Jul. 21st, 2009

martinlivings: (Default)
Or: Don't put off until tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely...

Yesterday I described writing a novel as paleontology. Today, though, it feels less like arranging bones and more like eating an elephant. The task is so big that it's hurting my fragile little brain. And it's not that big a novel; how people write those massive fat fantasy books, I'll never know.

So, I decided to change my method. I usually write books as a single big Word document. Which is fine during the initial writing, and usually okay in the editing, as long as you get it basically right the first time. With this one, though, there's a lot of chopping and changing around, reordering chapters, inserting new chapters, all the while trying to keep it consistent. It's a frickin' nightmare.

So I bit the bullet, and decided to try something new. or, more accurately, something old, something I utilised a little many years ago when working on Carnies.

I decided to install [profile] halspacejock's yWriter.

This version's a huge improvement over the previous ones, I have to say that. Importing my work was... well, tricky, because it refused to import the first fifteen chapters, deciding instead to start at sixteen for no readily apparent reason. But I got over that and managed to get the entire manuscript imported and split into "scenes" (actually my chapters, but I knew I'd be changing it around so much that having chapter divisions at this stage would be pointless). It's a neat way of getting an overall look at the book. For example, I now know that I have too many scenes from one of the characters' point of view and not enough of the other. I can also see at a glance where I need to add more stuff. Neat.

Will it help? Who knows. But, if nothing else, it let me avoid doing any actual work on it for the entire morning...

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Martin Livings

December 2009

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