Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bonus post (Scrivener)

So, here’s a quick and dirty on the Software layout:


Above is the composition screen, this is one of my chapters, on the left shows quick links to all of my chapters, research, and character notes, etc… on the right is a brief description of chapter (top) and the lower right is notes on either the chapter, or story as a whole (you can toggle this).

Above is the main manuscript board (it is above all of the chapters on the far left menu, so it shows as the root folder). you can label each card as a scene, chapter, or what ever you like really. :) Again, far right is overall story notes. these cards are actually links to each chapter, double click and it will take you straight there.  Its basically a way to step out of your story and look at it from a different angle for a while. great for filling in holes or braistorming/outlining. :)


Above, is the root folder/cork board for characters. same operations as the manuscript cork board.  I love this.

And when you double click on a character card from the cork board you get that characters complete profile, and you can link this to any chapter with that character, or link any chapter/or research file to this profile.  the sky is the limit!

So there you have it... the low down on my new favorite software. :)
Also, I should point out that is does tell you the word count for each document/chapter, as well as the total for the work and still keeps it all nicely separate. (great plus!) 

For a trial download of Scrivener, click here.

Happy Tuesday!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Creative Treasures…

Sorry I’m a day late with this post, friends.  The writing must come first. (I knew you’d understand.)

I wanted to take a moment and do a brief blog about the tools and works that are invaluable to my writing process.

These are the comforts of life. :) What author/blogger doesn’t love goodies, reviews and downloads?  These are real finds to us Creatives.

Click on the names to follow the links to my treasures! *they will open in new windows*

First, and most important: COFFEE.  (duh)

On my beloved notebook, (Samsung with Windows 7, if you were curious) I have my new fling, Scrivener *LOVE* that I must say, I heard about through NaNoWriMo.org, but tried after reading Rachel Aaron’s genius blog Pretentious Title.

Also found on my Laptop, Nuance Dragon speech to text software, for use when I am going to fast to type, or am just not in the mood to type, but want to think out loud.  I adore this technology!  It serves me best for brainstorming.  If the scene is fully formed in my head, I prefer the close connection that I get from typing it myself, but if I have some long hand notes and I just want to expound and brainstorm off that, Dragon is pure GOLD!  Triples workflow efficiency and I have accomplished many a 10k day simply due to this magical software.

Next on my must haves list is Evernote.  I have this installed on my cell, tablet, and Laptop and it instantly synchronizes all of my writing files, character pictures, and audio dictation (on its own recording device, which stores the audio note right in the file).  This tool has saved me a lot of time in finding things.  I am that scattered writer that has too many balls in the air and I lose things, or forget things pretty easily.  I have my very best ideas on I-270 just as I’m getting off at my exit on the way to my office, I don’t have time to boot up my laptop or stop and write everything down. *I’m a busy girl* so I push a button on my cell, and say my idea.  Its waiting for me on my laptop ready to be torn apart by lunchtime. :)

For inspiration: the blogs of Writing Excuses (all aspiring writers need to listen to this audio podcast, the lessons here are amazing!), The Serial Killer Files, and (as above) Pretentious Title, along with The Paperback Writer, and John Brown are all invaluable tools to get me excited about my craft!  These blogs are TREASURES! Way better than any book about writing (save one: Stephen King’s ON WRITING, is a MUST HAVE!) :) *really*

And last, but not least: Windows Live Writer. This software lets me slam out a blog post in record time from my desktop. *sweet*

Oh, and I almost forgot, a fun online writers group: writerscafe.org , I have met some amazing writing talent there! (set up in a myspace style format rather than forum)

I have had the busiest two weeks ever, and I have come to realize that with out the wonderful efforts of all the people who designed and brought to life these technologies and bodies of work, my writing would not be as far as it is, nor would I enjoy it as much. 

Thank you all! :)

What creative treasures can you not live without? Do share!  *I love goodies!*

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A self indulgent bit of fun...

-Part One-


            Henry sat in his chocolate leather arm chair with his legal pad in its monogrammed leather case resting on his crossed leg.  He hated that case.  Thought it was pretentious.  But it had been a gift from Carla, so he got used to it.  At thirty-five years old, he had never married, or even come close; so Carla seemed to have designated herself the woman in his life, complete with unwanted gifts and nagging.  

            Though he would never admit it, he liked her self imposed role.  Made things easier, on her as well he suspected.  Keeping what was left of the old group together was her way of holding on to what she had lost.   Growing up together, she had always mothered them.  Things had gotten a little weird for Henry when Carla (then known as Carl, in her tomboy phase) and his best friend Danny had started going steady.  This left just Henry and Danny’s little brother Jay to find ways to pass the time.   Of course they hadn’t told Henry they were foolin around; they’d just started sneaking off right around seventh grade.  One night Henry had seen Danny sneaking out of Carla’s bedroom window across the street.  Creeped him out back then, but as the years went by, he couldn’t imagine them not together. 

            They announced themselves as a bona fide couple in tenth grade, while they were hangin out in Henry’s garage.  Jay and Henry were half way through a smuggled six pack of Pabst when Danny proudly put his arm around Carla and announced the news from the door way.  Henry, sitting in a raggedy lawn chair with his feet propped up on the old Coleman cooler, leaned back to look at Jay, who was loosing a fight with the zenith’s rabbit ears.  Jay looked back at Henry, rolled his eyes and pounded a fist on the zenith. “Thanks for the update.” He mumbled. Shaking his head.

            Henry swung back around and stifled a smile into his beer.  Finishing it off in one long pull, he crushed the can and tossed it free throw style into the trash bin.  He winked at Carla, who just crossed her arms and gave him the mom look.
Danny threw both hands in the air, disappointment in his face.  “Aw, come on! You guys knew?”

Jay stopped fighting with the rabbit ears and shot and irritated look at his older brother.  “Would you notice if Henry and I started making kissy face and playing footsy under the table at Clarin’s on wing night?” He demanded.

Henry laughed.  “Sometimes, you missed Carla’s feet, brother.” This time it was Danny that got the wink and a little eyebrow.
Danny blushed, it came easily to his strawberry complexion. “Sorry.” He mumbled, rubbing the back of his neck.

Carla looked a little disappointed too, but not as much as Danny.  The secret was out, that was what mattered.  “Is that why you guy’s don’t call me Carl anymore?” she pouted, taking the empty lawn chair next to Henry’s.

Henry kicked open the cooler and snagged another beer off the bundle.  “Yeah, that just got weird.” He made a face at the thought. 

“No shit.” Jay nodded solemnly.

            Things have change a lot in twenty years. 
[Happy Saturday Friends!  Sorry about the random blog post today, but I have been writing and working on my current project all week... See you next Saturday with a shiny new post! :D ]

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Minor setbacks...

Heads up friends, this is a long one...

So, I've have some minor set backs this week, as today's header implies.  All my Twitter friends know most of this blah stuff, for I find that I whine of a semi-regular basis (sorry you guys, I'm working on it, I swear!)


First, I have been using Scrivener for just over a month now, (loving it! SO good for an organization junkie with time management issues!!) and had decided to spend the money to purchase the full edition when my free trial expired. I even spent the extra for the CD, that is how sure I was of my future with Scrivener.
So I put in my specs, get my registration number and name by email, enter everything precisely as instructed by the automated email-bot, and get this:

  Saturday - Monday - outline wordcount 9,082
... not once, but three times.  So I follow the little FAQ link, troubleshoot it out... nothin.  I troubleshoot a tad more... still nothing.  (sorry Scrivener, but that happened *I still love you*)

So, I send an email, and am sad because my WIP is all organized and pretty on my expired Scrivener Desktop and all I want is to spend some quality time with her!!! *ahem*

Not an hour after I sent that "help me I'm in dire straights!" email, do I get a walk through email from a knight in [I assume shining] armour, David, with Scrivener Tech Support/Sales Dept. 

After a few email back and forths (which he kept up with my problem and resolved promptly) I finally over came that minor setback... this was Saturday - Monday.

As a result of my Scrivener drama, however, I was in the mood to write longhand for that period of time that my computer and software weren't speaking to each other.  (and Word and I haven't been on speaking terms since NaNoWriMo, so...)

I sat in my big comfy lounge chair, next to my desk, instead of at it, hoping for a little change of pace.

I outlined several pages with my favorite pen on my favorite brand of yellow legal paper... It was so fun, and  productive! I finished the outline for the entire novel and had notes for the second book! 

When I was finished, I took my fresh pages and tore them off the legal pad, tucking them between the blank pages near the bottom of the pad so they wouldn't get wrinkly. (I don't know why I do that, I just always do.)

Which brings us to set back number two..

    Thursday - outline word count 207

I was at work, having a smashingly terrible day, but I was okay with it, because I had finished my outline and was so excited to get home and write the scene with the search warrant and the introduction of my new character, (the one that makes the story actually work!) when I get a phone call on my lunch break... it went something like this:

Nate: "hey, hunny?  were those yellow pages important?"

Me: "what yellow pa....   why????"

Nate: "well, there are yellow pages with your hand writing..."

Me: "okay....."

Nate: "Ollie ate them."

Me: *dies*

Nate: "Hello?"

Yeah.... that happened.

Bare in mind, friends that these pages were still tucked in the back of the legal pad, on a clip board, on a high counter, with a sweat shirt that I'm sure would have tasted much better right on top of them. *I'm calm*   but nnnooooooooooo....

also Thursday -  outline word count 207
However, as my Tweep, (and literary genius) @JB_Lynn_author put it: he looks satisfied, so it appears to be a satisfying story... (she is clearly a glass-half-full kind o gal! *thanks* ;)

So I picked my self up by the boot straps, and said, "Self! Tomorrow is a new day! You shall re-write your outline when you get home from work!"  I had a fairly light work load Friday, so I was hoping to leave the office a little earlier than usual...

    Friday  - outline word count 498
*heehee* hello two hour traffic jam!  where you been hidin? ;)

 this nervous breakdown has been brought to you by Blogger. *Lol* Sometimes you just gotta laugh it all off... it really is kinda funny when you put it all together like that.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Great expectations...

Expectations can potentially damage the outcome of a  productive day. 

I once took a vacation to an island that I planned out to the last day, I was just so excited!  It was a huge disappointment.  The weather was hot and sticky, the food was greasy and over cooked, the company was exhausted because the itinerary was a tad walk-heavy. By the end, we all just wanted to go home.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, my love and I went on a fairly spontaneous road trip to Fort Wayne of all places.  We shopped and ate at a Longhorns Steakhouse (best waitress ever!) and loaded up on beer, wine, and fun snacky things at the Wal-mart, and books from a local bookstore... took our spoils back to the Hyatt we'd snagged a room in, and ate, drank and watched complimentary cable for two days.  It was the best trip EVER! :)  We never planned a thing. It just happened naturally.

When our expectations are too high (or rather, too specific), and things don't go according to our plans, we get frustrated.  The process starts to feel like it's spiraling out of our hands.  And that can be trouble. 

Now, don't misunderstand me.  I'm not saying don't plan.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am a plannin fool.  I love organization,outlines, and data collection. 

I'm simply saying, don't get discouraged if your writing day does not match up with your plan/outline point by point.  Set your goals, and stick with them, but understand that shit happens, and cut yourself some slack when it does.

I'm a huge fan of the 10k writing day.  I strive for it every Saturday (and most Sundays).


If things come up, and I only write 8.5k, and 2k of that is not usable manuscript pages, but rather outline or character profiling, I'm still pretty darn happy.

There is something to be said for flexibility, and being able to take things in stride. 

Stephen King has said in articles and in his book On Writing,  that he believes "stories are found things", and I believe that is true, in the sense that if you try to force it just to hit your word count or keep up with your plan of action, it could potentially damage the story... and the fun of writing it.

Just a little reminder, creative types tend to be a bit hard on themselves... but, brilliant as we all are - we are human. ;)

What are your tips or tricks for how to shake off a less than stellar writing day?

Grounding the reader using "The Pyramid of Abstraction"

In my geekery on writing education, I have stumbled upon a concept introduced in both of these sources by Brandon Sanderson (whom I have ...