Let’s talk about writing tools

Thanks to my most excellent win from Camp Nano 2016 (let’s see how much longer I can milk that cow!), I got me a 50% on Scrivener. That’s the writing software for a mere £22 including tax. Now that’s a price I was ok to pay as I know I can be excitable about a new ‘toy’ and then quickly get bored with it.

There is also a 50% discount on another writing tool called Storyist which I had never heard of before I saw the discount but after doing a little bit of research, I decided that Storyist wasn’t for me. Although I use a Mac, I liked that Scrivener had more features and I have no intention of using an iPad to write.

So far, I have been writing in Google docs which is great to synchronise your file across devices although I often write on the same device (my netbook) which is easy to transport and when I want to sneak in a writing session at work, I can do it in the same folder. This might have to change as Scrivener is now on my Mac which I tend to leave at work (it’s BYO in my company and I prefer not to lug my laptop in and out every day).

My last Nanos have been written on GDrive and I know that there could be issue of security but I don’t imagine that the US Government is that interested in my little stories for now. Once I am published (note the assertiveness of that), it might be a different matter.

I am going to try to write my next story on Scrivener. I am being optimistic when I stay ‘story’ as I have yet to finish one but let’s not get ourselves bogged down by semantics.

When I have ideas however, I like to write them long hand in one of my gazillions fancy notebooks. I confess to a small addiction to notebooks. Some I get for free as marketing ploys (yay for free stuff) and some I buy because they are pretty. Then I find myself at a loss on what to do with them…too pretty for work (where I only keep to do lists). So I use them for my journaling and my ‘writing ideas’ notes. Writing all the ideas that I have with some excerpt as sometimes scenes come to me all ready complete, helps me keep my mind focused on the current story…otherwise, the new ideas would like earworms and would not leave me alone…

So to recap my own writing tools:

  • Google Drive
  • Scrivener
  • Long hand

I know some people publish their stories straight into their blogs for instant feedback but I am not that brave.

What about you? What do you use and are you happy with it?



So you won Camp Nano, now what?

That is a very good question.

Although I technically won Camp Nano by completing my self imposed wordcount goal, I didn’t actually finish the story I was writing.

I have now 2 options…well 3.

  1. I keep going with the story until I have a completed rough draft
  2. I park it for now and move on to another project to avoid boredom
  3. I park it permanently

I don’t think I want to do 3 as I still like the story. I don’t automatically love all the developments that sprint writing pushed me towards but I think there is something there.

I had some time last week whilst I was waiting for my train back home (from my most awesome holiday in France) and I jotted down some ideas for additional scenes. Some were to complete the story and some where to tie in the beginning plot lines with later ‘unrelated’ ones. Yet, I am still a little bored with it now that the momentum is over. I do however have an idea for a YA story with a much younger heroine than I am normally used to.

This stems from a few things:

  1. I have a 4 and half years old and a 18 months old nieces that I would like to inspire since I have spent so much time on a feminist FB group and realised that there aren’t so many options for girls
  2. I have started reading Book 2 of Skulduggery Pleasant series where the heroine is a 12 years old girl (I highly recommend this series even if you are a grown ass woman like me)
  3. I got reminded how much I used to love the French version of Nancy Drew books (Alice Roy) when I was on holidays as I have as many books of the series as I could find still lined up on my childhood bedroom’s bookshelves
  4. I just like the idea of a kick ass girl which I wasn’t

I also love adventure books and movies. The Goonies is still  my favourite movie and I would like to try a capture that with the added layer of the supernatural.

I wasn’t sure of what I wanted my girl to be able to do. I can’t have her be an Elemental witch like my last story and like Valkyrie Cain (Skulduggery Pleasant books) as it would feel too samey.

Then I remembered that one of TV shows of the 80s I really liked (despite being short lived and not that well acted) was a series called ‘Manimal‘ in which a playboy played by British actor Simon McCorkindale  transformed in various useful animals when in dire straights to save the day and the damsel (yawn on that part). I always liked that idea and have wanted to use this concept using a female character…I am not going to use the same background of course as it would be plagiarism but my kick ass girl will find herself able to transform into certain animals at will and not via a full moon curse like were-people.

I have a lot of research to do as I also want to add a Greek mythology layer to it…wonder if I am not trying to do too much too soon…

Oh well, if you don’t try, you don’t get anywhere, do you? And better have tried and failed than not tried at all!

Let’s see how it all pans out, shall we?



How to win Camp NaNo

One of my  most excellent cabin mates [Balladeer] from Camp Nano pointed out to me that I hadn’t mentioned the brilliant support I got (we all got) from each other in our cabin [Cabin McCabinborough].

I had briefly mentioned that it was a good idea to get a cabin with people in the same time zone as it helped but I hadn’t specifically talked about my cabin.

We all connected via the Nanowrimo London Facebook group with Balladeer leading the charge in organising the cabin for us. Thanks to his dedication, we had a very active cabin with almost daily interactions from a core group, bi-weekly virtual write-ins (VWI) with a Skype chat on and a weekly physical WI (which I sadly didn’t get to attend). I also missed the Nanorilla session which I think I would have liked and consisted of a full afternoon of writing together in a shared location.

For me, the support of the cabin has been invaluable. I am a lazy person by nature and without external commitment I easily let deadlines slip. After all, I am the only penalised if I don’t do my wordcount. Because we had daily catch up, I felt ‘obligated’ (I mean that in a positive way) to have an updated count which I easily did thanks to the sprint sessions during the VWI.

If it hadn’t been for the 2 weeks holiday that I knew I was taking with the family towards the end, I could have easily upped my target to 30K, maybe even 35K, which feels me with hope for next November.

So my number #1 tip for winning Camp Nano? Get yourself a good, supportive local cabin and put in the effort to participate. You will take from it far more than you have to put in.

Now that I have ‘won’ this year’s Camp, I need to finish my story (still) and then I think I am going to start another before I decide to edit it. I still don’t know how I am going to end it.

Why do you want to win Camp Nano? You get cool banners to show off, personal satisfaction and 50% Scrivener download! I am well looking forward to that.