I promised an update on my switch from manual story-boarding to the oh-so-organized Scrivener. I started my new project on the new software two weeks ago. And got absolutely nowhere with it.
My lack of progress was only partly due to the software, which has excellent capabilities but felt very cumbersome to me.
Corkboard was awesome. I love the way it interacts with the document. My story-board and desk are always a complete mess by the time hit the middle of a book. Unfortunately, corkboard was the only thing I liked about Scrivener. Maybe it was the PC version, but the software was annoyingly laggy on both my desktop and my brand new laptop. I’d type a sentence, but the words wouldn’t appear on the screen for a second or two. This drove me crazy.
Next, I assumed that sticking the basics wouldn’t involve much of a learning curve, and that only advanced features would be difficult. I was wrong. Doing any sort of formatting was overly complicated. I’d need to take a course or buy a book and devote several weeks to learning how to use the program. Keep in mind that I’m a geek. I alter the CSS stylesheet of my WordPress website. The formatting difficulties made my document appear messy. This also drove me nuts. Yes, I realize I sound very, uhm, particular, but I like to look at a tidy document. I like a certain font. I like to know exactly how many pages I’ve written, etc. What can I say. I am what I am.
OK, now here’s the weirdest thing. Frankly, I missed my color-coded note cards. I missed scribbling on them. I missed pinning them up on my story-board. The electronic experience just wasn’t the same as shuffling through the cards manually or moving them around on the wall board. Maybe it’s the tactile experience or the movement involved, but the virtual corkboard didn’t prompt my brain activity the same way.
All in all, during the first two weeks of working on my newest book, I wrote very little. Since switching back to my sloppy and seemingly chaotic but actually very organized system, I’ve roughly outlined the first three chapters, from inciting incident to first turning point. I’ve also identified the mid-point and defined much of the resolution. (The book’s climax was always clear.)
So, I know many, many people who LOVE Scrivener, but it’s not for me. I’m back to scribbling on index cards and appreciating them more than ever.
I’m finishing up a work-in-process and looking toward my next project. In the interest of speeding things up and keeping my desk, uhm, just a little neater. (It currently looks like a mini tornado blew across the surface.) I’m thinking about switching to Scrivener. The picture below was taken mid-project. I’m not going to post a picture of my desk’s surface right now because my storyboard filled up at the 50% mark. The rest of the cards are strewn everywhere. It isn’t pretty. Frankly, the mess is embarrassing and probably hinders my productivity.
There’s a lot going on in my books. Action, action, action. Somehow I have to keep track of it all. But in general, I’d like to turn this:
Into something neater, more organized, and more interactive. This looks very appealing:
Has anyone else made the switch? Does it help? Can I, for instance, print an outline? In Word, one of my big beefs was that I couldn’t print the document map.
Is the learning curve for scrivener steep? Tell me. Tell me everything.
Happy New Year!
Is it me or is time speeding up? Here we are five days into the new year, and I haven’t figured out my goals yet. Heck, I haven’t even reflected on last year’s goals. Maybe it’s better that way. Last year I had three goals and fell short of them all.
Time to try again…
My goal for 2012 is to start and finish writing a new novel. Since I’m a contender for World’s Slowest Writer, handing my agent a new book before year-end will not be easy. But I think I can speed up productivity if I plot more precisely than I have done in the past. If I spend more time on the story arc, the characters’ goals, motivation and conflict, and the turning points upfront, I should have less fixing and rewriting later on. It can’t hurt, right?
So I download a free trial of the writing program Scrivener. This program seems like a great way to organize my story and keep everything, including research, in one file. I’m still going through the tutorial, but so far it seems pretty good, as long as I can remember how to use all the functions. Perhaps I should sign up for Gwen’s Scrivener class in February.
Well, at least I have one goal to work toward. I still need to determine my karate goals and personal goals (Note to self: include get more sleep on personal goals list). What about you? Do you make goals or resolutions for the New Year? If you’re a writer, do you use writing software? Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?