Good morning! Who wants to write in an organized way? Who wants their outline and characters right at their fingertips? Me! Here’s how I do that…
I use the program, Scrivener. And no, I don’t get any money for talking about this program. What I do get by using this program is piece of mind. So, here are my top five reasons that I use Scrivener to bring my words to life.
Easy to use. Folks, once you sit down and start using Scrivener, you will realize that even though it has all those bells and whistles, it’s so easy to use.
Character Bio list. Yes, this is amazing. I have all of my main characters running down the left side of my manuscript. And if I forget a characters occupation or eye color, all I do is click and double check.
Place list. This is a life saver. I can keep the places in my story straight. Because it’s hard to remember everything, but with Scrivener, I have it at my fingertips.
Outline. Yes, I’m an outliner most of the time. And with Scrivener, I have my outline to the right. And it’s always open. The fun thing is, I can separate it by chapters or sections, then mark done when I’m finished with that section. This helps because Scrivener also separates by chapters.
Word count progress. I have a window to open that tells me how many words I’ve typed in a session. I also can put a daily word count need, manuscript word count expected, and keep up with my progress. It helps keep me on track!
So, this is just a little look into all of the things that Scrivener can do for you. There’s also a script writing part integrated in the same window. And you can change the way your Scrivener looks at every turn. I use cork board for my outline, which gives a story board feel.
With things as they are, authors are missing book tours, book signings, and the loved Writer’s Retreat that a lot of writers do together. But, we can still do these things. It won’t be the same as it has been, but we have to persevere through this.
So, let’s dive in. If you had planned a Writer’s Retreat and it’s been cancelled due to restrictions, then I have good news. Have it at home. Find a place inside your home that you can turn into your retreat. Maybe it’s the corner of your living room or bedroom. It doesn’t matter where it is. Hang up pictures of a place that brings you inspiration. Play music to inspire you. Burn scented candles that remind you of the place you were going. But make it your own private retreat.
Set up a place to write, facetime with fellow authors, and enjoy a moment to yourself. Have a conversation with writers on social media. You can get feedback from others virtually. But make it work for you. You’ve got this, so create your oasis and get lost in your writing.
I know it’s not the same as having fellow authors sitting with you and feeding off one another’s thoughts, but in times like this, we have to get creative. The important thing is to get the words out there for our fans. They need those words to have a retreat of their own.
Duct tape is a house staple, just as salt, sugar and flour are food staples. For many years people have fixed almost everything with duct tape. At Church we even fixed a broken Christmas tree with duct tape, no really we did. It’s strong and durable. Also you can get it in any width and color so it’s versatile.
What if your story is falling apart? We all have those manuscripts that start out really good and we have a phenomenal ending planned, but the middle has so many holes and fractures that it puts a real stink on the beginning and ending. Well, put a little duct tape on it. What am I talking about? Well, here goes the answer in a nutshell.
By duct tape I mean sit down with your beginning and ending. Then really look at it. Where is the character headed? The middle needs some suspense or issue that needs to carry the reader over the hump to the end. It needs something that only the ending can shed some light on. This is where the duct tape comes in.
As I said above, duct tape is strong and durable with lots of versatility, so the middle of the book needs to be taped up neatly. But be careful not to just add fluffy filler that makes the reader fall asleep with boredom. If the first of the book is power packed, then make the middle explode with tension. This is the strong duct tape. Add an element of complete surprise. Let the main character have a major problem that needs solving, or maybe a secret that is threatening to come out, but the secret has to be life altering.
But make sure that it can mesh with your great ending. I did this one time and a book that started out being only around 30,000 words went over 50,000 words with a little duct tape application. Crazy, but true. I had this really great beginning that pulled you in and the ending left you breathless, but the middle was just a bunch of fluff. As I did my first read through I was almost dozing and that’s not good. I sat down and spread out the beginning and ending, then totally restructured my characters. I added a whole new dimension to them that took them on an adventure that meshed well with the ending and soon I had a complete story that I was proud to hit the publish button on.
So, get you some duct tape and pull that story together. If you use the right duct tape it will hold together nicely.
Happy Thanksgiving week! It’s Monday, so forgive me if I ramble a bit. After a busy weekend, I need multiple cups of coffee just to get my eyes open. But, for now, let’s talk writing.
Do you have to do things in the right order? Well, it’s according to what you’re doing. You can’t bake a cake before you make the batter. You can’t ice a cake before you bake it.
With writing, you can write the ending before you write the beginning. How? For some writers, they have to get the last scene written in order to get a grip on the first three fourths.
I’ve posted several things on outlines and writing technique. And I’ve always said, put your ideas together, so that you know where you’re headed. Before you ask, yes, I’ve written the last scene of a book first. Of course, when I did, the ending changed slightly as the first parts were written and put in place.
Since I write in Scrivener, sometimes I go ahead and put in the Chapter heads that go with my outline first. That way I can write different scenes ahead of time. If I get stuck on a certain part, sometimes skipping ahead helps to beat writers block.
The goal of the post is to let you know, it’s alright to write your book in the wrong order. Just make sure that it fits together like a puzzle. The pieces need to fit, but not forced.
Yes, you heard me right. I took the Podcast plunge. The Coffee & A Good Book podcast will be up and going soon. I’ll keep all of you updated. I’m excited and nervous, all at the same time. Being in front of the camera is out of my comfort zone, way out of it. But in front of the microphone, I feel a little less intimidated. We’ll see how it goes.
The podcast will feature author interviews, book reviews, lots of coffee talk, NO POLITICS, romance talks, writing talk, and more book talk than you can get through a short podcast… If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know how much I love writing, books and coffee. So, this made me want to keep the talk going, but this time in a different format.
Keep watching for the release date. I can’t wait to connect with everyone.
Can you believe it’s a week until Thanksgiving? This year is flying by and in my opinion, that could be a good thing. It’s been a crazy year!
Just Let It Go…
It’s the same with writing. If you have a story line that keeps bugging you, then let it go. As in, let it go where it needs to. Most writers will tell you that if a story starts in your brain, it will drive you crazy until you do something with it.
Now, it’s not to say that some of the ideas that come through your head are publish worthy. If I had a dollar for every story idea I had that flopped before the first chapter was done, well, let’s just say, I’d be in a good position. Sometimes though, it’s hard to Just Let It Go…
Don’t waste your time on stories that don’t go far. You need to focus on those stories that can go the distance. As I said in an earlier post, make sure that your story can make it through plotting and scene set up. Then, you’ll have a story to publish.
Alright, every writer knows what I’m talking about when I say, to publish your manuscript, you have to step out of your comfort zone. It’s that moment that you hit submit… Your body trembles… You begin to sweat… You rethink everything in your manuscript… Did I change that dialogue? Did I correct that misspelled word? Did I send it to the right place?
We’ve all felt it and for me, every time I hit submit, I still go through all of these feelings. Even after over 45 romances published, it never gets easier. But it starts to get more satisfying.
So, if you have a manuscript that you’re just holding on to, put it out there. It can’t soar if you don’t. Let your book step out in the light and breathe.
Do you ever cry? I was talking to someone the other day and they said that they never cried. Wow! That amazed me. For me, it’s not unusual for me to cry during a movie, while reading a book, or even watching a commercial. So, it just takes me by surprise when someone says they don’t cry.
Some people say it’s showing weakness to cry. I don’t believe that. In fact, I believe that it’s your ability to cry, or show emotion that actually shows your strength.
Now, as a writer, even my strong male characters cry from time to time. Of course, I know the naysayers are cringing right now, but it’s a human response. Alright, I’m off my soapbox.
But wait, I have to ask, do you cry???
As always good writing and May God Bless You…
P.S.: A little self promo. Hey, I’m a writer, so it’s just something I do…
After a day trip to the North Georgia mountains yesterday, I feel refreshed and exhausted. Why is it that when you take a long, although beautiful drive, it just drains you? That’s kind of how a story without a plan can do to writers. As in the picture below, without a plan, your story could collapse around you and leave you with something that is unstable.
As you’ve read over and over in my blogs, I try my best to plan out as much of my books as possible. So, here are my three top reasons that I do that:
Map out the story. In my opinion, and opinions vary like the fall leaves, but my thoughts are this. If you map out the story, you know, get the feeling of the ups and downs, then you can build the ebb and flow better. It helps to keep your focus on the writing, not the building up of the plot.
Character development. I have to plan my characters. Although some of their flaws don’t come out until midway of the story. But most of my character development is done beforehand. I need to get to know them so that I can correctly write their stories.
Know your ending. And yes, sometimes the ending sneaks up on you out of the blue and everything changes. That’s writing. BUT, when you get started, have an idea of where your story is headed. When stories come into my head, I most of the time, see the beginning and the ending first. Sometimes it’s the ending that pulls the story into my heart. If the characters are to be wed at the end, then you need to make the rest of the story head in that direction.
So, as I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, this may not work for everyone, but it does for me. I’ve already got the bones of the five books of the series I’m doing in 2021. Everyday my mind goes through the storylines, the character details and yes, where I want each book to end.
I hope my post helps you get past your writers block or maybe just helps you develop your story more.