Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Writing Through the Crap

Life has a funny habit of  making people miserable. Things were definitely working their way toward improving the last couple of months - there was steady work, school was going well, and I was beginning to feel like I was going to make it through this current rough patch more unscathed than usual.

Due to a rather long and confounding chain of events, school is currently being put on hold. It was a decision that had to be made, even if it was not my first choice. At this point in time it is the best choice. With school put on hold, I can focus on the other motivating factor in my life at this point - getting more work.

Work seems ever more difficult to come by. It seems like everyone is out there looking, trying to get their foot in the door somewhere. I have filled out my fair share of applications.  Most of the time I don't hear anything back.  But interestingly, I did receive two emails in the last two weeks for jobs I had applied for months ago. They both decided to go in another direction.  I have been supremely grateful that I am currently employed, and the work I have been seeking is to supplement rather than act as my only income.

All is not doom and gloom however. I did hear back from one company that has my resume. I have an interview tomorrow, 10/01/2014. I am very excited and a little nervous. However, this nervous energy is fueling my desire to achieve more. I am hoping to be fully prepared for the interview tomorrow.  I would love to hear about a start date sooner rather than later.

On the writing front, I just yesterday deleted most of the progress I had made in my current writing project.  Thanks to Scrivener, I still have access to the cut material, but it is safely stored in my trashcan for easy retrieval, should I change my mind.

Normally, this event would be classified by me as a bad thing.  However, I learned as I was writing that the format the project took at the time no longer fits. I am no longer writing a short story.  Instead, I am working on a piece of writing that will end up at least novella length.  This prospect is intimidating, but I am looking forward to seeing how my new idea turns out.  has anyone out there completely changed the format, plot, or characters in their works?  How did it turn out? Am I going to regret the time that I spent changing up the format and the plot to fit my newer idea about how the story should proceed?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Looking for Inspiration

So, I have to be honest. Two weeks ago I had a flurry of energy and began to dive into some of my projects with a great deal of gusto. I copied everything over into Scrivener for my in progress projects, reformatted, and expanded one of them. I was feeling motivated and happy. Now, things are picking up at work, My class schedule is making setting aside a consistent amount of time for writing difficult to say the least, and I may be suffering from some mild writer’s block.
So, I am turning to the blog to hopefully get the creative juices flowing again. Usually putting some words down, any words, help me to regain focus so that I can do some more interesting writing.
My rambling topic of the evening is going to be Steampunk. Now, when I say steampunk, I’m not referring to the girls wearing gears for jewelry and funky frilly skirts and top hats - I’m talking about Jules Verne, using the technology of the day within his stories, and expanding upon them in ways that were impossible, but at the same time, all too plausible in the minds of Victorian readers during an age of expansion and exploration.I know that Verne lived before the "steampunk" nomenclature was implemented to this particular style of writing, but he counts as a steampunk author doesn't he?
I remember reading Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in 80 Days and 20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea, and being totally enraptured by the ideas that were put forth. I am more of a steampunk adventure enthusiast, rather than a Steampunk romance or erotica enthusiast (I learned that this was a thing through a couple of unfortunate purchases from Amazon’s Kindle Store. Who knew?)
I think in that respect, I was most affected by Around the World in 80 Days, As the high-flying adventures of Phileas Fogg inspired my own personal work. The idea of flying from one point to another in a hot air balloon (or zeppelin,dirigible, or airship) harkens back to those stories, and to a time where even though the stories might be a bit outlandish, the fun of the adventure allowed people to suspend disbelief long enough to get lost in the story.
I think the inspirations all writers have throughout their lives helps them through the difficult parts of writing. When we cannot think of a way out of the plot developments that have occurred, or when the ideas that were so good when we first sat down to write suddenly look silly or worse yet, bad, once the story has begun to be written.
For others that write, what are your thoughts? Do you have a particular Author or genre you read to find inspiration when writer’s block hits? What inspires you to write? I’d love to hear from you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Writing Tools: Scrivner vs. Writeitnow

    I sit here looking at my newly formatted draft of my current work in progress (possible title Mademoiselle Durand and the Accursed Box,but still not 100% on that)and realized that I wanted to post on this blog, so as not to lose all of my writing momentum. So, as I mentioned in post number one, I am going to speak about the writing tools that I own, and transferring between the two.

Let me begin by saying that I found Writeitnow back in about 2007, I believe. I had just barely decided that I wanted to write, and was looking for a tool that would work for me and work better than MS Word. Word is an effective tool for basic word processing, but for anyone working on a novel-length work, it just does not work at all. I like to occasionally revisit certain sections and verify that my plot is coming along correctly and that I have not forgotten any key details in my story. Word is not conducive to this.

I fell in love with Writeitnow for the simple fact that you could split your work up into smaller pieces. Chapters work well, but I like smaller sections still. So the scenes were just what I needed to keep my work manageable.

In addition, the character tab was a wonderful surprise. I was able to track my characters by name, their relationships with other characters, their personalities, and I could even link back to their name, so I could double check things like their physical description, or to make sure that two enemies were not suddenly laughing and joking together for no reason.

I would have been perfectly happy to stay with Writeitnow for years to come. But then along came Scrivener. It does much of what Writeitnow does, except it does it with style. Panache. Is that really necessary in a word processing tool? Probably not - but…pretty! 

See, I'm even using it to write this very post.

Each tool within Scrivener is much more intuititive to use than in Writeitnow. The storyboard in Writeitnow is similar to the Corkboard in Scrivener, for example, but Scrivener made it all so much more attractive, and easier to navigate. The fact that without leaving my current page, I can change the view from the text screen, to the corkboard, then the outliner, and then back to text, is a wonderful thing. Plus it can all be done without losing my place in my current document. Add to that the fact that Scrivener is being actively updated, and I have definitely been won over.

Really, the only area that Writeitnow has the upper hand, in my own humble opinion, is in the character generation and tracking. Scrivener has a simple worksheet where you can input character details, but that is it. I do not know if there is anything resembling Writeitnow’s character tools in the more up-to-date Mac version, but if not, maybe that is something that could be enhanced in future versions or updates.

With all of the Scrivener-love I’ve been feeling, there was one downside to the process that bears a small mention - the transfer of my files from one format to another. My short story was not a big problem, as it is still in the early stages. However, a novel that is already over a hundred pages, already split into Writeitnow’s scenes required a long copy and paste session to get the transfer completed. Of course, now that I said that, I am sure I will learn that there was a simpler way.

Either way, I am happy with my purchase, and am pleased as punch to be a Scrivener user.