it, but can see come stuff that
can do with LibreOffice and Graphite technology.

2013.07.08. 7:34 keltezéssel, Pablo Dotro írta:

> Greetings!
>
> I am beginning a large writing project, that will most probably take
> the form of a self published, free ebook. And while I have created
> very long, complex documents before, I have never formatted them as a
> book.
> Having been using word processing software for a living for the last
> 15 years or so, I thought myself as "power user" enough to take the
> next step and try to create my document relying on Writer's features
> and not depending on someone else to typeset the material.
> However, after reading both the "Getting Started" and the "Writer
> Guide", I am convinced that it is possible. Heh, the mere existance of
> those books is proof enough ;-) But I find that there is a gap between
> the techniques described there for working with templates, styles and
> master documents... and the actual craft needed to make them work. A
> quick look to the odt files themselves convinced me of that.
> So after some googling and a disappointint amazon search on books on
> this subject, I come here to rely on our collective knowledge, with a
> question:
>
> Does anyone know about a tutorial, book or website where I can
> specifically learn about creating a book-lenght document, with
> chapters (as subdocuments) and a master document, consistent styling,
> indexing and table of contents with Libreoffice?
>
> Thnk you very much for your time, and best regards,
>


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marcgrober marcgrober
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

I have seen quote a bit of argument against using a master document for
a book as I was exploring this subject just recently as well.  The help
docs of course are a good place to start.
https://help.libreoffice.org/Writer/Master_Documents_and_Subdocuments

There are a number of different tools for moving from LO to epub.  There
is the new eLAIX extension, Writer2epub, and you can also export as
docxml and then use pandoc which will create epub3 docs for you. I used
to use eScape but that is no longer supported, though it still works.
The folk at infogridpacific looked like they were going to move it to an
online service but it looks like that project was killed and that they
are concentrating on their Digital publisher solution.

On 7/8/13 5:44 AM, Nagy Ákos wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I know this book:
> http://www.openoffice.org/documentation/whitepapers/Creating_large_documents_with_OOo.odt
>
> It's an old book, and is writed for OpenOffice, but the most important
> part is the same, and you can reuse in LibreOffice.
>
> I know an another book for you, but it's exists only in Hungarian:
> http://numbertext.org/libreoffice/libreoffice.pdf
> is a hybrid PDF, the PDF file contains the source of the book in ODT
> format. Probably you don't understand it, but can see come stuff that
> can do with LibreOffice and Graphite technology.
>
> 2013.07.08. 7:34 keltezéssel, Pablo Dotro írta:
>> Greetings!
>>
>> I am beginning a large writing project, that will most probably take
>> the form of a self published, free ebook. And while I have created
>> very long, complex documents before, I have never formatted them as a
>> book.
>> Having been using word processing software for a living for the last
>> 15 years or so, I thought myself as "power user" enough to take the
>> next step and try to create my document relying on Writer's features
>> and not depending on someone else to typeset the material.
>> However, after reading both the "Getting Started" and the "Writer
>> Guide", I am convinced that it is possible. Heh, the mere existance
>> of those books is proof enough ;-) But I find that there is a gap
>> between the techniques described there for working with templates,
>> styles and master documents... and the actual craft needed to make
>> them work. A quick look to the odt files themselves convinced me of
>> that.
>> So after some googling and a disappointint amazon search on books on
>> this subject, I come here to rely on our collective knowledge, with a
>> question:
>>
>> Does anyone know about a tutorial, book or website where I can
>> specifically learn about creating a book-lenght document, with
>> chapters (as subdocuments) and a master document, consistent styling,
>> indexing and table of contents with Libreoffice?
>>
>> Thnk you very much for your time, and best regards,
>>
>
>


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Virgil Arrington Virgil Arrington
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Nagy Ákos-6
I'll probably be (justifiably) ostracized for this on a LO user list, but to
me trying to write a book with LO Writer is like trying to force a square
peg into a round hole. Yes, it can be done, but the labor involved may not
be worth it. In my mind, Writer is a business application, useful for
letters, memos, legal documents, school reports, and the like. While I love
working with LO's styles (which would be essential for book writing), I find
LO's implementation of master documents to be too involved and clunky for my
taste.

For organizing a book length document, with parts, chapters, and tables,
indexes, and sub-documents, etc, I much prefer LyX and LaTeX, both of which
are free and opensource. Yes, the LaTeX learning curve can be steep, but LyX
makes it so much easier. You can type away and let the computer do the
formatting, just by selecting the Book class. Unlike the business oriented
LO, LyX and LaTeX were created specifically for making long documents such
as books. Round hole, round peg. The biggest drawback is that changing
default formatting settings can be daunting for the uninitiated. But, if you
accept the defaults, you'll still have a beautifully formatted book with
*much* less effort than you would with LO.

For example, several years ago, my 14 year old son challenged himself to
type a 50,000 word novel in November, which is National Novel Writers Month.
He met his goal, and quickly dropped the project.

As a proud papa, I wanted to put his document to paper. He wrote the
original in WordPerfect, and it was a formatting mess, with stray tabs,
carriage returns, and inconsistent formatting across chapter and section
headings. I began the task of reformatting his 127 page novel using
WordPerfect, the original program. It didn't take long for me to realize it
would take days and days to wade through all of the formatting codes
inserted by WP.

Instead, I saved the document as a plain text file, stripping all
formatting. I then loaded it into LyX. Using the Book class (think
template), I applied Part and Chapter styles, (called "environments" in
LaTeX speak) to the part and chapter titles, and then inserted a fully
formatted, numbered, and typed table of contents with a couple mouse clicks.
I set NO page formatting parameters such as page margins, page numbering,
etc., as those were handled entirely by the Book class. I then compiled the
book and had a fully formatted novel, complete with Title page, Table of
Contents, properly formatted right and left hand pages with fully formatted
headers with page numbers, etc. The entire formatting process took about a
half hour. I surprised even myself.

I could have done the same thing with LO's styles and master documents, but
they're not quite as fully automatic as LyX/LaTeX, so it would have longer.

So far, however, I've found LyX/LaTeX's support for e-books to be a little
lacking (but no more so than LO's). For storing documents in an e-book
format (whether Nook's Epub, or Kindle's MOBI), the best solution that I've
found is Atlantis (a $35.00 shareware program). It is a Word clone word
processor that supports direct export to Epub and MOBI with preservation of
nearly all formatting. Every other solution I've tried (including LO, LyX,
and Markdown editors) screws up formatting to some degree or another.
Atlantis does 90% of what I need in a word processor, with the sole
exception of tables.

In short, while I love LO, I honestly think there are better tools for the
task of book and e-book writing.

Virgil



2013.07.08. 7:34 keltezéssel, Pablo Dotro írta:

> Greetings!
>
> I am beginning a large writing project, that will most probably take the
> form of a self published, free ebook. And while I have created very long,
> complex documents before, I have never formatted them as a book.
> Having been using word processing software for a living for the last 15
> years or so, I thought myself as "power user" enough to take the next step
> and try to create my document relying on Writer's features and not
> depending on someone else to typeset the material.
> However, after reading both the "Getting Started" and the "Writer Guide",
> I am convinced that it is possible. Heh, the mere existance of those books
> is proof enough ;-) But I find that there is a gap between the techniques
> described there for working with templates, styles and master documents...
> and the actual craft needed to make them work. A quick look to the odt
> files themselves convinced me of that.
> So after some googling and a disappointint amazon search on books on this
> subject, I come here to rely on our collective knowledge, with a question:
>
> Does anyone know about a tutorial, book or website where I can
> specifically learn about creating a book-lenght document, with chapters
> (as subdocuments) and a master document, consistent styling, indexing and
> table of contents with Libreoffice?
>
> Thnk you very much for your time, and best regards,
>


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Mirosław Zalewski Mirosław Zalewski
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

On 08/07/2013 at 22:58, "Virgil Arrington" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> but to
> me trying to write a book with LO Writer is like trying to force a square
> peg into a round hole. Yes, it can be done, but the labor involved may not
> be worth it.

I think you merge two totally different ideas: writing a book and publishing a
book.

As for writing, Writer and LaTeX are pretty much comparable - they both sucks.
They do not provide basic tools needed for writers, such as character
descriptions (were her eyes blue or green?) or detailed outline of story (this
is different than outline of chapters). Of course you can overcome it with nice
note-taking app, custom wiki or organized papers, but in some other programs
you do not have to.

As for publishing (making it look beautiful), LaTeX classes and forced
separation of structure and look usually provides better defaults than Writer.
Agreed.

But then, we talk about defaults. It's not like you can't change them.
If you learn your tools and think in advance, create decent-looking long
document in Writer can be done with little hassle.

I have created and edited some long (100+ pages) documents in Writer and never
seen anything in LaTeX that would be a dealbreaker for me. If anywhere, I
would go to full-fledged DTP suite such as Adobe InDesign.
--
Best regards
Mirosław Zalewski

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Virgil Arrington Virgil Arrington
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

Miroslaw,

You're right; I did merge *writing* and *publishing*. To that end, let me
muddy the waters even more by mentioning yWriter, a software program
designed specifically and solely for writing novels with many of the tools
you suggest. The frustration that I've found is that there are some
publishing (or formatting) tasks that are best handled completely separate
from writing, such as page layout, font selection, table of contents
generation, etc. However, I find other formatting tasks are better handled
on the fly while typing, such as applying italics to a word. Sometimes, I
find seeing the paragraph layout onscreen helpful to organizing my thoughts,
which of course you won't see with a strict text editor or pure LaTeX
editor. At least LyX helps by showing some formatting onscreen.

Anytime I use a program like yWriter, I end up spending a lot of time later
applying formatting that I could have applied on the fly with a decent word
processor. That may not be a concern for a person whose work will be
published, and therefore formatted, by someone else, like a professional
publishing house. But, the original poster mentioned self-publishing an
e-book.

Virgil

-----Original Message-----
From: Mirosław Zalewski
Sent: Monday, July 08, 2013 5:51 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Book-writing with Writer

On 08/07/2013 at 22:58, "Virgil Arrington" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> but to
> me trying to write a book with LO Writer is like trying to force a square
> peg into a round hole. Yes, it can be done, but the labor involved may not
> be worth it.

I think you merge two totally different ideas: writing a book and publishing
a
book.

As for writing, Writer and LaTeX are pretty much comparable - they both
sucks.
They do not provide basic tools needed for writers, such as character
descriptions (were her eyes blue or green?) or detailed outline of story
(this
is different than outline of chapters). Of course you can overcome it with
nice
note-taking app, custom wiki or organized papers, but in some other programs
you do not have to.

As for publishing (making it look beautiful), LaTeX classes and forced
separation of structure and look usually provides better defaults than
Writer.
Agreed.

But then, we talk about defaults. It's not like you can't change them.
If you learn your tools and think in advance, create decent-looking long
document in Writer can be done with little hassle.

I have created and edited some long (100+ pages) documents in Writer and
never
seen anything in LaTeX that would be a dealbreaker for me. If anywhere, I
would go to full-fledged DTP suite such as Adobe InDesign.
--
Best regards
Mirosław Zalewski

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deleted


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Pablo Dotro Pablo Dotro
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Virgil Arrington
Hello Virgil!

On 08/07/13 17:58, Virgil Arrington wrote:
> I'll probably be (justifiably) ostracized for this on a LO user list,
> but to me trying to write a book with LO Writer is like trying to
> force a square peg into a round hole. Yes, it can be done, but the
> labor involved may not be worth it. In my mind, Writer is a business
> application, useful for letters, memos, legal documents, school
> reports, and the like. While I love working with LO's styles (which
> would be essential for book writing), I find LO's implementation of
> master documents to be too involved and clunky for my taste.
Hehehe. Don't worry, I won't ostracize you.

>
> For organizing a book length document, with parts, chapters, and
> tables, indexes, and sub-documents, etc, I much prefer LyX and LaTeX,
> both of which are free and opensource. Yes, the LaTeX learning curve
> can be steep, but LyX makes it so much easier. You can type away and
> let the computer do the formatting, just by selecting the Book class.
> Unlike the business oriented LO, LyX and LaTeX were created
> specifically for making long documents such as books. Round hole,
> round peg. The biggest drawback is that changing default formatting
> settings can be daunting for the uninitiated. But, if you accept the
> defaults, you'll still have a beautifully formatted book with *much*
> less effort than you would with LO.
>
I know... I am familiar with LaTeX and LyX. My day job is at the Physics
Deptartment at a local Univesity, and we use them a lot for reports and
papers. My problem is that I *do* want to give my document a distinctive
visual format, with nice typography and so on... and writinf a LaTeX
class or the LyX equivalent is beyond my skill level.
And since I am not that fluent with LaTeX (I've personally never wrote
anything complex with it), I wanted to use a more point-and-click
approach, to able to focus on my subject matter and not so much in
learning new tools at the same time.
Another reason is that the small printing houses around here who may be
able to do some small self publish job for me are all set up for files
in PDF or MS Word .doc format. My experience with LaTeX to Word
conversion is that the result is quite ugly.

> For example, several years ago, my 14 year old son challenged himself
> to type a 50,000 word novel in November, which is National Novel
> Writers Month. He met his goal, and quickly dropped the project.
>
> As a proud papa, I wanted to put his document to paper. He wrote the
> original in WordPerfect, and it was a formatting mess, with stray
> tabs, carriage returns, and inconsistent formatting across chapter and
> section headings. I began the task of reformatting his 127 page novel
> using WordPerfect, the original program. It didn't take long for me to
> realize it would take days and days to wade through all of the
> formatting codes inserted by WP.
>
> Instead, I saved the document as a plain text file, stripping all
> formatting. I then loaded it into LyX. Using the Book class (think
> template), I applied Part and Chapter styles, (called "environments"
> in LaTeX speak) to the part and chapter titles, and then inserted a
> fully formatted, numbered, and typed table of contents with a couple
> mouse clicks. I set NO page formatting parameters such as page
> margins, page numbering, etc., as those were handled entirely by the
> Book class. I then compiled the book and had a fully formatted novel,
> complete with Title page, Table of Contents, properly formatted right
> and left hand pages with fully formatted headers with page numbers,
> etc. The entire formatting process took about a half hour. I surprised
> even myself.
>
Uh WP. That brings back memories ;-)
In that specific case, I too would have turned to LaTeX. And don't take
me wrong, I fully appreciate the need to separate format from content in
a project this size.

> I could have done the same thing with LO's styles and master
> documents, but they're not quite as fully automatic as LyX/LaTeX, so
> it would have longer.
>
> So far, however, I've found LyX/LaTeX's support for e-books to be a
> little lacking (but no more so than LO's). For storing documents in an
> e-book format (whether Nook's Epub, or Kindle's MOBI), the best
> solution that I've found is Atlantis (a $35.00 shareware program). It
> is a Word clone word processor that supports direct export to Epub and
> MOBI with preservation of nearly all formatting. Every other solution
> I've tried (including LO, LyX, and Markdown editors) screws up
> formatting to some degree or another. Atlantis does 90% of what I need
> in a word processor, with the sole exception of tables.
>
> In short, while I love LO, I honestly think there are better tools for
> the task of book and e-book writing.
>
I thank you for your time and effort. I would prefer to stick to using
LO... I seriously considered turning to LaTeX, but I truly feel a little
overwhelmed with the amount of learning I would need to do in order to
reach the same formatting proficiency I have with a standard word
processor.
Best regards,

--
Pablo M. Dotro
[hidden email]    [hidden email]
[hidden email] Twitter: @Pablo_El_Mago
http://www.blog.elysium.com.ar


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Pablo Dotro Pablo Dotro
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Mirosław Zalewski
Hi!

On 08/07/13 18:51, Mirosław Zalewski wrote:

> On 08/07/2013 at 22:58, "Virgil Arrington" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> but to
>> me trying to write a book with LO Writer is like trying to force a square
>> peg into a round hole. Yes, it can be done, but the labor involved may not
>> be worth it.
> I think you merge two totally different ideas: writing a book and publishing a
> book.
>
> As for writing, Writer and LaTeX are pretty much comparable - they both sucks.
> They do not provide basic tools needed for writers, such as character
> descriptions (were her eyes blue or green?) or detailed outline of story (this
> is different than outline of chapters). Of course you can overcome it with nice
> note-taking app, custom wiki or organized papers, but in some other programs
> you do not have to.
Heh, you are right. Even if this is more of a technical writing project
than a novel, None of these tools are really focused on the high level
creative process. Both are tools for creating the output of said
process. My approach is to keep detailed paper notes ;-)

> As for publishing (making it look beautiful), LaTeX classes and forced
> separation of structure and look usually provides better defaults than Writer.
> Agreed.
>
> But then, we talk about defaults. It's not like you can't change them.
> If you learn your tools and think in advance, create decent-looking long
> document in Writer can be done with little hassle.
>
> I have created and edited some long (100+ pages) documents in Writer and never
> seen anything in LaTeX that would be a dealbreaker for me. If anywhere, I
> would go to full-fledged DTP suite such as Adobe InDesign.
That's my problem. I do not want LaTeX defaults. I want a distinctive
format appealing to not only the geeky tech/science community, but to
people who are not into technology. LaTeX produces beautiful output...
but it's "too serious" for my target audience. The Right Thing to do, if
this would have been a commercial or for-hire job, would be to hire a
designer to use DTP tools and typeset my text. but it's not, and it's
just me, so I am trying to get the most out of my experience and
training ;-)
Anyway, thanks for trying to help. I really appreciate the response of
the community :-)

--
Pablo M. Dotro
[hidden email]    [hidden email]
[hidden email] Twitter: @Pablo_El_Mago
http://www.blog.elysium.com.ar


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Pablo Dotro Pablo Dotro
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Nagy Ákos-6
On 08/07/13 10:44, Nagy Ákos wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I know this book:
> http://www.openoffice.org/documentation/whitepapers/Creating_large_documents_with_OOo.odt
>
> It's an old book, and is writed for OpenOffice, but the most important
> part is the same, and you can reuse in LibreOffice.
>
> I know an another book for you, but it's exists only in Hungarian:
> http://numbertext.org/libreoffice/libreoffice.pdf
> is a hybrid PDF, the PDF file contains the source of the book in ODT
> format. Probably you don't understand it, but can see come stuff that
> can do with LibreOffice and Graphite technology.
>
You are right, Hungarian is not my thing hehehe. But I downloaded your
first suggestion, and it's very informative. Thank you very much!
When this is over, if I manage to get it right, I will write a how-to
document with my experience ;-)
Again, thanks for the references!

--
Pablo M. Dotro
[hidden email]    [hidden email]
[hidden email] Twitter: @Pablo_El_Mago
http://www.blog.elysium.com.ar


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Pablo Dotro Pablo Dotro
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by marcgrober
On 08/07/13 14:30, Marc Grober wrote:

> I have seen quote a bit of argument against using a master document for
> a book as I was exploring this subject just recently as well.  The help
> docs of course are a good place to start.
> https://help.libreoffice.org/Writer/Master_Documents_and_Subdocuments
>
> There are a number of different tools for moving from LO to epub.  There
> is the new eLAIX extension, Writer2epub, and you can also export as
> docxml and then use pandoc which will create epub3 docs for you. I used
> to use eScape but that is no longer supported, though it still works.
> The folk at infogridpacific looked like they were going to move it to an
> online service but it looks like that project was killed and that they
> are concentrating on their Digital publisher solution.
>
>
Hi!
Thanks. I went through that. It's well written. It helped me to
understand the concept. But It's a little shy on the actual practice.
I've been experimenting with templates and a set of test documents, with
mixed results.

I notice that master documents tend to elicit a love-hate relationship:
some people think they are The Right Thing, others that they are worse
than accepting a ring from Sauron hehehe. I had bad experiences dabbling
with them in MS Word a few years ago, and I never touched them again.
I've also experienced that Writer is a lot more stable than MS Word when
dealing with very long documents and complex formatting (embedded
images, tables, crossreferences, etc.), but I never have used it for
anything over 100-120 pages long.
I expect my current assignment to reach around 500 pages easily, with
math, complex tables and so on. When I read the "Writer's Guide", I came
across the suggestion that a master document and chapter subdocuments
where the preferred way to tackle long, complext texts. In any case, I
am aware that I will need a lot of planning, careful styling and no
direct formatting to make it work, either as a single file or using a
master document.

As for publishing... I was thinking plain PDF export with no DRM. Epub
is an interesting option. On the print side... small printing houses
down here, the ones that accept material for self publishing, demand MS
Word .doc format, so that was another reason for me to chose Writer
instead of a full DTP or plain text format.
Anyway, thanks for the tips. I'll keep digging ;-)

--
Pablo M. Dotro
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[hidden email] Twitter: @Pablo_El_Mago
http://www.blog.elysium.com.ar


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Pablo Dotro Pablo Dotro
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Virgil Arrington
Hi!

On 08/07/13 21:29, Virgil Arrington wrote:

>
> Anytime I use a program like yWriter, I end up spending a lot of time
> later applying formatting that I could have applied on the fly with a
> decent word processor. That may not be a concern for a person whose
> work will be published, and therefore formatted, by someone else, like
> a professional publishing house. But, the original poster mentioned
> self-publishing an e-book.
>
> Virgil
>
It seems the ideal software does not yet exist hehe. Maybe some day,
when LO gets a more widespread user base, we will see an extension or
extension set that could "bridge the gap" between full fledged word
processing/design and the kind of writing aids that are needed to help
us tell a good story, or create a consistent document without copious
paper notes or auxiliary databases ;-).

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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Mirosław Zalewski
Hi :)
The Docs Team use Writer for all their guides.  They do also have brief notes / summaries outside of whichever guide they are writing and do use their mailing list to help get consensus about side-issues.  Getting involved there might help you learn tricks or at least see the process. 
Regards from
Tom :) 





>________________________________
> From: Mirosław Zalewski <[hidden email]>
>To: [hidden email]
>Sent: Monday, 8 July 2013, 22:51
>Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Book-writing with Writer
>
>
>On 08/07/2013 at 22:58, "Virgil Arrington" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> but to
>> me trying to write a book with LO Writer is like trying to force a square
>> peg into a round hole. Yes, it can be done, but the labor involved may not
>> be worth it.
>
>I think you merge two totally different ideas: writing a book and publishing a
>book.
>
>As for writing, Writer and LaTeX are pretty much comparable - they both sucks.
>They do not provide basic tools needed for writers, such as character
>descriptions (were her eyes blue or green?) or detailed outline of story (this
>is different than outline of chapters). Of course you can overcome it with nice
>note-taking app, custom wiki or organized papers, but in some other programs
>you do not have to.
>
>As for publishing (making it look beautiful), LaTeX classes and forced
>separation of structure and look usually provides better defaults than Writer.
>Agreed.
>
>But then, we talk about defaults. It's not like you can't change them.
>If you learn your tools and think in advance, create decent-looking long
>document in Writer can be done with little hassle.
>
>I have created and edited some long (100+ pages) documents in Writer and never
>seen anything in LaTeX that would be a dealbreaker for me. If anywhere, I
>would go to full-fledged DTP suite such as Adobe InDesign.
>--
>Best regards
>Mirosław Zalewski
>
>--
>To unsubscribe e-mail to: [hidden email]
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>
>
>
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Tom Tom
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Virgil Arrington
Hi :)
When i first started using Writer i found i struggled against the software quite a bit.  Often people try something new unaware of the baggage they bring with them (such as bad habits learned through years of using other products) and somehow keep managing to find unsuitable work-flows that do make it more difficult than it needs to be. 

It's like watching someone that is scared of the water splashing about and fighting (and failing) to stay on top.  If you are now a good swimmer can you remember the first time you laid back and relaxed and found that human beings are naturally bouyant?  That only small minimal strokes of your arms almost parallel to the surface are far more effective at keeping you above water than up&down strokes.  For me it took a  huge wrench in my mind.  Other people seemed to find it easy. 

I have taught Word as part of ECDL and other courses and people generally think i am extremely proficient with it, at least until MSO 2007, but i often found that other people's documents were a nightmare to beat into shape.  Even a tiny change often threw up some unexpected formatting tangle that they had somehow managed to root deep into their document.  Also old documents written with previous versions often came out all wrong. 

With LibreOffice it is much easier to get a good looking result that behaves itself.  However if you do fight against it all the time then maybe you do need to either
1.  Read up on documentation and adjust to the software and/or 
2.  Experiment and play with documents created by other people to see how they did it and/or
3.  Experiment and play around with different ways of doing things.  See if you have any baggage or bad habits that you can break-down to simplify your work-flow
Otherwise, if you are always struggling against the flow then you really are better off with something that does suite you. 


First time i used LO to do a ToC it was a major pain.  2nd time (and from then on) i found it amazingly easy.  That first time i did mess around with all sorts of aspects of it to work out how to beat it into submission.  Eventually i worked out how to use it rather than to fight against it.  Now it's incredibly easy.  Even after a radical change i just right-click and choose "update" and it fixes itself.  "Simples" ;)

Regards from
Tom :) 






>________________________________
> From: Virgil Arrington <[hidden email]>
>To: Mirosław Zalewski <[hidden email]>; [hidden email]
>Sent: Tuesday, 9 July 2013, 1:29
>Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Book-writing with Writer
>
>
>Miroslaw,
>
>You're right; I did merge *writing* and *publishing*. To that end, let me muddy the waters even more by mentioning yWriter, a software program designed specifically and solely for writing novels with many of the tools you suggest. The frustration that I've found is that there are some publishing (or formatting) tasks that are best handled completely separate from writing, such as page layout, font selection, table of contents generation, etc. However, I find other formatting tasks are better handled on the fly while typing, such as applying italics to a word. Sometimes, I find seeing the paragraph layout onscreen helpful to organizing my thoughts, which of course you won't see with a strict text editor or pure LaTeX editor. At least LyX helps by showing some formatting onscreen.
>
>Anytime I use a program like yWriter, I end up spending a lot of time later applying formatting that I could have applied on the fly with a decent word processor. That may not be a concern for a person whose work will be published, and therefore formatted, by someone else, like a professional publishing house. But, the original poster mentioned self-publishing an e-book.
>
>Virgil
>
>-----Original Message----- From: Mirosław Zalewski
>Sent: Monday, July 08, 2013 5:51 PM
>To: [hidden email]
>Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Book-writing with Writer
>
>On 08/07/2013 at 22:58, "Virgil Arrington" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> but to
>> me trying to write a book with LO Writer is like trying to force a square
>> peg into a round hole. Yes, it can be done, but the labor involved may not
>> be worth it.
>
>I think you merge two totally different ideas: writing a book and publishing a
>book.
>
>As for writing, Writer and LaTeX are pretty much comparable - they both sucks.
>They do not provide basic tools needed for writers, such as character
>descriptions (were her eyes blue or green?) or detailed outline of story (this
>is different than outline of chapters). Of course you can overcome it with nice
>note-taking app, custom wiki or organized papers, but in some other programs
>you do not have to.
>
>As for publishing (making it look beautiful), LaTeX classes and forced
>separation of structure and look usually provides better defaults than Writer.
>Agreed.
>
>But then, we talk about defaults. It's not like you can't change them.
>If you learn your tools and think in advance, create decent-looking long
>document in Writer can be done with little hassle.
>
>I have created and edited some long (100+ pages) documents in Writer and never
>seen anything in LaTeX that would be a dealbreaker for me. If anywhere, I
>would go to full-fledged DTP suite such as Adobe InDesign.
>-- Best regards
>Mirosław Zalewski
>
>-- To unsubscribe e-mail to: [hidden email]
>Problems? http://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/mailing-lists/how-to-unsubscribe/
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>
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>
>
>
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Tom Tom
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Virgil Arrington
Hi :)
The Docs Team have looked into ePub versions and have found some good tools to use.  Annoyingly i can't remember what they finally worked out was the best one so it would be really good if someone could ask them again.  Anyway, perhaps there is something even better now. 



In my previous posts i have been a bit annoyed that people who don't spend time getting to know the tool they are using then blame the tool.  In England there is a saying "A poor workman always blames his tools".  Sometimes the square peg trying to fit the round hole is not the tool's fault.  It's all in the way the workman is misusing the tool.  However, i now see that Virgil has worked hard to get to grips with LO and has spent time experimenting and working with it and probably knows a lot more about doing larger works than me. 


Writer, Word and WordPerfect and others do seem to be designed for business letters and fairly short works.  LaTeX (and the various front-ends (such as LyX) that attempt to make it easier to use) do seem to have advantages for larger works but are more difficult to wrestle with in the beginning when you are learning how to use them.  Many people try and give up or find them a total nightmare.  However, people DO manage to use Writer to do larger books.  Piers Anthony, the famous sci-fi writer, mentions it in the preface to most of his books.  Also our Documentation Team.  Our Documentation Team have even published an ePub and since found an easier way of doing it.  We should be learning from them and gain from their experience. 



On the other hand if you have been able to learn how to use LaTeX then you probably do have a significant advantage because it is the right tool for the right job.  If LyX makes LaTeX easier then go for it. 

Regards from
Tom :) 







>________________________________
> From: Virgil Arrington <[hidden email]>
>To: [hidden email]
>Sent: Monday, 8 July 2013, 21:58
>Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Book-writing with Writer
>
>
><snip />
>
>trying to write a book with LO Writer is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
>
><snip />
>
>In my mind, Writer is a business application, useful for letters, memos, legal documents, school reports, and the like.
>
><snip />
>
>For organizing a book length document, with parts, chapters, and tables, indexes, and sub-documents, etc, I much prefer LyX and LaTeX, both of which are free and opensource. Yes, the LaTeX learning curve can be steep, but LyX makes it so much easier.
>
><snip />
>
>He wrote the original in WordPerfect, and it was a formatting mess, with stray tabs, carriage returns, and inconsistent formatting across chapter and section headings. I began the task of reformatting his 127 page novel using WordPerfect, the original program. It didn't take long for me to realize it would take days and days to wade through all of the formatting codes inserted by WP.
>
>Instead, I  ... <snip /> ...  loaded it into LyX. <snip />  The entire formatting process took about a half hour. I surprised even myself.
>
>I could have done the same thing with LO's styles and master documents, but they're not quite as fully automatic as LyX/LaTeX, so it would have longer.
>
>So far, however, I've found LyX/LaTeX's support for e-books to be a little lacking (but no more so than LO's).
>
><snip />
>
>In short, while I love LO, I honestly think there are better tools for the task of book and e-book writing.
>
>Virgil
>
>
>
>2013.07.08. 7:34 keltezéssel, Pablo Dotro írta:
>> Greetings!
>
><snip />
>
>> Does anyone know about a tutorial, book or website where I can
>> specifically learn about creating a book-length document, with chapters
>> (as subdocuments) and a master document, consistent styling, indexing and
>> table of contents with LibreOffice?
>>
>> Thank you very much for your time, and best regards,
>>
>
>
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Jack Wallen Jack Wallen
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Pablo Dotro
Sorry, my original reply went off list.

On 07/09/2013 12:10 AM, Pablo Dotro wrote:
>
>>
> I thank you for your time and effort. I would prefer to stick to using
> LO... I seriously considered turning to LaTeX, but I truly feel a
> little overwhelmed with the amount of learning I would need to do in
> order to reach the same formatting proficiency I have with a standard
> word processor.
> Best regards,
>

I've written fourteen books and used LO for every one. Now I write
fiction, so I my books don't tend to use complicated layouts. The
important thing to understand is that you will need to use a tool like
Calibre to covert the LO-generated HTML file to .mobi and .epub. With
Calibre you can generate a TOC and the like.

Hope that helps.

Jack

--
*Jack Wallen*|The Zombie King
Get on the Dark Hayride at Get Jack'd
Author of the I Zombie, Fringe Killers, The Nameless, and Shero series
of books

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Virgil Arrington Virgil Arrington
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Virgil Arrington
Ferand wrote,

>  Virgil,

>please stop this crap, LO and OO are the right tools to produce any
>document any form any size, only the lack of knowledge is a barrier .
>All professional tools to produce a book are XML based like LO and OO, so
>start writing, use a simple style model , understood the OutputLevels,
>understood picture resolutions and go. Afterwards choose a tool  make a
>tranformation to deliver the work to a printer (PDF) or to a HTML 5/ Epub
>reader
>Greetz

I noticed you didn't copy the list (a reply vs. reply all problem), but I'll
include the list on my reply as I think it might be helpful. I'll grant that
my suggesting other products on an LO users list may not be the best form,
but I do think it proper to point out LO's limitations.

I fully agree that LO can produce any document any size. I fully agree that
lack of knowledge can be a barrier (to *any* product, be it LO or LaTeX).
But, I think your last line helps prove my point. You suggest writing in LO,
and then picking *another* tool to transform the final product into PDF or
Epub reader format. In so suggesting, you imply that LO is *not* the right
tool to perform those tasks.

I was trying to suggest tools that could perform the entire project, from
writing to publishing. The PDF output from LyX/LaTeX cannot be touched by
*anything* that I know of (at least in the FOSS world). For example, LaTeX
automatically, and by default, produces ligatures, those "fi" and "fl"
combinations that are often found lacking today in "professionally"
published books produced by word processors like LO or Word. The Microtype
package is an absolute must for any proper output with justified margins, as
it justifies an entire paragraph, not just lines, making small adjustments,
not only between words, but *within* letters as well. LO's line by line
justification looks hideous in comparison (yes, I'm a little OCD about these
things). And, unless you use Linux Libertine as your typeface, you won't be
able to get such professional effects as old style numbering or true small
caps.

There was a day when proper justification, ligatures, and professional type
effects were the expected norm in professionally designed books. But, today,
so many publishing houses are simply accepting the output of word processors
that it's becoming rare to find a properly designed book. The lack of
professional output in computer generated books was the reason for the
creation of TeX in the first place, some 35 years ago.

As far as the ebook format is concerned, nothing I've seen (again in
cost-effective tools) can match the output of Atlantis.

Virgil


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Virgil Arrington Virgil Arrington
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Tom
Tom,

Actually, I have had very little struggle learning LO. I started back in the StarOffice days and haven’t looked back. I have just learned to keep LO in its place...as a business tool, not a tool for creative writing or desktop publishing.

You mention the Table of Contents. Yes, the first time I tried, I was mystified, but with practice, it’s become no big deal. But, like with most things in office suite software, you have to do a lot of adjusting, customizing, etc. to get what you want. With LaTeX, you simply type \tableofcontents in the place in your document where you want it to appear and, voila, you get it, fully formatted with the Table of Contents title properly typeset and in the right place. It’s even easier with the LyX front end. Two mouse clicks and it’s done.

Yes, LO is an extremely powerful tool and, yes, with education, you can produce book length documents with master documents, subdocuments, tables of contents, etc. But, as I mentioned in my response to Fernand, you will not be able to match the professional output of LaTeX, with its full-featured typeset effects, proper paragraph justification, etc.

But, as Pablo and I agree, LaTeX works best if you can accept its default formatting decisions. If you want to change them, you’ll have a bit of an education ahead of you. (And Pablo, you don’t have to create an entire document class to change the default settings; often just a few commands in the preamble are enough) So, either way, depending on the output you want, you have an education ahead of you. Either learn LO’s master document/table of contents system, or learn how to make some changes to LaTeX’s default settings.

Virgil

From: Tom Davies
Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2013 5:27 AM
To: Virgil Arrington ; Mirosław Zalewski ; [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Book-writing with Writer

Hi :)
When i first started using Writer i found i struggled against the software quite a bit.  Often people try something new unaware of the baggage they bring with them (such as bad habits learned through years of using other products) and somehow keep managing to find unsuitable work-flows that do make it more difficult than it needs to be.  

It's like watching someone that is scared of the water splashing about and fighting (and failing) to stay on top.  If you are now a good swimmer can you remember the first time you laid back and relaxed and found that human beings are naturally bouyant?  That only small minimal strokes of your arms almost parallel to the surface are far more effective at keeping you above water than up&down strokes.  For me it took a huge wrench in my mind.  Other people seemed to find it easy.  

I have taught Word as part of ECDL and other courses and people generally think i am extremely proficient with it, at least until MSO 2007, but i often found that other people's documents were a nightmare to beat into shape.  Even a tiny change often threw up some unexpected formatting tangle that they had somehow managed to root deep into their document.  Also old documents written with previous versions often came out all wrong.  

With LibreOffice it is much easier to get a good looking result that behaves itself.  However if you do fight against it all the time then maybe you do need to either
1.  Read up on documentation and adjust to the software and/or  
2.  Experiment and play with documents created by other people to see how they did it and/or
3.  Experiment and play around with different ways of doing things.  See if you have any baggage or bad habits that you can break-down to simplify your work-flow
Otherwise, if you are always struggling against the flow then you really are better off with something that does suite you.  


First time i used LO to do a ToC it was a major pain.  2nd time (and from then on) i found it amazingly easy.  That first time i did mess around with all sorts of aspects of it to work out how to beat it into submission.  Eventually i worked out how to use it rather than to fight against it.  Now it's incredibly easy.  Even after a radical change i just right-click and choose "update" and it fixes itself.  "Simples" ;)

Regards from
Tom :)  







------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  From: Virgil Arrington <[hidden email]>
  To: Mirosław Zalewski <[hidden email]>; [hidden email]
  Sent: Tuesday, 9 July 2013, 1:29
  Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Book-writing with Writer


  Miroslaw,

  You're right; I did merge *writing* and *publishing*. To that end, let me muddy the waters even more by mentioning yWriter, a software program designed specifically and solely for writing novels with many of the tools you suggest. The frustration that I've found is that there are some publishing (or formatting) tasks that are best handled completely separate from writing, such as page layout, font selection, table of contents generation, etc. However, I find other formatting tasks are better handled on the fly while typing, such as applying italics to a word. Sometimes, I find seeing the paragraph layout onscreen helpful to organizing my thoughts, which of course you won't see with a strict text editor or pure LaTeX editor. At least LyX helps by showing some formatting onscreen.

  Anytime I use a program like yWriter, I end up spending a lot of time later applying formatting that I could have applied on the fly with a decent word processor. That may not be a concern for a person whose work will be published, and therefore formatted, by someone else, like a professional publishing house. But, the original poster mentioned self-publishing an e-book.

  Virgil

  -----Original Message----- From: Mirosław Zalewski
  Sent: Monday, July 08, 2013 5:51 PM
  To: [hidden email]
  Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Book-writing with Writer

  On 08/07/2013 at 22:58, "Virgil Arrington" <[hidden email]> wrote:

  > but to
  > me trying to write a book with LO Writer is like trying to force a square
  > peg into a round hole. Yes, it can be done, but the labor involved may not
  > be worth it.

  I think you merge two totally different ideas: writing a book and publishing a
  book.

  As for writing, Writer and LaTeX are pretty much comparable - they both sucks.
  They do not provide basic tools needed for writers, such as character
  descriptions (were her eyes blue or green?) or detailed outline of story (this
  is different than outline of chapters). Of course you can overcome it with nice
  note-taking app, custom wiki or organized papers, but in some other programs
  you do not have to.

  As for publishing (making it look beautiful), LaTeX classes and forced
  separation of structure and look usually provides better defaults than Writer.
  Agreed.

  But then, we talk about defaults. It's not like you can't change them.
  If you learn your tools and think in advance, create decent-looking long
  document in Writer can be done with little hassle.

  I have created and edited some long (100+ pages) documents in Writer and never
  seen anything in LaTeX that would be a dealbreaker for me. If anywhere, I
  would go to full-fledged DTP suite such as Adobe InDesign.
  -- Best regards
  Mirosław Zalewski

  -- To unsubscribe e-mail to: [hidden email]
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Virgil Arrington Virgil Arrington
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

Getting back to Pablo's original question, he asked about using master
documents with sub-documents for each chapter. This is, in fact, the model
used by many systems, from LaTeX to yWriter, as well as LO.

But, I'm wondering how necessary it really is. The purpose of the master
document/subdocument system is to keep track of your document, where you may
be at a given place and time. But, LO's navigator tool offers much of the
same functionality without having to split your document up into many
different files. With the navigator, you can jump from point to point within
a single document based on headings, bookmarks, etc.

Depending on the size of the book, and your need to work on several
different sections of it at the same time, just using the navigator as
opposed to master documents could save yourself a lot of education time and
headaches. For me, the biggest headache with master documents comes when I'm
proofreading the master and find I want to make a small change. I hit a
keystroke and am immediately reminded that all editing must take place
within the subdocuments.

Virgil


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Virgil Arrington Virgil Arrington
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Jack Wallen
Jack,

Just curious. Do you use LO's master document system for your books?

Virgil

-----Original Message-----
From: Jack Wallen
Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2013 7:12 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Book-writing with Writer

Sorry, my original reply went off list.

On 07/09/2013 12:10 AM, Pablo Dotro wrote:
>
>>
> I thank you for your time and effort. I would prefer to stick to using
> LO... I seriously considered turning to LaTeX, but I truly feel a little
> overwhelmed with the amount of learning I would need to do in order to
> reach the same formatting proficiency I have with a standard word
> processor.
> Best regards,
>

I've written fourteen books and used LO for every one. Now I write
fiction, so I my books don't tend to use complicated layouts. The
important thing to understand is that you will need to use a tool like
Calibre to covert the LO-generated HTML file to .mobi and .epub. With
Calibre you can generate a TOC and the like.

Hope that helps.

Jack

--
*Jack Wallen*|The Zombie King
Get on the Dark Hayride at Get Jack'd
Author of the I Zombie, Fringe Killers, The Nameless, and Shero series
of books

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krackedpress krackedpress
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Re: Book-writing with Writer

In reply to this post by Mirosław Zalewski

Here is a resend of a reply that seemed not to get to the system, so I
have been told.

On 07/08/2013 06:32 PM, Kracked_P_P---webmaster wrote:

> On 07/08/2013 05:51 PM, Mirosław Zalewski wrote:
>> On 08/07/2013 at 22:58, "Virgil Arrington"<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>>
>>> but to
>>> me trying to write a book with LO Writer is like trying to force a square
>>> peg into a round hole. Yes, it can be done, but the labor involved may not
>>> be worth it.
>> I think you merge two totally different ideas: writing a book and publishing a
>> book.
>>
>> As for writing, Writer and LaTeX are pretty much comparable - they both sucks.
>> They do not provide basic tools needed for writers, such as character
>> descriptions (were her eyes blue or green?) or detailed outline of story (this
>> is different than outline of chapters). Of course you can overcome it with nice
>> note-taking app, custom wiki or organized papers, but in some other programs
>> you do not have to.
>>
>> As for publishing (making it look beautiful), LaTeX classes and forced
>> separation of structure and look usually provides better defaults than Writer.
>> Agreed.
>>
>> But then, we talk about defaults. It's not like you can't change them.
>> If you learn your tools and think in advance, create decent-looking long
>> document in Writer can be done with little hassle.
>>
>> I have created and edited some long (100+ pages) documents in Writer and never
>> seen anything in LaTeX that would be a dealbreaker for me. If anywhere, I
>> would go to full-fledged DTP suite such as Adobe InDesign.
>
> I know of at least one very successful author that uses LO on an Linux
> PC to write all of his books.  Piers Anthony.  He is getting into the
> late 70's but he went from StarOffice to OpenOffice.org, to finally
> LibreOffice.
>
> When he move to OOo, he was writing 3 to 5 books a year.  With age and
> his wife's health issues, he does not have as much time to write.  So
> I see maybe 2 or more books [paperback novels] a year now, plus the
> odd novella as well.
>
> For all of the work he does, he makes good use of macros. That was one
> of the big issues with his previous packages till he got to OOo.
>
> SO for writing books with LO, it can be done and be profitable for a
> author.
>
> As for publishing books, well it all depends on what you want in the
> book.  If you have to do a lot of graphics and images withing the
> pages, with complex text flow formatting like in some text books, then
> maybe LO might not be the best idea for the final layout work of such
> a book.  A FULL desktop publishing package with all of the
> bells-and-whistles would do the job easier.  But for writing books for
> reading entertainment, and not for educational text books, LO would
> work well for most needs.
>
> Of course, if you need to look into self-publishing, then Piers
> Anthony's official web site has a lot of references in that
> department.  [ hipiers.com ]  He wanted to have some good reference
> material for writers to have an easier time than he did when starting
> out.
> .
>
>
>
>
>


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