The Diary of Otto Kandinsky

New Audiobook Episode released!


The latest episode of The Diary of Otto Kandinsky is now available to all $2+ Patrons of the Heavenfield:

36. Patrols

Otto is out in the Great Ruins once more, commanding a patrol from the regular army.

They hunt for ghosts, but it seems a vain attempt to stem the rising tide. They pour in once again from the Ghostfields, as if heralding the coming of some dark fate.

I had hoped to get this latest episode out much earlier, but I have been having a really busy time of it recently. I have been in a restless mood creatively, and though I am near to finishing The Diary of Otto Kandinsky, my mind a has been wandering off to several other projects that I’ve had on the go for years. I’ve had a really strong desire to get everything completed and released, and have been going through loads of old half-written manuscripts.

So far I’m on with:
1. The Diary of Otto Kandinsky – currently at just over 150,000 words.
2. The Circle of Souls Collection – children’s books of short stories. Three written, the next ongoing, with a large series planned out.
3. The Seven Symbols – a surreal, comical novella about being an artist when the Devil comes to visit(!).
4. The ‘Fourth Heavenfield’ Book – another companion story to the Heavenfield I started writing a few years ago – about 50,000 words into it.
5. Into the Fire – a set of young adult short stories in a fantasy space setting.
6. The Heavenfield Datavault – Ongoing datavault project that I will one day release in book format.

The Circle of Souls Collection

The Circle of Souls Collection

As I started to look through all the files, it became obvious that if I am to be working more on multiple projects then things were going to become chaotic really quickly with the current workflow I have employed for the last 10 years. I needed to reassess the system I used and try and make it more efficient before I started in earnest upon all these projects.

Up until now my workflow has been fairly simple:
1. I write longhand in notebooks, then:
2. copy up into Open Office word processor software, formatted as an A5 book.
3. I print off the pages as I go, making them into rough books, then use these to proof read and make edits.
4. Copy the edits back into Open Office.

Editing the stories. Editing the stories. Recent Prints

Editing the stories.

This has been a great way of working for me, but after this it starts getting messy...

I like to visually rearrange chapters and sections, and get an overview of them. I use Scrivener for this, which has a great corkboard section, where I can set up all the titles and synopses of my chapters, and drag them about to suit my needs.

A book laid out in Scrivener

A book laid out in Scrivener with character notes.

When the stories are written and complete I make a new Open Office document formatted for each of the versions I am publishing out to: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, and ePub.

So now the problems were starting to show. I had 4 different files for each book (plus the master file), and with 6 books on the go, plus more formats needed (NOOK, Smashwords, Kobo), I found I was having real trouble keeping all of them up to date. I already had the horrible experience of sending an old edit off to the printers, and everything was a bit of a mess.

So I started looking for a solution to cut down on the number of files, and my first call was seeing if Scrivener was now capable (after 4 years of waiting) of formatting for print, so I could do all my work in that and ditch Open Office.

Sadly, the Windows version is still no further along, and the developers seem to be transfixed upon getting one major update out (which is still way behind schedule) rather than getting the basics sorted. The forums are really frustrating, because no-one seems to want to admit that there is a problem. I searched and searched for alternative programs, but there really is no solution.

So, it seemed that my only choice was to either keep on waiting for the Windows update, or get the Mac version which is far more advanced, and does everything I need.

So I’ve bought a Mac!

The New Laptop

The new laptop - left.

I borrowed enough money to get an old Macbook Air off ebay and bought a copy of Scrivener for Mac. This may seem like a drastic solution, but I think that the advantages will be worth the investment.

Scrivener works by having a single, unformatted manuscript, which can be compiled into different formats (such as paperback, Kindle etc.). So I can have each of my stories as a Scrivener project, and only ever need one version of the manuscript for all the different formats I am publishing out to. This is a huge time-saver for me, and helps to avoid errors when editing (I sent a wrong version of a story off to the printers once).

It is a mind-numbingly complex program to use, and I have to Google almost every simple action I want to perform, but it is all slowly becoming more familiar.

Even working off the laptop and desktop has proven overly-complicated. I can’t simply work over the network as I would with every other program – Scrivener is too picky for that. I have had to set up a special Dropbox folder with my stories on each computer so that when I save on the laptop the new files are updated on the desktop and vice-versa. It’s a pain really.

Everything about Scrivener seems over-complicated, and I wouldn’t recommend it, apart from the fact that it does so much that no other software can do.

Hopefully it will become more familiar with frequent use.

Phew! Well that gives you some idea of the changes I’ve been making in my workflow, and the short-term chaos it has caused. I think that having a good system will pay off in the end though.

So, I hope you can see why the audio episode was a little later than planned!

Right, I’m back off to watching more Scrivener tutorials and trying to get my head around my new Mac...

I hope you enjoy this episode, you can listen to it here:

Click here to listen to the Diary of Otto Kandinsky.

Non-patrons can now preview the first 28 chapters here. Over 9 hours of audio!

Thanks for your continued support!


The journals are released exclusively to Patrons of the Heavenfield, as a thank you for their ongoing support.

They will be released to the public for free when the story is complete.

If you are interested in supporting the Heavenfield then do check out my Patreon page. It shows all the great rewards that are available, and you can pledge from as little as $1. Every pledge directly helps me release more writing, pictures, and recordings: