A Worthy Opponent: Creating the Perfect Villain

Ulysses is a sponsor of NaNoWriMo 2017 and to help you get the most out of it, we’re inviting all participants to sign up to our free email course, have a look at our introductory video, and write their novels with Ulysses (for free)

Sauron, Mr. Hyde, Hannibal Lecter, Pennywise, Voldemort, Count Dracula, Norman Bates, Darth Vader, The Joker… the list goes on, but what makes these villains powerful adversaries? How do we create the ultimate nemesis? Attention Wrimos, next in our Tips&Tricks hoard — How to build the perfect antagonist:

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Track Your Writing Time with Ulysses and Timing (Giveaway Inside!)

Whether you’re a professional writer or just have some small side projects, you may be interested in how much time you spend on writing. Maybe it’s just your own curiosity – how long did it take you to write that chapter or blogpost? Or you may be working on a client project, and you need to bill the hours spent on writing a report or article. On macOS, you can use Timing to automatically track time spent on basically any activity of your Mac: researching, communicating, procrastinating – and most importantly – writing. Starting with Ulysses 12 and Timing 2.2.1, these apps have a much tighter integration.

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Ulysses 12: Small Refinements for More Productivity

In last week’s announcement post you already learned about the most important new features in Ulysses’ latest version. There are a few further refinements we would like to point you to. Even if they’re about small details, they may – depending on your workflow – improve your working with Ulysses every day.

Use Shortcuts to Move Paragraphs

During the process of editing, you may realize that rearranging the order of your text is necessary. So far, you needed to cut paragraphs and paste them to their new location. With the new version, you can use the following shortcuts to move a paragraph up or down in your text:

  • ⌃⌘↑ (control-command-up arrow)
  • ⌃⌘↓ (control-command-down arrow)

Note: It does not matter where in your paragraph the cursor is placed, these shortcuts will move the entire paragraph.

Even if you don’t mind reaching for the mouse — try it out, it is much more convenient than the traditional way.

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Out Now: Image Previews, Drag and Drop, iOS 11

So today we have released Ulysses 12. And as is good tradition around the house, I’d like to talk a little about what’s new and improved. And since this release is mostly about changes to Ulysses on iOS, I’ll start with a cross-platform addition, so Mac-only users can go home early…

Editor Image Previews

One of the most requested features among our users has always been the ability to view images within the editor. I don’t want to bore you with the specifics of why it took us so long, because it doesn’t matter anymore — it’s finally here.

By default, images that reside in their own paragraph, will be rendered as black & white thumbnails, while images that exist within text passages, will continue to be rendered as our beloved IMG-bubble.

Why black & white? And why just thumbnails? To keep you in the text. During development, we found that normalizing all previews will increase text immersion, while still providing enough context. This is especially true for colorful themes in the editor, which tend to easily clash with full color images and thus require users to tinker with formats etc. — something we wanted to avoid in the first place. We are aware, of course, that our approach won’t fit all uses (diagrams come to mind), so consider this a first step, and we’re gladly awaiting your feedback.

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50,000 Words in a Month?— Challenge Accepted

Ah…! You can almost smell the pumpkin spice. November is just around the corner and you know what that means, right? Time for colorful leaves, warm socks, cozy blankets and …  NaNoWriMo! Everyone… it’s time to get ready. So welcome to the largest writing party out there. 

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Matt Gemmell: “Writing Is Difficult, but It Feels Like a Challenge Instead of a Hardship”

Action-thriller author Matt Gemmell is fascinated with how small choices can have a profound effect on our lives – a fascination also reflected in his debut novel “Changer”, published last year. In our interview, he talks about why he switched professions a couple of years ago, never looked back since, and still does not regret the time he spent in software engineering.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

Matt Gemmell

My name is Matt Gemmell, I’m a writer of action-thriller novels — amongst other things — and I live in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, with my wife Lauren and our eight-month-old labradoodle puppy, whose name is Whisky.

For a number of years, I was a consultant software engineer for various clients, including Apple, and I did a bit of tech journalism on the side. I also released a lot of open source code for iOS and the Mac, as strange as it is to think about that now.

I’m currently working on TOLL, the second novel in the KESTREL series of action-thrillers with a fringe science twist. The first book, CHANGER, came out last year.

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Coming up: New Library, Multi Pane Editing, iOS 11 Drag & Drop

Yesterday, Apple released iOS 11. Needless to say, we’re hard at work bringing Ulysses to Apple’s latest and greatest, but we’re not quite ready yet. So I’d like to tell you a bit about what you can expect. Release? Soon.

As you may know, iOS 11 has a strong focus on iPad — from revised Multitasking to Drag and Drop, it’s all about the big screen. Since we had to change quite a few things anyway (large table headers, spring-loading groups, yay), we took the opportunity and updated Ulysses’ interface in various places.

The first thing you may notice is how several buttons are gone or have traded places. We’re now much more compliant with how iOS handles things, which is a good thing, even if it takes some getting used to, if you’re a veteran user.

Most of these changes were a long time coming (e.g. “Edit” on top), while others were logical results of adopting iOS 11 (three-pane editing on iPad Pro). But we’re also introducing several deliberate changes and fixes to make working with Ulysses even more streamlined and, ultimately, more productive.

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Smart, Smarter, Smartest: New Copy & Paste Options on Your iPhone/iPad

Let’s face the facts: Writers often need to use the Copy and Paste commands when working with texts. Be it for reusing text snippets, collecting research notes on the web, or transferring content from one application to another. With Ulysses’ latest release, we finally brought the beloved Smart Copy and Smart Paste features to its iOS version. They are especially helpful when working with different text formats, as basic formatting often gets messed up or lost when using the standard copy and paste functions.

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