Friday, November 04, 2011

Scrivener to the Rescue

During this year's NaNoWriMo I'm trying out something new. New to me, at least. the software is Scrivener, a computer program that has been available to Mac lovers for years. If I'd known about this writing environment, I'd have been tempted to buy a Mac. Now, the Windows trial version is available. It works amazingly well for those millions of writers who don't work chronologically.

This little beauty actually leaps that hurdle. It keeps everything organized and yet allows you to word out of chronological order. In the upper right of the screen shot is much loved note card. In the center is the editor window which can be split either horizontally or vertically which allows the writer to work on two different areas of the compiled manuscript at once.

The Scrivener tutorial suggests that you think as though every scene or whatever small block of material you're working with as having an index card attached to it. If you click on a different folder in the Binder--that's the section at the far left--the scenes in that folder become visible. Click on one of those scenes and that scene opens up as well as that block of text's index card.

The top, bottom or both windows of the editor can be viewed in the corkboard that shows your that particular folder's index cards.

I'm using this program for NaNoWriMo and so far haven't had any problem. This program is a good one. And, if you're participating in NaNo, you can get a free Windows trial version that will work until the middle of December. Their web site is:

Thursday, November 03, 2011

On Your Marks, Get Set, Stop?

Say what?

Yes, I know. On Monday night I was so ready to start writing on this year's NaNoWriMo. Then the contest bug bit me. It's been a long time. The contest is the Silicon Valley Chapter of RWA's 2011 Gotcha contest. Just send in the first fifteen pages of an unpublished manuscript. Simple, right? Wrong.

I'm a failed perfectionist, and it's difficult for me to let the pages slip from my fingers until I'm certain I can do no better. That's why I'm a compulsive re-writer. So, I pulled out a couple of manuscripts and started polishing. Yesterday, alone I printed and tweaked those fifteen pages three times. I'm not too embarrassed to say that one of those was to check each comma against the Chicago Manual of Style. Then, I printed that second entry once again this morning. Almost any writer will tell you that text looks differently on a screen than on paper. Different things pop out.

So, what's my word count on NaNo after two full days? Two hundred eleven words. But, like Scarlett O'Hara said, tomorrow is another day. I'm a really fast typist.