Thursday, 29 January 2009

I must be getting old

Nearly a week since my last post. Where is the time going? Seriously, we're nearly through January and I'm starting to sound like one of those Old Dears making small talk in the Post Office.

(No news yet so I'm trying to ignore it!)

In the post today I got my copy of a newly published How To book:

How Not To Write A Novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark. I bought this because of an article someone posted on one of the writers' websites I frequent and it looked like a light-hearted take on the whole novel writing business. As I've said before I'm something of a How To Write book junkie. It's been a few weeks since I had my last fix so I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Meanwhile the writing goes on apace. I'm now onto chapter 7 of the new mystery. Managing 1000 words per day which I'm very pleased with (of course it is the first draft so who knows how much of it will survive!) Don't know whether anyone else will like it but I'm enjoying writing it immensely.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Still waiting... this what they call purgatory? I'm starting to wonder if it was a practical joke.

Ne'mind, duckie. Just keep writing and try not to dwell on it.

I've now written five chapters of the new mystery, started the sixth yesterday. After a lot of deliberation on the software front I've decided to give Liquid Story Binder a road test and so far so good. The great thing is you can open dossiers for every character/location/whatever and import images as well as fill in a lot of background info. It's new for me to be so organised at the outset, and I don't really know whether it'll work in the longrun. We'll see.

Do take a look at Edie Tor's blog (listed on the right) for the lowdown on the flip side of publishing.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Trying not to panic...

Well, the responses are starting up again here in Submission Hell. Got one yesterday morning, as brief and dismissive as they come, enough to cast me into another Well of Self-doubt. In the afternoon I got an email response from a new agency I approached in November - clicked on it, expecting another kick in the crotch rejection. Imagine my delight to find a request for the full manuscript AND my phone number so he can call and discuss it!

After picking myself up off the floor I sent both by return. Now I'm in waiting-for-the-phone-to-ring mode. I know I shouldn't complain as anything is better than rejection, but now every waking moment (as well as a few sleeping ones) is full of self-doubt and anxiety. What do I say? What if I blow it? What if he finds me out - not the sparkling talent he first thought, but some babbling idiot who can't even remember her name?

Oh, God. Where did I put the valium....

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Free scriptwriting programme

Am majorly distracted with finishing the script I mentioned last time. I have pasted it into a free programme called Celtx which is really great! It even has a storyboard facility which allows you to download images.

I have heard mention of printing glitches, but haven't got that far yet. I'll keep you posted. If it does work out it'll save me a packet.

Anyway, the script is either going to be a play or a sitcom, not sure which at this stage. It's been ages since I wrote a script, and I forgot how much fun it is. No more descriptive passages, it's all action and dialogue!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Sophocles RIP

Yesterday I looked out some old scripts I wrote a couple of years back and was pleasantly surprised to find they were not as dreadful as I had thought. I wrote them on a programme called Sophocles. At the time I bought it - must be 2004/5 - it was the best one I could find and quite reasonably priced.

Last year I started writing on a laptop and found Sophocles wouldn't work on Vista. I emailed Sophocles who sent me an add-on to solve the problem. It didn't. But at the time I was busy with the novel writing so I didn't pursue it.

Yesterday I decided to give it another try. Imagine my disappointment to find Sophocles no longer exists and I now hear it was bought up last spring, since when the website has vanished without a word.

It's a shame, and means I am now having to consider another screenwriting programme. I've downloaded the Movie Magic Screenwriter Demo. It looks very good, but at that price it damn well should be!

There's a lesson to be learned about buying programmes from small independent companies. Will they last or get bought out/crushed by the giants, taking your support with them? It's a consideration when buying software.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Writing software

Do you use writing software?

Every year at his time I get restless and start looking for new software to help with my writing. Before you say it, I know a mere computer programme cannot write a book, but if every writer had eschewed technology we'd all still be scratching pictures of bison on the walls of caves. And there are some good packages out there.

In the past I've used Ywriter - mainly because it's free - but for a while it was the only programme I could find that helped me to file the info and divide the book into chapters. I ran into problems with it when it mucked up the saving aspect and haven't used it since.

This year I have been distracted by Dramatica Pro. It is expensive, and seems to require a big commitment of time and effort to master it in the early stages. But what I like about the download is it guides you through the story structure with lots of indepth questions about your plot, characters, story arc (yes, there's a lot of jargon too - I said it took a while to learn :()

When seeking advice about it, I was pointed in the direction of Liquid Story Binder. After downloading the demo (one month free use without limitation) I confess it seemed a bit user unfriendly, but then I tracked down the tutorials on the website and now feel like I'm getting the gist of it. At $45 it is a much cheaper investment than Dramatica, and seems to do a lot of the organising and storing I'm looking for.

So I'll probably have a go at loading one of my WIPs into it and see what difference it makes. I'll keep you posted...