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


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.


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

On 08/07/2013 at 22:58, "Virgil Arrington" <> 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

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.

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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