E. Christopher Clark writes fiction about fractured families, lust gone wrong, and memories as time machines. In October 2017, he published his first novel, derived from a one-act play written twenty years ago in college. In our interview, he talks about the process of writing and the things that helped him to go through with it. Also, he discusses the benefits of studying creative writing at the university. As a teacher and holder of two degrees in the field, he knows a thing or two about it.
Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.
My name’s E. Christopher Clark and I published my first novel, Missing Mr. Wingfield, in October 2017 to celebrate turning 40. In 2018, I’m aiming to top that by releasing not one but two new books: Bad Poetry Night, a collection of poems that came out in April to celebrate National Poetry Month; and The Seven Wives of Silver, a collection of pulpy 19th-century stories set on Cape Cod that’ll be out this fall.
What made you start writing in the first place?
In 2nd or 3rd grade, we were given the assignment to write the story of a picture we’d pasted to a piece of construction paper. That challenge — of turning visual inspiration into text-based storytelling — thrilled me, and working from photographs and drawings is still something I do today.
2003 was the year of Finding Nemo, Kill Bill, and Pirates of the Caribbean. The shipping release of Mac OS X was 10.2, and click-wheel iPods were the hottest thing around. Also in 2003, version 1.0 of Ulysses was released, the predecessor of today’s Ulysses.
In computer terms, 15 years is an eternity. And for our co-founder Max, now 31 years old, these 15 years equal his whole adult life. On Medium, he shares a personal look back on how it all began and how he got where he is today, with Ulysses.
The ability to set writing goals to your texts has been part of Ulysses for a long time. Here is a little overview of what you can do with writing goals:
Set a desired text length for any sheet and any group. You can specify the type of goal: at least, at most, or about.
Select from a variety of measuring units. You can define your goal in terms of characters with or without spaces, words, lines, paragraphs and pages, or, for reading time and reading aloud time, in hours and minutes.
Track your progress, visualized by the circled goal icon. It appears as a tiny symbol in your sheet list and on your sheets. If you want, you can share your progress on social media.
With the latest version, the feature got even more versatile:
Set a deadline (in addition to the desired text length). And let Ulysses help you organize your workload by calculating the amount of text you need to write every day in order to finish in time.
Set yourself a daily writing goal. This option is available for groups only. The status of the goal will be reset every morning, waiting for you to fill it with words during the course of the day.
Review your writing history. This option is available on Mac for group goals. You can find out how much you have written in the last days, learn about your daily average and your daily best.
The Swiss writer Thomas Meyer used to earn his living with advertising copy before he started publishing books and essays. His debut novel, published in 2012, was a bestseller in his home country; it was also turned into a movie and will hit the theaters in October 2018. Meyer’s latest book is entitled Trennt euch! (“Break up!”); it is a treatise for unhappy couples aiming to help them break up. We asked Meyer a couple of questions about the book and the writing life.
Do you believe in the one great love?
I don’t believe in the singularity of great love. But I also don’t believe that a great love equals a great relationship.
Your book aims to encourage couples to end their relationships. Why did you write it?
It encourages only unhappy couples to break up. I wrote it because I think most couples are unhappy and because I wanted to show them a way to end their suffering. And to understand the reasons why they entered an unhappy relationship. Read …
You may have missed this one, as it is a minor change introduced with the latest Ulysses version: We now let you preview your images in full-color!
While before, you could – when working on Mac – select a preview to see it in color, you now have the option to show all previews in color, at all times and on all devices. The default, however, is still set to black and white, as too many colorful images can easily turn into a distraction.
Writers of technical documentation, this one is for you! Are you aware that Ulysses now is not only capable of highlighting the syntax of your code blocks during editing, but also during export? Namely, the HTML, ePub, PDF and DOCX files you output may contain syntax highlighting. That way your readers will benefit from better legibility as well!
All built-in formatting styles now include a syntax highlighting that matches the style design. The color scheme used in Ulysses is derived from GitHub’s. If you’re a Mac user, you can also create your own Ulysses style and change the colors according to your taste and needs. If you’re using a custom export style already and want to beef it up with syntax highlighting, you can of course do that, too! For details, please consult the code blocks tutorial, we have just extended it to explain how it works.
Categorizing your Ulysses sheets with keywords can help you keep track of your writing. With the latest Ulysses version, things got even better! You can now also assign colors to these keywords, which will be applied to all its occurrence in your library. With a colored keyword, a tagged sheet is much easier to spot.
If you write technical documentation for a living, you have to deal with code examples on a daily basis. With the latest Ulysses version, we vastly improved code blocks support. Adding code snippets is now a piece of cake, and they’re clear and easy to recognize in the editor.
We have just released Ulysses 13 to both the App Store and the Mac App Store. The update adds one of our most requested features, enhances one of our most popular features, and colors one of our seemingly minor but most powerful features. It’s live already, and here’s what’s new… Read …
We’re going full steam ahead with Ulysses 13. So, what can you expect? Until release, we’re revealing more and more details of the forthcoming features.
Exercising regularly, eating vegetarian, writing daily: Building a healthy habit requires commitment and discipline, and thus is no walk in the park (unless that’s the habit 😜). Taking a break and reviewing the achievements you have already made will make you proud and help boost your determination to carry on.
In the next version of Ulysses (for Mac), all group writing goals will receive a dedicated history view visualizing the quantity of text written daily, for today and ten days back. You will also be able to check your best day’s performance and your daily average. If you want, you can even export the statistics for all days ever recorded as a CSV file for long-time documentation.