So I’ve decided to try out this software I’ve had installed on my computer for a while. Keep in mind, I’ve already written a number of novels without the help of any software, but I find that as my journey as an evolving author continues, I am beginning to see the beauty of organization. I used to just sit down at the computer and simply type, or open up a journal and just write. But now I find I want to be organized ahead of time. What I did with my last two books was crazy! I wrote the book, then went back, organized my rough draft, and completely rewrote the entire thing! Now I know they say that writing is rewriting, but still, to rewrite the entire manuscript is just a little insane, isn’t it? So I want to get organized. I want to make sure every scene has a purpose, and that each scene propels my characters toward the climax and resolution of the story’s overriding conflicts. Is it so wrong to want to see a more direct line of thought whilst I write? And yet, I can’t but feel more like an amateur writer like this.
OK, I admit that I’ve only ever published 1 book, and that was self-published. But like I said, I’ve written maybe seven or eight full length novels. I’m talking about 120,000 words of relatively good writing in each novel. I’m no novice when it comes to putting words to paper and shaping a story. Why does this program make me feel like such a cop-out? I suppose I’m so accustomed to framing my ideas in a spiral-bound notebook that using someone else’s software just makes me feel… I dunno… yucky. And yet, I’m trying it anyway.
The thing is, as rudimentary as this program seems, it does offer some good stuff. For instance, the same outline that I use in my spiral-bound notebook is offered in the software. Each chapter gives you the option of adding scenes, and each scene has a viewpoint character, a description, a goal-conflict-resolution setup, and various ways to rate your scene. For instance, you can set the ratings of different aspects of the scene: relevency, tension, humour, and (something else that I can’t remember off the top of my head). You can also set the day, time, length of the scene, and beginning dates, so it helps with storyboarding also. You can keep a log of your characters with their biographies and overall goals, which is very helpful considering that my last novel had so many notes that I probably went through 5 spiral notebooks, which meant I had to rip out and transfer the bios of each character and relevant storyboards each time I changed. It also keeps track of word count, and you have the option of surveying your word usage. Pretty cool, especially since we writers seem to fall upon favorite words from time to time and end up using them close together in succession. I remember critiquing a fellow writer’s piece and I read “precipice of schizophrenia”. Pretty cool phrase, except that he used it three times in two pages. This program will actually pick up on your continued use of precipice and schizophrenia.
Things I don’t like about the program? It was a literal pain in the ass to figure out! I probably wrote the same notes four times before I finally realized they were being saved as .txt documents, and after that I copied and pasted the info into the program another two or three times before I figured out how to get it saved! Also, it’s helpful in showing storyboards, but it only saves scenes under the name of viewpoint characters, which makes it not very useful for me because this new book of mine is written in 1st person. I’ve only got one viewpoint character! I wish it would storyboard the characters that are involved in the scene, not just whose viewpoint it is. Or at least give you the option of assigning which characters should be given a certain scene. How else am I supposed to tell if I’ve left off on a certain character for too long?
Anyway, I’m going to persevere with this program for the first 50,000 words. If I don’t like it, I’ll stop using it. I’ll keep updating. All in all, it’s not a bad program, but it is rudimentary. A little too simple for a writer’s mind, if you ask me. But it is helpful. We’ll see. Then, too, I haven’t tried to format all this writing into a Word format acceptable for submissions. Anyway, we’ll see. Now, off to write another scene!