I was perusing the Ubuntu Forums awhile back and stumbled upon a couple of threads (one here and one here) discussing writing software for writers. At the time I was using the preinstalled LibreOffice and was quite happy with it. It could do everything I wanted including formatting and interior design. I ran into problems when I had to convert it to a PDF/X-1a for printing; something LibreOffice cannot do. I found I could not simply import it into my desktop publisher (Scribus). I ended up re-doing the entire interior.
As I look to start on a second writing project, I find myself wondering how to make things easier for myself. My problem with LibreOffice is that it does a lot of automatic formatting I don’t want. It gets in my way and becomes a nuisance. I suppose all this could be changed, but that’s a hassle as well, and all these things are obstacles when one is in the midst of a creative flow of thought.
I recently tried a couple of the suggestions from these threads, particularly for writing. PyRoom and FocusWriter both come highly recommended, although it appears PyRoom hasn’t been updated in awhile. They are full screen text editors, but since I often have several programs open at the same time for any given chapter, the full screen only doesn’t appeal to me. Ditto for BookWrite. LaTeX is a document preparation program that many folks seem to like, but it requires having to learn a mark-up language best suited for technical documents. I just want to keep things simple.
Since all my formatting is done with a DTP, all I need is a text editor with spell check! And that’s what I found, Gedit. Besides the spell checker it allows cut, copy, paste, and undo, redo.
I also learned about Zim, which is a text editor style desktop wiki, perfect for outlining and organizing sections, chapters, and ideas. Linking allows me to switch between pages easily, plus it will do basic formatting, which helps me organize ideas. I just read it even supports images!
So, for this next project I plan to do all the writing with Gedit and Zim, photo editing with Gimp, design and formatting with Scribus 1.4 (stable), and PDF prep with Scribus 1.5 (developmental but so far the only Linux friendly program that creates PDF/X-1a documents.) Simple, but that’s how I like it!