I have spent the past week improving my knowledge of the modern writing process. There are many new tools out there (besides the latest copy of Microsoft Word) to help the prospective young writer.
My new favorite is a program called Scrivener by the folks at Literature and Latte. Scrivener is a multipurpose tool for helping writers organize and reorganize their manuscripts. It can present the writer’s ideas in a variety of ways – from a virtual cork board to an indented outline. It provides specialized areas for holding your research work, your character biographies, and information on key scenes (How was the room laid out? Put in a sketch!) It formats the documents in a number of different ways from PDF to Kindle mobi files. Very useful.
Scrivener was originally created for the Mac, but recently made the jump to Windows. It is a fun package for the beginning writer and I recommend it heartily.
Of course, a major part of the entire writing gig is getting it published. A trip to the library and bookstore turned up several recent popular books in the areas I am interested in writing, as well as copies of the most recent market guides.
Like most readers I have my personal favorites, authors whose work I wish I could emulate. That said, what I like to read is not usually what reaches the bestseller lists. So, being a bit pragmatic on the subject, I looked at what those authors offer their readers, that the books I remember fondly do not..
<sigh> Now I have several new favorite authors. Styles change, and the public’s taste alters with the passage of the years, but a good story is a good story. So, I have some hope that the stories I would like to tell will find a favorable audience, although I will have to alter my current writing style a bit to accommodate modern tastes.
Technology has stepped up to help out on the storage front. Being able to place your work in progress in the cloud means that you can work on it from a variety of locations. As one who likes to meander a bit when I think, this is useful.
Finally we have the possibility of publishing electronically. The ability to skip the whole paper publishing route has some appeal, especially to the green side of me. However, I must honestly admit I still like the feel of a book in my hand over a Kindle or a Nook. I have become increasingly fond of reading on my iTouch though, and I expect the next generation of readers may think our obsession with the printed word as criminally damaging to the environment. Perhaps we will learn to use bamboo to make paper. I personally have never seen a more sustainable crop candidate, but that’s a topic for another post.
So that’s it for this piece. I have transferred a number of my older stories and outlines to the cloud. I have selected my tools for writing and set them up. I have studied the current publishing process.
It is, in a word, progress.