Monday, December 28, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
As promised, I spent the week investigating tools to keep me organized as I write. Keep the focus. Well, low and behold, I found a software program designed for just that. I downloaded a trial version of Scrivener and have been playing with it all week. I’ll dedicate this blog to sharing some observations.
Bottom line first? I like it. My WIP is currently at 40,000, intended for about 50,000. I entered all my info into Scrivener and used it in place of Word to continue with the final chapters. Here are some observations of this experience.
The bulletin board is awesome. I can “post” note cards with all my chapter notes and color code them based on whatever category I choose. I chose to make the thumbtacks a different color for whatever POV I was in. Then I put “stamps” on for the heat level of a chapter.
The word processing is about the same as Word, only not quite as smooth. I figured when the story is written, I will do the final formatting and such in Word.
It has a word usage feature. You can scan each chapter to see which words you use A LOT. I did one chapter and it found the word “like” twenty seven times. Yikes…
It has an outliner, but honestly, I did not use it much. I like the bulletin board. It’s visual and so am I.
So does it make you a better writer? No. If you write lousy opening the software, you’ll write lousy closing it. It does nothing to help flesh out character arcs or plot. But it’s not designed for that. It has tremendous value in keeping your details organized and before your eyes. Don’t remember what points you brought up in chapter six? It’s right in front of you on the BB.
I haven’t decided if I will buy it. There are other software packages that might be better, and I will probably give them a quick spin. But I give this one a thumbs up. It does exactly what I have tediously done in an Excel spreadsheet, only with fun colors and a make-believe bulletin board.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I love cats. I have three -- one new little kitten that sniffs my eyes at three in the morning. So when I sat down for a final read on my latest work before submitting it to the Gods, I was crestfallen to realize -- I lost my cat.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
What an amazing feeling. . . people will read words that I wrote. Some will be titillated, some will be bored. Heck, some will be offended. I play with the idea that literature is freedom of speech. It's fiction and I made up every word. Over 70,000 of them, strung together into a fictional tale. And to think there is a handful of totally new people walking around in the world that I molded and crafted. Metaphorically of course. Makes me realize how important it is to give them some depth. To extend the metaphor, a weakly created character is like a two-dimensional paper doll. She can't survive in a 3D world.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
So I have these three characters, and they are all significant. A hero, a heroine and an antagonist. As I move along in my writing, I find that I’m developing a big crush on my antagonist. Now we can analyze till the cows come home what this says about my psychological balance – or imbalance – but what does it mean for my story?
Can everybody in the story have a happy ending? Is that just a little to warm and fuzzy? I don’t want this guy to crash and burn. In fact I want him to get lucky. I might even pull a switcheroo and hook him up with the heroine for a quick fling.
I know – my story, and if it is well written then no harm no fowl. I’m trying to think of the last book I read where everybody takes the high road. Even Dickens had Uriah Heep to dump on in the end.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Huh? What exactly does that mean? Funny, but I can only come up with what it doesn’t mean.
It’s not making every one in the story a baritone.
It’s not blathering on and on with backstory. You may achieve depth of story – but that is a tightrope of another kind.
It’s not opening the lid on your characters head and sharing every stinking synapse that fires. I’ve gone down that road and ended with a chapter of giant yawns.
So…? I’ve gone to my humble library shelf of “you can write a novel!” references. No glossary definition. Is this like snapping a picture of sunbeams after a rainbow? If it happens, it’s beautiful. But you’re as surprised as anyone when it does.
Is it like a runner’s high? You’ve heard other people get them, but for you, it remains a myth.
Here’s a shot. Depth of voice means getting into your characters head to reveal pertinent observations about the current setting/situation. It’s controlled wading into murky waters. Watch your step cuz you can’t see the bottom, but step carefully and your toes will gather enough data to keep you going.
Yes, it’s sunbeams after a rainbow. I know when I’ve captured a rich, creative, dynamic snapshot. The scene pops. But I also know when I’ve captured a surficial image of a pretty landscape. Nice, but not on fire. Now if can only figure out the literary “camera settings” to capture the first one every time.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I’ve observed the parallels between writing and painting. For me, it seems the processes are darn near identical. But now I am feeling the secondary ripple of similarity and I don’t like it.
I remain humble in my writing accomplishments, and probably will until I see my name on a bestseller list. But here I sit with two books pending release, and I am terrified to write another word. Holy cow, is that like the torments of a visual artist? Yes.
I remember a landscape I painted – it hangs in my sister’s hall. Everything worked in that painting. The lighting, the textures, the mood, my technique. I received a tiny bit of acclaim (local – all local, perhaps so local as to be largely in my head…) but I couldn’t paint anything for months after that. And it’s not like I didn’t pick up the brushes. I made valiant attempts. But everything looked drab and lacking.
Now I sit with my computer on my lap and pound out pages. The words reread like the ramblings of an idiot. Or they sound technical, like someone afraid to dig deep.
Here’s another parallel. When I was in junior high I tried vaulting. Ya know, like in gymnastics? I ran and pounced and flew over the horse like a champ. I was good. The next day in school, everyone high-fived me and the hallway talk was all about the new fabulous vaulter.
You guessed it. The next gymnastics practice I sucked. Couldn’t vault to save my life.
Is there a pill for this? Is this classic performance anxiety? Clearly I am prone to it – whatever it is. Help!