NaNoWriMo 2016: Ramping Up

It’s the last week of Nano…already. I can’t believe how fast this month have gone. Probably because I had a deadline.

I clocked 38,544 words last night so I am well on target.

The story is a little all over the place though. I am not sure where my start and middle are anymore as ideas for scenes just pop in my head and I just write them. I try to tie them in somehow to what I have already written but I go back and forth on the timeline a lot. Thankfully, thanks to Scrivener, I can easily keep track of all the scenes and at the end, using the cork board, I’ll be able to rearrange them.

The original plan to have 3 leading ladies is somewhat devolving as one of them takes more of the centre stage. Then again, as this is meant to be part of a series, I can highlight each character on different episodes.

A lot of the early scenes I wrote will probably belong to the Backstory folder in the end but it was useful to write them nonetheless and didn’t do any harm to the wordcount counter either.

Overall, this has been a much better experience for me than the previous years. I don’t feel as stressed about it and I think I have made some sort of plan helped.

Only 11,456 words to write in 8 days, which means my daily word count has gone down to 1,432 words. I am going to try to keep to 1,667 words if I can so I might even be done before the deadline of 30th. I have to think of an ending…which I have been putting of for some time now.

Soon my precious…soon.


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?


The one about Writing Tools

I am following a couple writing blogs here and also via Google+ and one of the recent subject of conversation was: what do you use to write?

I thought I’d share what I use and like with my writing ideas, I am a little scattered here as I use several different tools:

I have a plethora of notebooks and always make sure I have at least one in my bag in case I get an idea on the bus or I have five minutes whilst waiting for a friend. I use my notebook in several ways: I jot down ideas, I write whole scenes or synopsis for a new story and I stick pictures in for inspirations. I find that if I have a picture or drawing to refer to when I want to describe something, it helps me a lot. Of course I make small changes here and there as it doesn’t always match my overall idea of what a character or a setting looks like.

Then I also use Google Drive…I have a gazillions files at the moment because every time I have a new idea, I create a new document. I have created some folders for each idea and each has subfolders as such:

  • 00- Goals/Objectives/Deadlines : this is where I keep the synopsis, breakdowns of the story, overall goals etc)
  • 01- Characters : I keep a master sheet with all the character and their overall role, Major character sheets and minor/recurring characters sheets
  • 02- Maps/Settings: it’s all about the world my characters live in, what are the rules: physical, religion, social, politics etc…
  • 03- Scenes : when I create a scene for that particular story, it goes there ; and finally
  • 04- Research: any link, photos, bits of information that I use to help with my story goes there

When I create a scene that doesn’t fit any of my existing stories, I plop it in a folder called “Randoms” in the hope that at some point I’ll be able to use them somewhere.

For the moment, I am able to keep track because not of my stories go really far. I have this problem of starting strong and then I fizzle out because I have no idea what my characters want and then a new idea forms and I start again. I know, I know, I have to pick one and really run with it and see where it goes but what can I say? I am fickle and it is what I need to work on.

I have, however, seen loads of comments about using writing software. The top choice seems to be Scrivener but all the reviews seem to hint that it’s better on a Mac (and I can’t afford one of those) and I am not ready to spend $40 on a software that I am not sure I am going to need. Also, my laptop is currently on its last leg (still on Windows Vista) and it’s so slow that I usually spend at least half an hour cursing at it when I power it up…I know I have to buy a new one and I think getting a paying software before I upgrade would be silly.
I have in the last few days read about a free software (I like the sound of that, thank you very much) which is Windows specific and designed by a computer programmer who is also a writer. It’s called yWriter and I have downloaded it at the weekend. It’s still early days and I think it takes a little time to get used to but if you have a big story and lots of scenes to track or characters etc, I think that a good cheap alternative before you decide you are really serious about it and want to invest in something more flashy. A friend of mine also use Snowflake but if you don’t want to fork out $40 for Scrivener, then I guess the $100 for Snowflake won’t hit the mark either – by the way, apologies for putting all the prices in dollars, it appears that the software are only available from American sites.

So what about you?