Okay, now we’re cooking with gas.
Item 5.1 is still following up on the websites being down. PolyWogg.ca is back up, AstroPontiac.ca is now back up, and ManagementConsultingServices.ca should be back up tomorrow. And I’m still not turning into a squirrel about it.
Item 5.2 takes me into the realm of my desired end state for writing. I bought a new laptop last month to get me going, and in a more mobile state, so I’ve moved all my current works-in-progress over to the laptop with auto backup to the cloud. The files are all organized, and so I have, generally speaking, five current WIPs:
- An HR Guide, with the update started for 2021 but not progressed anywhere near as far as I had hoped this year.
- An Astronomy Guide, although “work-in-progress” is probably understating the situation since this is going to take me several years to complete.
- A first novel about a law student solving a murder just as he’s about to graduate.
- A “second” novel about the same student several years hence from graduation, but this one is likely to go more on the backburner. I will write it, but I think it is more of “book 5 or 6”, not book 2 in the series. I started writing it and found that I was having to try and do way too much exposition in my setup as I felt that I needed to share their backstory. Sue Grafton’s novels are awesome at this in subsequent novels, keeping the backstory to a minimum for her main character, Kinsey. Attempting to write the intro for this book convinced me I needed to start earlier for my main character, and to do so now rather than as a prequel for later. I knew the backstory, but I couldn’t let it go. Hence restarting that backstory as my first novel.
- A collection of short stories, although I am not entirely sure what this will look like or what I’m going to do with it. The stories are all very different, so not sure they fit together as a collection. I could just publish them on my website as “free fiction” so to speak. We’ll see.
Anyway, they’re all collected and organized at least.
Item 5.3 is more about actually being organized for writing, as I want to be able to switch back and forth between outlining as I go and a bit more seat-of-the-pants writing. I make lists out the wazoo in my work and personal life, lots of efforts over the years to perfect the ideal todo list format for me in different situations, and I’m very comfortable with that. In addition, for work, I generally work from an outline for most of our productions. And, more or less, I have an outline that I’m working with for my HR Guide. But here’s the strange part.
When I go to write fiction, I have very little attraction to the plotter method of writing to an outline. I am much more attracted and in line with the “pantser” model. I know, it surprises me too. But the first four chapters of my novel and even the first two of the other WIP all flow way better in “pantser mode” than they do in outline mode. I feel, umm, more creative? More liberated? Not sure the right word. But I do know a different word that is the determining factor. Pantser mode is way more fun. I have no idea what my characters are going to say before they say it. I have some general ideas of where I’m going, but the actual interactions? Nada. And as many writers have noted in their experiences, if you go to write something, and one of your characters refuses to do what you thought he / she was going to do? That’s the zone you’re aiming to get to and stay in.
I’m not writing the great Canadian novel by any stretch, but I’m having fun. Maybe when I’m done it will be worth publishing, maybe it won’t. But I’m already learning as I go, so I’ll stay with it. But what does this have to do with my item?
I want a tool that lets me do basic outlining in bulletin board / index card / pushpin mode. I can do most things in multiple tools, and I already wrote about it today (Playing with Scrivener). But I want a single tool, and thought I would give Scrivener a try. I also want to give it a FULL try so I set it up on my laptop and did the full tutorial for it. I’m far from an expert, but I know enough to get my various WIPs going with a decent setup.