Tag Archives: scrivener

Mish Mash Part Two

That’s all today is. I’m not feeling very wisdomous today so it’s just going to be a bit of everything.

I had a goal for the month going, based on a prompt list I made back in February. These are just all sorts of different ideas I’ve come up with and been given in the months, along with novel goals and the like, to go back to on days where I want something to do. Altogether, typically the number is around 45-40. I started at 30, in Feb/March. But it keeps growing, For every one that I take off, two more get put on.

So this month was 15. Last month there was none because of Camp, and the month before was 15. I’m sitting at 45 today. And after my writing frenzy, I’m just feeling like going a little slower. So I’ve made up to 10 so far… And there are three days left in the month. And I’ve spent a few hours so far just playing in Scrivener instead.

Scrivener, by the way, is very nice. It’s huge, but it’s nice. I geeked out to the max when I got it, I was so excited. There is a way to transfer things over to Scriv, but I’ve been doing it manually. It is a heavy program, like I said; every time you create something new, it’s a project. It’s not RTF, it’s a scriv file, that gets its own folder. So it’s not like notepad or Roughdraft where you can just open it up and start writing. No, this is all about commitment. Not bad, but can tend to be a little intimidating.

That said, there are still a lot of good features to it that are definitely worth the money and the effort. If you ever get flustered or don’t know what to do with something, don’t worry, the tutorial is HUGE. Absolutely enormous.

I wanted to get my novel is ship shape for Scriv, which, maybe I should have just transferred, but it’s going well. I still have yet to use all of the tools and really do it up– probably do that tomorrow or later tonight– but I’m working on a different project for now.

Even if you can’t afford Scrivener, and you want to give it a look-see, you can trial it for a month and see how you like it. If you’re a big project builder, I recommend it. If you’re someone who has lots of smaller projects, maybe not. Something that Friend pointed out was that since it’s not RTF it doesn’t have much flexibility on where you can read it, if you have a machine that doesn’t have Scriv. So that’s kind of turning me off, but I still like it, overall.

I’ve been slacking, but this month has been kind of a bad one. Next month will be better. And then it gets cooler and I don’t have to worry about sweating buckets when I take the trash out.

I think next month also starts the NaNo prep, officially. Know what you’re going to write yet? Because I sure the hell don’t. I thought about pantsing it, but I am so not a pantser by nature. It’s one of those, “challenge yourself” deals. Just in case I ever need to pants again, which I did a lot of in July. But I have a few ideas, one which came from a really strange but awesome dream, in fact. We’ll see which one wins.

I was looking at thought bubbles the other day, at a particularly hilarious post she made about Camp Nano, and there was one thing that stuck with me after that. We strive for 50k words during that month, but no, it’s not technically a novel. Novels are a lot bigger. They take more time and energy and thoughtfulness and care and all sorts of things, but, there are some that are within the 50-100k range. Young Adult novels, novellas especially. I imagine Ocean at the End of the Lane by Niel Gaiman was somewhere under the 100k mark, since the book was 180-190ish pages long.

At that note, though, I do want to write something that I can finish in a month. I want something I can see the end to without breaking it into a trilogy. Friend has made a few of those, but never went back to the stories to revise or edit anything. I want something I can manage in that month, and work on, that’s malleable and finish-able in under a year, even if the intention is not to publish it. I like finishing things. It feels good.

Lazy day abounds, though. I think I’ll finish my work in Scrivener and then work on the chores of the day. Tomorrow will have some kind of wisdom, I think.

-The Novice Wordsmith

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Running and Writing

I’ve made analogies to this before, they’re all spread through my posts, and the obvious reason for it is that I’m both a runner and a writer. I can see too many similarities to the two to ignore.

Both are free activities, but getting more gear and finding things to help your stride both in wordcount and in miles or minutes ran can get expensive. You can do both on your own, or with a group. Most importantly, both are done at your own pace.

In the writing community, our Boston Marathon can be equated to NaNoWriMo. I’ve heard my friend tell me about a woman who beats out everyone in his region to 50k, and she does triple that in the month, but she’s always the first to get it. Though, National Novel Writing Month isn’t so much about how fast you win, but that you won at all, and how many words you got out of the month.

Going at your own pace is a huge point to me, I remember looking at a favorite author of mine writing about how she got out so many pages in a day (which I knew how to translate to how many thousands of words she did, and it immediately blew my mind); she was doing, on a bad day, triple what I was doing on a good day. Then again, I had only just become more prolific, but it was still boggling. How could someone get out that much in so little time?

Practice. Dedication. Hard work. She knew what she was doing, she was a professional author of 20 years, and I was, and am, just a beginner, but I’m getting there.

Sometimes you find people with bad form and posturing, and they may get past the finish line, but what does their progress look like? Let’s take some highly ridiculed books, for example, Fifty Shades of Grey, or Twilight. They get the most praise for crossing the finish line, but they struggled through the race, and none of what they did to get there is recommended.

On that note: rough drafts are like training for a marathon or a 5k for the first time. You go back out again and again to improve as much as possible until you finally finish with a product you love, and that becomes your race day. When you’ve ┬ámade it out with a winner’s medal and a grin on your face and the final copy in your hand.

On the more professional side, and in obvious news, you can make a career of both, or you could do either just for enjoyment. It is what you make of it. If running gives you clarity, keep going. If writing fills your head with impossible ideas that you’ve fallen in love with, don’t stop now.

Running in the rain is just as thrilling to me as a capturing story writing itself. Writing without much of a muse or inspiration is like running in thick humidity: so impossible that I’ll hate myself for even trying.

And it’s just as well; there are those who don’t care for running as a way to get active and fit, and those who don’t care or try to get the grasp of writing. To them, there’s no enjoyment in it, which is to be expected.

I’ve written more at length about writing for enjoyment, here, but it’s hard not to brush up on it again. Though there is a lot of focus on writing to get published and getting your works out across the world for people to see and devour and adapt into movies and what have you, there’s also a desire to simply write because you want to. Running has a pressure on races and qualifications, but if it’s not something you want to do, you shouldn’t. Hell, I still haven’t done a 5k and I’ve been running for almost three years.

Races can get pricey, though. Themed races especially, but most marathons and 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, usually require an entry fee. The gear you should have to help you achieve more for running can also get expensive. As a writer, I haven’t run into much expense, other than what I donate to nano, or the shirts I was thinking of buying, or the copy of Scrivener┬áthat I got this month… If you wanted to attend the Night of Writing Dangerously, though, it could make your wallet weep. That was the only qualifier I could think of for writing, too, while there are countless races you need to qualify for in running.

Then there are the more obvious splits: running is physical, writing is mental. Running can create or perpetuate health problems, or even alleviate, but writing does not help in any direction physically. Writing instead helps your vocabulary, your imagination and creativity, your brain growth and personal development.

It’s an insight I couldn’t keep to myself for much longer, and one I do enjoy thinking about. Both writing and running have helped shape me as a person, but I’m sure they aren’t the only two activities that hold so many similarities. Whatever you enjoy, however you spend your days, it’s likely not very hard to find likenesses in them. After all, you do like them for a reason, right?

-The Novice Wordsmith

Writing Software: Pick Your Poison

This comes as inspiration from a coupon in my goodie bag from winning Camp NaNoWriMo this month, which offers 50% off from Scrivener with a code that you’ll receive on August 1.

Of course, upon further inspection, I see that this offer is something you also received from winning NaNoWriMo proper, which makes sense. That’s a story for another day: all of the coupons and goodies and free stuff and offers you can get simply from finishing that’s actually rather neat. I’d only really looked at the front page of the goodies instead of getting into it before, but now I’m definitely excited for November, considering some offers expire quickly.

Scrivener isn’t the only one that you get discounts on. There’s Aeon Timeline as well, and Storyist (for Mac only).

I had started to look into Scrivener to check out just what it was about and got pretty excited. A lot of what it has to offer seems extremely helpful, the outliner, the text editing, snapshots, name generator, corkboard for notes, being able to pile a whole novel together but separate it by chapter.

Then, I started to wonder how much of those features I would actually use.

At the moment, I use Roughdraft. Google docs is a close second because it’s a cloud based system I can get into through my e-mail, and it counts wordcount, but nothing feels as light and as fluent with my style as Roughdraft does. Which, that alone is a little funny because I was so resistant to getting it and dragging all of my files over, but none of that was a pain.

Roughdraft is lightweight, runs on RTF format, it doesn’t take much to boot up, it’s very minimalistic, you have a notepad on the side you can type in (great for when I was doing NaNo and could tell myself what needed to be changed in revisions, or clips I needed for later inspiration), a tab for inserts, a tab for lists, and a whole lotta shortcuts. This was the first program other than what I saw in Google docs that counted words, and that was nifty as hell to me in the beginning.

I am very pleased with it now, but I can’t help but wonder if Scrivener’s extra tools and features might be nice or helpful to me.

There are, of course, others who could do without it all. People like George RR Martin who still write in DOS on WordStar 4.0, who don’t need anything but to type. Then there are people who need the extra help, or who appreciate it.

Three things I do need, absolutely, is something capable of telling me my wordcount, something I can tag notes on, and the ability to turn off live spellcheck so I can ignore the squigglies when I come up with names like Sonas Barrin or Vitenia Bruch. I can live on that. Though the auto-save function is also super.

For the longest time, Wordpad and Notepad were enough for me. I used them primarily until my friend introduced me to Roughdraft, and I’d call my life changed from then on. I can handle simple, basic, but when is bare-bones too bare?

I enjoy having extra to play with, too, but what cost does it come with other than monetary? Am I going to end up using what I have at my fingertips, or will it go mostly ignored?

It is good to get outside of your comfort zone a little, I’ll be the first to say, but everyone has their limits on how much they can handle or want to handle. What the bandwidth in their head is for fancy frills that they need to keep track of. It’s all about finding your groove and what program fits it best, whether it’s DOS or the latest writing software to date.

-The Novice Wordsmith