Friday, 24 August 2012

In the Interest of Press Freedom

For several days now a picture has been posted widely online, in fact one might say it had "gone viral" in modern parlance. In spite of its easy availability Buckingham Palace has asked me not to publish the picture on my blog on the grounds that it violates the privacy of a well-loved member of the royal family. But the larger issue is one of press freedom. For that reason, and nothing to do with getting a few more hits than normal, I have decided to publish and be damned.

So here it is. The picture the Royal Family did not want you to see:

Next week: Harry gets his nob out.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Getting Fit

It was time to take action. After over a year of vegetating indoors - practically taking root in my desk chair - I have finally run out of excuses and started Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred which seems to be working in that my legs are killing me. But it's good to feel fitter. I've even splashed out on a new mountain bike.

I used to be fitter but in the last few years it's slipped down my list of priorities to somewhere behind Sprawling and Pigging Out.  That's the trouble with a sedentary lifestyle where the most exercise you get is clicking a mouse button. But I do find better fitness is worth the effort in lots of ways other than squeezing into my clothes. More oxygen to the brain fuels creativity and ideas come more easily. Energy levels increase so housework and anything requiring effort becomes easier. 

Part of my new fitness kick is cutting down on the junk food and alcohol which hasn't been as hard as I'd imagined. I'm sleeping better and feeling calmer. 

So, what do you do to keep in shape?

Sunday, 5 August 2012

In Praise of Scrivener

One question that frequently comes up on writers' boards is whether to use writing software. Does it help?

Well, as I've frequently said on this blog, I am something of a writing software junkie.  Or at least I was until I bought the software that cured me. It wasn't easy. It meant changing to a Mac computer, but I've never regretted it.

Now, I should say for starters that no writing software will do the work for you. But a good programme, like a craftsman's tool, makes everything so much easier. When I started novel writing I wrote in Word which seemed to serve my needs adequately during the drafting stage. It was only when a huge revision was needed that I realised its limitations. Don't get me wrong, Word is a brilliant word processor. It just isn't designed for large scale projects and when it comes to moving large chunks of text around it is clunky and slow. Not ideal. That was when I became tempted by Scrivener.

Scrivener is the perfect tool for novelists, although it can be used for any type of writing. You can organise your chapters and scenes right from the planning stage through to final revisions and shuffling things around is dead easy. The Binder, at the left hand side of the screen, shows graphically how your scenes are laid out so you can see everything at a glance. Your scenes are also summarised on index cards so you can move them around that way too. There are templates for character and scene descriptions, customisable full screen mode for writing without distractions, automatic backups and easy import of research files from the internet.  And loads more. Really, this programme has it all. I've never felt the need to use any other programme in the few years I've used it.

So, if you have a few bob to spend and want to make your life a lot easier you could do worse than buy Scrivener. You can even download a free trial first, to see how you like it. More details can be found here.