A new year and what’s coming up for QW

So the new year has rolled around and version 2.4.2 of QW has been released, it’s just a bug fix release though, nothing to get excited about.  The real main change is allowing Editors Service invites to be resent to pending contacts.

I’ve been quiet lately.  There are two reasons for this, the first is that it’s bloody hot in Australia and everything closes down over Xmas while we all sweat and wait for cooler weather.  The second is that I’ve been finishing my first book.  For most of last year I put finishing it on hold to get the Editors Service completed and with that done I put QW development on hold to get the book finished.

With both done I can look ahead to what’s needed for QW and with that in mind I now have reasonable confidence in what big things will be making the cut for version 2.5.

  1. First up is a “text tidy”.  After sending my book/project to the missus we discovered there are a number of quotation marks that won’t display in the text.  But only in the first three or so chapters.  It turns out these characters are from MS Word, added when I began writing the story and before QW existed, bear in mind QW is at least 7 years old!  Now the characters should show up and it’s something I’m going to (try) and fix but the bigger issue is the mix-n-match of quotation characters.  Hence the need for a text tidy which will unify and format the text.  This would be similar to the auto-correct that Word offers but since I am completely against auto correction for creative writing (nothing pulls you out of writing more than magical changes occurring in the text that you didn’t intend) it would be a tool that works like the Problem Finder.  It would be designed to be run at the end of editing and it would ensure that the correct number of spaces are before the start of a new sentence, that a full stop is either inside or outside of a quotation mark (your choice), that quotation marks are the same and so on.  There a number of minor rules you can apply for tidying things up and making them consistent.
  2. Improvements to the Statistics panel and charts.  This is an area I’ve neglected for a while and now needs some love.  More charts are needed for those who like getting information about their text and progress, for example I want a chart that tells me the chpater length so I can ensure I don’t have a monster chapter.  You can do this now via the Word Counts sidebar but it is tedious.  I’d also like a similar chart for Readability so I don’t have a single chapter that is easy for a 5th grader to read and another that requires tenure at MIT.  Again, doable but tedious to achieve.
  3. Targets.  A few people have asked for this and it’s something I could use as well but it is difficult to implement in a nice way.  Targets could be for writing, such as 2000 words daily or weekly, or they could be for chapter length.  The two are different but both are useful.
  4. A Project description page.  This is something I should have added at the start and didn’t for some reason.  For me at least, and I’m sure the same is true for other people, I will have an idea for a book/story but I don’t have it fleshed out yet.  I create a new project, give it a nominal name but then have to put the description in a chapter.  What is needed is a way to provide a description for a project.

These are the big things that will definitely be in 2.5.  There are other ideas that may well make it in and there are a few minor features that users have asked for that I’ll implement (such as putting a margin around the text in full screen mode).

I’ve no idea about a release date for 2.5 yet.  The text tidy tool could take a while due to needing to get the UI right and being able to undo changes.  So watch this space, I’ll keep you updated.  Soon I begin the great adventure of trying to get published, I hope my sanity will hold out, also who knew that knowing when to leave a sentence alone is a skill that needs to be learned.

And a pox on the WordPress visual editor that won’t allow me to format things in the way I would like.

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