A post-Christmas post

Writing just do it

Hey everyone. I hope this post finds you well and that you all had a fantastic Christmas. I did. It was quiet and uneventful (apart from the usual family-seeing, opening-presents time) but good. It was lovely to catch up with my brother and sister who I don’t see that often.

Well I’m still working away on my current novel-to-be Reunion. I did over 1100 words on it yesterday, so I’m pleased with how it’s going. I hope to publish it some time in 2014.

I haven’t found the process of self-publishing entirely easy, but then I don’t think any self-published author I’ve been in contact with has. My debut novel The Inheritance hasn’t done as well as I would have liked. Like my good friend Jade Reyner I’ve experienced some, shall we say, less than favourable reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

But it’s easy to focus on the negatives. I’ve had plenty of good reviews too and that keeps me going. Also as my husband is quick to remind me, I wasn’t originally going to publish The Inheritance and it’s largely down to him that I did. He felt it was important for me to have a book out there being read by people, to have the experience of self-publishing.

And I have to say I get a real buzz seeing it on Amazon and Goodreads, getting feedback from people who’ve read it, even if that feedback isn’t always positive. Now that I’ve been through the process of self-publishing a novel and learning to market it, I feel stronger as a writer. I’m constantly learning – aren’t we all – and I feel that my writing style is improving.

So I hope that when I come to publish Reunion, which is more of a straightforward romance than The Inheritance, my acquired knowledge of self-publishing will stand me in good stead.

On another note, but related to writing, I’ve given up with Scrivener. A week or so ago I had another play around with it and I couldn’t make sense of it. It just seems so complex and I was going round in circles with it. Luckily I didn’t lose any work as I just copied and pasted from Word into Scrivener. But it was really frustrating for me to not get anywhere with it. What I really need is to sit down with a physical person at my desk who is experienced with using Scrivener and can teach me how to use it.

Till then I’m sticking with Word! Or for the moment at least anyway. It’s a far simpler programme than Scrivener and far easier to navigate my way around! I wonder if there’s a way for the people who developed Scrivener to make it more user friendly?

Anyway I’d love to hear your reflections on your writing experiences of 2013 and if you’ve had more success (or less if that’s possible!) with Scrivener than me.

Until next time… Happy New Year for 2014!

To Scrivener or not to Scrivener??

Scrivener

I wanted to comment on my experiments with Scrivener and what I’m making of it.

Back in September I downloaded a free trial of Scrivener to see what I thought of it. Since then I’ve been a bit of a chicken and I’ve barely looked at it. Although I had made some headway with the tutorial, I was finding it very complex and a lot to take in.

My husband suggested I just forget the tutorial and simply play around with it to get a feel for what it’s like. I couldn’t even work out how to get past the tutorial; he had to show me lol. Anyway today I was having a proper go for the first time.

And I have to say I’m unsure about it. My husband’s offered to buy it for me for Christmas if I’d like it. But like I say I’m in two minds about it. Yes it’s very clever and allows you to do all sorts of things to assist your writing, such as making it easier to plan by having easy access to all your ideas and thoughts on different aspects of your story.

It also enables you to navigate much more easily between the different parts of your work, so that if you need to go back and amend things or refer to passages you’ve already written in a chapter way back, it doesn’t take forever. That’s the idea anyway.

But I didn’t get that far today. I barely did anything – at least it felt that way even though I spent quite a long time playing around with it. I’m definitely going to keep plugging away at it to see if I could get used to it. The thing is though I found myself getting rid of things I didn’t mean to get rid of and then not being able to access them again.

Scrivener just seems so vast in terms of what it allows you as the author to do. And so complicated! People have said to me that Word is easy by comparison and that’s so true. It’s like I really REALLY want to love Scrivener. I can see the potentially enormous benefits of it to my writing.

But if I can’t get to grips with it, even the basic stuff then there’s going to be a problem. My friend and fellow author Jade Reyner uses it and has written about her problems with it here and here. She’s getting on all right with it now I think.

I just hope that if I give it a bit longer before my free trial runs out, that I can maybe make some headway with it and perhaps just perhaps get used enough to using it that I can say ‘yep, Scrivener’s definitely for me’.

Or maybe it’s a case of square peg, round hole…

What are your thoughts on Scrivener? Have you/do you use it and if so what do you make of it?

Editing whilst writing first draft

For practically the first time since starting this blog, I’m not putting an image with the blog post.  Honestly I just can’t be bothered, it’s too time consuming and there are other things I want to do this evening apart from blogging.

The title of this post is fairly self explanatory.  I’ve been working at my current WIP for a while today and yet I haven’t got much to show for it in terms of a word count.  That’s because I’ve been going through what I’ve already written and trying to iron out inconsistencies.

You might say I should leave that for when I edit the first draft.  But the thing is my memory isn’t always fantastic and I just want to make sure I make what I’ve written make sense before I forget exactly what it was I wanted to correct.  (OK, yes I am aware I’m repeating the word ‘make’ too much!!)  My MC is a writer herself – a much more successful one than me so I guess you could say I’m living vicariously through her!

She’s writing a novel but my problem was my inconsistencies about exactly which stage she is at with it at different points in the story.  And believe me, my storytelling was all over the place when it came to my character’s novel.  At some points she’d just finished it, at other points she was still making notes for a plan for it.  Anyway, you get my drift.

So I felt I really needed to alter it now while what I’ve been writing is still fresh in my mind.  Trouble was I kept having to scroll up and down the page in Word to search for what I wanted to amend.  Apparently Scrivener is meant to be an excellent programme for authors, particularly for times just like this.  I downloaded a free trial of it which I haven’t made much use of yet – I keep meaning to have a go with it properly but haven’t got round to it yet.

Word is simple yes, but it doesn’t do much for you in this situation.   I really need to be able to access information quickly without having to go back and forth getting completely lost.

How about you?  Do you edit a bit before finishing your first draft?  And have you tried/do you have Scrivener?  If so, what are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear them. :)