From Dream to Published Novel

Nanowrimo 2009!!!

Okay, so at this point in the year, I am out of any concept of editing existing novels and planning my next one.  (Very cool and strange to say “next novel”!). Nanowrimo is coming in November and I’ve been plotting already.

I took a crappy outline from a couple years ago and am working hard to get the rest of the details and shore up the seriously weak sections.

I’d like to thank for my latest lack of sleep:

  • Nanowrimo for the craziness I’ve absolutely loved the past few years.
  • yWriter for a really cool word processor designed for writing novels.  For me, when I go into it, it just makes sense.  The first time I used it, it was a little weird, to realize that I had to make a chapter, then make a scene before I could actually write something, and that’s about as far as I got with it last year.  Now that I’m familiar with that concept, I’ve been exporing the other elements, like the character notes, the item and location notes, the general notes, etc.  Also, since I love the Writing the Perfect Scene article, it is very cool to see that incorporated into the program.  Then there’s the editing feature, so you can say whether a scene is an outline, draft version of draft, etc.  You can rate the scenes and since the designer (and author in his own right) is a Nano-er, it has Nanowrimo functionality, like obfuscated text export so you can upload your wordcount to the nanowrimo site without worrying about your masterpiece (yeah right) being out on the net. Daily word counts and start and stop dates so you can gauge your performance.
  • The Writing the Perfect Scene article for a really good structure on how a scene should play out.  This has been very useful in helping me realize where I just have the characters sitting around instead of DOING something and it has spurred me into changing them.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Superhero Nation. This site has a ton of really good writing article topics that I haven’t seen elsewhere. While I haven’t directly used information from them yet, I have no doubt that they will be a great tool as the days get closer. Love all the info about titles and what is good and bad.  Spent a good hour reading through just that simple topic.
  • VUE (Visual Understanding Environment).  I really want to get to know this program.  I thinkit will do what I want, but I’m on a roll with design and don’t want to get bogged down with learning the program.  What I like about this one over, say Freemind, is that when I’ve tried Freemind, I must use the “brainstorm” layout.  This means a central idea (like the name of the book) then have all the branches off of it.  I don’t think that way anywhere except in my head.  I want something where I can put in the chapters and look visually at the timeline and if the scene is a rising or falling action, where I can have bubbles for character notes that are separate from the timeline flow, etc.  VUE seems to do all of this, and pretty simply, but I wanted to export all my notes, etc into some kind of outline to import into yWriter, so RTF or something, and the output features were giving me fits.  Again, I think it will do what I want, but I’d have to monkey around with it for awhile and I know if I spend the time to do that, I’ll lose the creative story spark which is flaring up right now.
  • Liquid Story Binderfor an app that looks like it would do a couple of the things I want that yWriter doesn’t do, but the difference here is that I go into yWriter and the initial screen, I can see what is what.  Chapters, scenes, characters, yWriter all makes sense.  Liquid Story Binder starts out with windows that don’t make any sense to me.  And dang when I went into “typewriter” mode while exporing, I couldn’t get OUT of it for a few minutes, which was frustrating.  Liquid Story Binder looks sexy, looks like it will do a lot and is very similar to yWriter, but needs some kind of demo tutorials, like through YouTube or Flash with something like Captivate.  Like VUE, I would get totally bogged down in learning the program, and lose the time creating and exploring. So, pass for now.

So what is the feature I’m looking for?  With work, I’m finally starting to learn to work on large projects from an outline, but for a novel I want something more visual.   I want so see the scenes and where they are in energy and approaching during or after a climax.  I want to see them in the timeline and want to adjust their position and insert scenes where something is missing.  VUE comes seriously close, and after Nano2009, I might look at it closer.  So I’m going really old fashioned, and using my head for the initial notes, and when they get too much in there, I’ll dump them into the chapters in yWriter.  To see the visual element, I’m using 4×6 index cards for the chapters with smallhand written notes in them.  Then using 3×5 index cards paper clipped or stapled to the 4×6 to show the scenes in the chapter.  Then they are all going on my cork board and I can rate them and see how my story energy flows, insert a scene/chapter in a weak part, use yarn to circle a set of chapters that will fit together, etc.  As I get a chapter nicely laid out, I’ll put it in yWriter and take more notes and when Nano comes around, I should just be able to write as fast as I can while remembering all my characters and where the heck the story should be going!

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