Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. -- Gene Fowler

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Slow Progress

I'm making some slow progress on "Umbra". I've got all but the tail end of the second manuscript into Scrivener, and though not much new material has been written, having the book all in one place in one application helps me visualise it better. I'm surprised at how linear the second manuscript is, time-wise. I had thought I was all over the place, writing endings of scenes before their beginnings, et cetera, so that I would have a lot of work to put things back in order. But aside from one bit written on day two of NaNoWriMo which follows something written a few days later, it's in pretty decent order.

I haven't done much actual editing or revision of the second manuscript yet, so I'm seeing little things pop up all the time. I'm reading over a section, looking for a reference to this or that, and I'll see a typo or a weirdness in a characterisation and out comes the red pen, circling or marking or scrawling a note. This process is different in Scrivener, but the program allows me to make little notes and keep them organised.

Scrivener Beta 1.6 for Windows
I'm really pleased with the way Scrivener looks and handles. Having an application that looks good helps encourage me to work in it. And my bits and bobs are at my fingertips to remind me to check the behaviour of this or that character, or figure out what the name of that one town is, actually. Writer's Cafe has many of the same functions, but it's not as attractive and the organisation of the information is not quite as tidy, I think. I've been using Scrivener almost exclusively for the last week, so I'm not making a line-by-line comparison here. The biggest down side for me is that I have to log into Windows to use Scrivener. There's no Linux version. I could use Wine, but my Linux install is currently a bit munged and Wine won't run it. But that's a topic for the Linux blog, not this one.

Little by little, this book is taking shape.  Right now I'm just filling in the gaps I left when I first wrote it during those frenzied Novembers. Anyone else out there using Scrivener or a similar writing program like Writer's Cafe?  Have any opinions about their performance?  What's your preference?

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