Sep 10, 2009

Writing in the Future Now.

I've been lured out of my whimsical era of the 40's & 50's (a time of bouncy personalities and dry detectives) into a futuristic world of... well, the future. I call it.. 2009!

My first attempts, drafts, dreams of writing, were all recorded in notebooks. Not just the sort of exercise books your kids use for school, but special, fabric covered, embossed, textile books that I would write in with a flashy ballpoint pen (and yes I've longed for my own Mont Blanc). Along with being dressed appropriately (see earlier blog), this would put me in the right frame of mind to open up and let the ideas and stories flow.

As I would have several notebooks on the go at any one time, and several stories (3 novel WIP at the moment), this became a bit confusing, and more than often I would loose whole sections of narrative, or write the same scene 3 times. Word processing seemed a natural solution. I find now I can create all the technical parts of my novel in Word documents, but I still need pen and paper for the really creative stuff. Once I've written on paper, I type it up in Word so that I have a saved document.

Lately I've taken an interest in writing software and started investigating. Some software promised to provide plot twists and ideas for your story if you just enter the relevant information. This does not appeal to me. I'd like to think I've written my story entirely on my own (of course unknowingly plagiarising from ever written text I've been exposed to). Besides, writer's block is not a problem for me, it's getting my mental 'idea generator' to shut up (or at least wean out the many really bad ideas). I was looking for software that would help me take all my notes, chapters, ideas and research and organise the information so that I could construct a novel from it.

I saw software that offered spreadsheets and tables, which only looked more confusing to me than my many separate notebooks. This may suit some, but I want my technology to look, well less 'techy'. I downloaded the free trial for Plot Builder and started entering my works. The program showed me where my gaps in information were and I thought it was great. My only concern was that there seemed to be no word count. It's probably 90% ego and 10% practicality, but I like to see my word count as I progress. So, I twittered Plot Builder. Turns out you can see your word count with just a couple clicks of the mouse. It was exactly what I needed and so I purchased the program before the free trial was even half-way up.

Why it suits me so well is that Plot Builder is a very visual tool that lets you see how your novel is constructing and because (and most importantly) it's simple. I don't need more things on my computer confusing me. End result - I like it, think it is good value and recommend the program to other would-be 'organised authors'.

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