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From computer, to paper, and back again

There she goes, overthinking again

As you know, I’m trying to get through revisions of Deer Ethan so I can write a new book during Nanowrimo. And, as you know, I’ve been struggling through these revisions and attributed this to many different reasons, all of which are still applicable. But, I think I found a new one – because I can’t seem to shut my brain off when it tries to figure everything out in the attempt to find an all-encompassing solution.

Here’s my long-winded explanation of a solution

I love writing. I enjoy creating worlds where the forces of good and evil battle day in and day out, or just a space where we can question human behaviour, dancing along the edge between sanity and murderous madness and wonder if we would topple over it put in the same situations.

Side note: even though I have a degree in communications and write daily for work, I am not the best with grammar. I have an obsession with commas and unnecessarily long sentences. It’s a problem. I find it amusing that I’m the editor of an intranet, but am happy to have something that challenges me to overcome this issue.

I love editing – other people’s work anyway. When I edit, it’s mostly just to make suggestions for better ways to phrase things, or to identify holes in storylines, rather than for grammar.

Anywho, I was listening to a podcast which covered how Neil Gaiman (my idol) works. He writes his first draft out in long hand, and then his second draft comes from fixing it as he types it. That’s it. He doesn’t revise afterwards, other than to send it to an editor.

While I don’t believe I could get away with only writing and revising once, it does make me question my process of writing a book in 30 days, and then having to basically rewrite the entire thing, because, for me, writing fast doesn’t equate to writing well. (Note: count how many commas I had in the last sentence. See? It’s crazy.) Maybe that’s why I am having such a hard time with revisions, because I’m not revising. I’m rewriting. The whole damned book.

I know rewriting some sections of a book during the revision process is likely to happen no matter how I get the first draft out, but rewriting the entire thing is another monster.

I think for my next book, I want to try writing it differently. I’m going to try Neil Gaiman’s process, and I’m not going to stuff it into 30 days. I’m still aiming to finish revisions on Deer Ethan by the end of this month, so that goal is the same, but I won’t be participating in Nanowrimo.

I still love Nanowrimo

Nanowrimo was a great experience for me. Through it, I learned I have the ability to write a novel. Many of them, in fact. And now, I get to take that knowledge and experience and build on it to start writing great novel-length stories. I’m excited.

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Solution: Force the levees to break

Can we fix it? Yes, we can!

It’s only been a few days since my last post, but I think it acted as a form of emotional catharsis. Since I wrote it, I’ve successfully jotted down multiple ideas in a notebook, read a lot, revised some of my own novel, finished a draft of an article for Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, and started building questions for my next interview.

The parts that I’m most proud of from the list above, are the revisions on my novel and having the notebook on hand to write something down on (thanks to a good friend for buying one and handing it to me moments before a Ghost Walk).

Now, I’m not saying that I am fully healed and set to go. No. But when I woke up this morning, I took a deep breath and instead of launching myself into my regular routine that prioritizes everything else but writing, I stayed in bed and read. I started my day off with words. I gave myself permission to do so, which, for me, is very hard to do.

I think admitting to and letting out what I had been feeling gave me a sliver of acceptance. It’s out there now. I don’t have to swallow it anymore. Here’s an alliteration party for you: swallowing slivers sucks.

I’m thoroughly convinced now that this blog is going to be an important piece of the motivational puzzle that helps me get through the revisions on my novel, and back on the consistent writing train. These posts will act as breadcrumbs on my trail home.

…sick of the cliché’s yet? Me too.

Signing off,

Angela

Thanks for reading!

Stoked about Scrivener

As I placed this into my post, I heard a choir of angels singing ‘hallelujah.’

I bought Scrivener when I first took on the Nanowrimo challenge in 2013, but only used it like a word processor. Not really getting any additional benefit out of it, I went back to using my trusty old Microsoft Word. I was a fool! A fool, I tell ya! I can also tell you, that feeling underwhelmed by the program was entirely my fault.

I recently opened it back up in an attempt to organize myself better with this next novel, which would ideally lead to making the revision process a bit easier. I dedicated a few hours to running over the tutorial and picked out just a few of the features I now absolutely love, to share with you.

  1. Character and setting sheets. Holy Hannah! These are fantastic! You can set up templates and just fill in the gaps, save it all into the same project and continually refer to them to stay on point and not mix up your details and descriptions. It’s even cooler when you use split screen and just have it open while you write. Simple things make me happy. Simple things that don’t let me change my character names throughout the book make me ecstatic.
  2. Meta data and keywords. These blew my mind. Which doesn’t take too much to do, apparently. :/ You can pick out keywords on pages that you’ll want to keep track of, set them in the Inspector, and easily be able to find when you last wrote about them, keeping your story and details aligned. You can also create a collection with all of these and view it all in a continuous page. Amazing, right?!
  3. Taking a screenshot in the Inspector before you edit anything. This keeps your old copy and if you hate the edits you made, or are worried about something you deleted that may have been integral to the story later, you can click ‘rollback’ and bam, your old work is back!

These are just a few of the features that I can recall and which stood out for me because of my own specific writing challenges. I imagine the more I use it and learn it, I’ll find more amazing pieces that make my writing a bit easier to manage.

If you’re interested in owning this, you can access Scrivener on PC, Mac, iPhones and iPads. I don’t know about other smartphones, I’m sure you can look and see if you’re really interested. If you can’t find it, email them, demand that this be made available to you because you deserve its amazingness (I believe it’s my duty as a writer, to create new words. You’re welcome.) in your very own life.

I’d love to hear about what programs or apps you use and why they sing to your wordsmithing (see above bracketed comment) heart. Comment below! Tell me!