Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I Tried Scrivener and Never Went Back.

Most likely if you’re a writer, you’ve heard of Scrivener. It's a word processor, but also designed to help organize your projects. It happened to be on sale for half price ($20 at the time back in early November 2015,) so this motivated me give it a try. It's been a big help to me, so I thought I'd share a little about it. 

This is the left side of the screen. The side bar is called the binder. It’s very similar to the way folders and files are organized in Windows, so I found it easy to learn. For example, if you are working in chapter 25 and you make some changes that won’t make sense unless you adjust chapter 5, it’s easy to jump on over to chapter 5 and make the change.

The other advantage is that it’s easy to change the order of the chapters/scenes. You can drag drop chapters around in the binder. There are also different views you can use for this, such as the corkboard view. 

I used corkboard view more in the beginning of my current novel when I was doing a lot of outlining. The lower half of the binder has the “research” section. It makes it very easy to keep various notes organized. 

This is the right side of the screen. This section is called the Inspector. You don’t have to have the inspector open (or the binder.) However, I have them both on at all times. The inspector has a note card for each chapter, which is handy for putting a summary. Then there is also the “Document Notes” section. I have all the character names in there and recently (since I’m working on the last 25% of the story) I have an outline in there as well. 

There is a lot more I could describe, but I believe you can try it for 30 days free.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Stars Wars: The Original Characters come to life. #nospoilers

Last Friday evening I went and saw Star Wars “The Force Awakens.” My daughter was like “Oh alright, I’ll go with you, Mom.” Gee, thanks. She’s fifteen, and to her Star Wars is some geeky thing from my era. I get into these debates with her where she doesn’t appreciate certain things the way I do or she thinks I’m inept at using certain devices, like an Xbox. One time I said, “My generation is the one who gave you the iPhone, so if it wasn’t for us you wouldn’t have it at all, so don’t make fun of me.”

Anyway, after waiting in a long line for about an hour, we found some seats. Right away excitement was buzzing through the audience as if they were starving for Star Wars. When the title flashed on the screen with that music, there were several shouts and whistles of excitement.

I loved the movie and it made me realize the advantage of having the original actors back again regardless of their age. Seeing Han, Leia, and Luke made for some magical moments. Not meaning to sound cheesy, but every time one of them made their first appearance the audience squealed with delight. It was as if they were seeing a long lost friend. I can only conclude that bringing back the original actors for sequels is an advantage. They are the ones the people fell in love with and want to see. Other familiar ships, objects (and some side characters) from the first movies were also slipped into the movie, so your mind just jumps back to it. It’s a smart way to hook people. It’s also ideal to have the new characters meeting the old ones and actually doing something with them.

Meanwhile, when I came home around 9:30 p.m. I was wide awake. Usually, I can’t keep my eyes open on a Friday night. Not this time. I ended up staying up until 1 a.m. because I was just too wound up.

As for my daughter….

“You liked it, didn’t you?” I asked, already knowing.

“Yes, I wanted to see it.”

It’s satisfying to pass on an understanding of something good to your children.

Merry Christmas everyone.