Scrivener for NaNoWriMo


First off, this is not a sponsored post.

I’m keeping it super short today, because all my words are being used for my new book. I’m trying out Scrivener and LOVING it! I wrote the last book sequentially, but have found a new freedom in writing the scenes I already know while they’re fresh in my mind, knowing that I have the freedom to change anything I want to later on. Scrivener is fantastic for that, as it allows you to compartmentalize everything, rearrange as desired, and compile it all into one glorious manuscript when you’re done. You can even import research materials and pictures to reference while you work, and you can work in split-screen if you want the reference goodies right in front of you. I used to make picture folders and pop back and forth while I write. No need for that anymore. 🙂 Check it out here. It’s free to use until December 7th, and beyond that, there are discounts if you participate in NaNoWriMo. Also, there’s an EXTREMELY helpful template for outlining and structuring that you can use with Scrivener RIGHT HERE.

You’re welcome. 😀


Bit By Bit



My youngest child started school this year, but it’s probably not what you’re imagining. She’s fifteen. She’s in a fantastic middle-college (or dual enrollment) program, following in the footsteps of two of her older siblings.  However, I’ve been a homeschooling mom for about half my life, starting when my stepson was in seventh grade. And now . . . well, now I’m reinventing myself.

The thing is, writing has always been something that I love to do, but I’ve also had the excuse that it’s not my first focus. Now, committing to being “a writer” means that I could really fail. Yes, I’ve had poems and short stories published, but I don’t feel like a writer yet.

I recently got a very kind rejection for my book, including this bit: “Also, as we’re only looking for one more author in the near future, we do have to be very selective. As such, don’t take this as a slight against your obvious talent as a writer.” A writer? Well . . . maybe?

As I reshape myself, bit by bit, my life is developing a new rhythm. This now includes spending hours each week at a library with my laptop, index cards and notebook, partly as a taxi-mom gas and time saving measure, and partly as a self-imposed “showing up to the page” measure. I won’t lie. It feels selfish to focus so much on writing when there are plenty of things that need to be done at home, but if I’m going to be a writer, I suppose I should treat it like a job.

If writing is my actual job, that means that when I get stuck, I have no excuse to let it take a back seat. This can be tough, but I’ve recently hit on something that’s working for me so far. The inspiration came from a chapter of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, in which she talks about sitting down and writing, no matter what comes out.  (Great book, by the way!) I’m using this approach to write scenes (or potential scenes) for my new book. I’m not picking up where I left off—just writing it down one piece at a time.

Deciding that I don’t have to know exactly what comes next has been really freeing, and as the book fleshes out, it’s getting easier to string things together, or at least to know what else I need to write to bridge the gaps. So things are flowing better, and some unexpected things have happened, too. But every good story evolves a little, doesn’t it?



via Daily Prompt: Catapult

The relentless drizzle had been going on for so long that his skin was actually sore.

“Impossible,” he thought. But that didn’t change facts.

William slogged back to the pile of stones and wrestled another free. The soupy clay sucked at his boots, and he slipped and slid before catching himself and heaving the jagged rock into the bucket of the catapult.

“Enough is enough,” he muttered. He brushed a hand across his face, clearing rainwater only to replace it with a thick smear of mud.

Huffing out a breath, he bent to the release rope and gave it a savage yank. The catapult arm sprang upward and cracked against the crossbar, rocking the entire engine as the missile sailed off to who knew where. William hadn’t bothered to readjust it since the last time the commander had passed through. That had been—

“Dreck!” Wilhelm cursed. He bent to the task of cranking the arm back into place, hoping the commander would ride past. Keeping his head down and his back turned, he stomped and slid back to the mound of ammunition, but the horse had stopped, and William heard the squelch of his commander’s boots as the man jumped down into the mud.

“Soldier! Have you even looked at your trajectory in the last hour? What do you think you’re doing?”

Wilhelm didn’t turn, but the shouting was getting closer. He made a face, then straightened.

“Sir!” he said, spinning briskly about. “Porter was called to Hopkins’s engine several hours ago. I haven’t been able to make the proper corrections. Could you just lean across the bucket and hold this lever for me while I dial the range back in?”

The commander stopped, put off his game by William’s calm response to his blustering.

“Oh, erm. . .” The man leaned across the bucket and took hold of the lever as requested. William saluted smartly, then yanked the release rope. And that was when his commander went ballistic.





PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Genre: Fantasy/Horror

Word Count: 100

“No one else in the car,” the officer told his partner. He bent back to her window. “Sure you’re all right?” He peered into her eyes, a slight crease between his brows.

“Fine. Thanks.” She clasped trembling hands together, stilling their shaking.

“All right. Maybe get some rest,” he said.

She nodded, swallowed. She wanted to jump out, to bolt to the safety of the squad car, but what would she tell them?

“Drive safely,” he said in parting.

She turned desperate eyes to the passenger seat. Teeth flashing sharp in the darkness, the demon laughed. “They’d have you committed.”

# # #

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for another fun Friday Fictioneers prompt! Stories must be exactly 100 words. Come and play!

Grabbing the Ring

via Daily Prompt: Pursue

When I was a kid, I knew I was destined for great things. I was probably going to be an astronaut, but also an undersea explorer, famous actress, artist, dancer, martial artist, composer (working with John Williams, no less), and of course an author. How was this going to happen? Serendipity! Somehow, people in places to haul me up the ladder of success were going to stumble upon my work (never mind that there was no physically possible way for this to happen!) and be moved to tears by my greatness.

Now, enthusiasm and believing in yourself are undeniably important variables in the equation for success, but in the end, it mostly comes down to plenty of hard work. In the writing world, this means doing things that aren’t really fun for me: researching publishers and agents, and writing and sending out tons of query and cover letters. There are fun things, too, though, like the various internet and Twitter challenges that are becoming popular. Personally, I’m really looking forward to Query Kombat, #SFFpit, and #PitMad.

I suppose it’s possible that a freak accident might cause the brass ring to eject itself into your lap, but you have a much higher chance of getting it if you reach out and grab it. Don’t just dream, and don’t simply follow those dreams; pursue them!


Time and Tide

Please excuse my temporary silence. I started this journey as undisputed captain of my blogging ship, but when I put in to shore to see the sights, it floated back out to sea without me. It took some swimming against the tide, but I’m back at the helm now.

Since I’m already on the subject of digression, today’s post is a swerve from the norm as well. Lately, the whole thing about being “in the moment” has been clicking more with me. It can be hard, in the digital age, to be fully present and consciously aware of what is happening *right now.* When your attention is divided between several things at once, and you’re simultaneously planning, anitcipating, and executing tasks and communications, it’s impossible to experience presentness.

As I become more aware of this, the reminder to be present is beginning to occur to me on a daily basis—usually when I’m doing something “unfun”—and when I’m able to contain the maelstrom of thoughts that wants to  constantly spin outward, and direct my awareness and senses to just that very moment, just what surrounds me exactly then, it’s a profound feeling.

How often we take for granted what we see, hear, touch, and smell. I believe we’re probably more aware of taste than the other things, because we plan for meals and prepare, or at least choose them. But how easy it is to ignore the way the light falls on the side of the desk, the sounds of birdsong, or traffic, or voices, and the smell of jasmine tea and laundry softener. This morning as I was getting gas I practiced some presentness. Rather than champing at the bit while waiting impatiently for the tank to fill (as is my wont), I paused. I felt the simultaneous touch of cold air and warm sunlight on my neck. I smelled gasoline, exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke and fresh grass as the gas gurgled into my tank and cars swished past. I felt the smooth metal sides and jagged teeth of the keys in my pocket as my eyes wandered to a crabapple tree at the roadside,  plump pink buds bright against soft-needled pines. I noticed dust on the gas pump’s digital display as the black numbers spun past, smelled the sun on the crumbling asphalt at my feet. All these things took a fleeting forever, and then the pump snapped off and my tank was full. Time flows strangely when you’re in the now. Temporary and enduring become so easy to confuse.



Just Write

This follows on the heels of my Procrastination post for a reason. Sometimes you need to write, or you know you need to, but you just can’t get started. (Hence the procrastination.) I think we’ve all been there at some point or another. When that happens, the key is to just write. What comes out doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it shouldn’t be. If you’re taking the time to craft flawlessly exquisite sentences on your first draft, you’re holding yourself back. Let everything flow, and yes, you can let all the nonsensical stuff out too. You can sort it out later, and you might just find some of those silly things worming their way into your work in a more serious capacity on the rewrite.

For the most part, just sitting there (AIS!) letting whatever happens in your brain flow out onto the paper will get you started. It’s a bit like stretching before you exercise: once you’re limbered up, things get easier. However, if you’re well and truly stuck with whatever you’re working on, you might switch to simply writing a short poem, or dashing off a flash fiction. Of course looking at photos or writing prompts might inspire you as well. I find “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg very inspiring. But caveat lector! It’s all too easy to let the inspiration hunt turn into procrastination. Almost without exception, if you simply sit there and make yourself start, you’ll find that you can keep going. You can reward yourself later with those inspirational goodies. 🙂