November BIW: Fail

It's Saturday night, Day 6 of the November BIW challenge. I've written 29 pages. That means, in order to achieve my goal of 200 pages, I have to finish 171 pages by 7 am (my time) Monday morning. I have a whole list of reasons/excuses why I haven't accomplished more. It really comes down to the fact that I didn't apply myself. Monday, I got some done. Not a lot, but some. Tuesday, I wasted my writing time by staring at the television as the election results came in, like somehow me watching was going to affect the results.

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BIW & NaNoWriMo in one convenient week?

It's November which means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and BIW (Book in a Week). NaNoWriMo started on the first of November and BIW starts tomorrow. The premise of NaNoWriMo is to write the rough draft of a 50,000 word novel in one month. Thousands of people accept the challenge each year and urge each other to the finish line in forums and chatrooms. Faceoff of the Heart is my NaNoWriMo novel from 2006 (with lots of editing and changes).

If you've read my blog for a while, you already know about BIW. ;) Perhaps you remember from last month that I gave up on BIW as soon as I reached my goal, which was Friday afternoon, wasting an entire weekend that I could have been adding pages.

This month for BIW, I set my goal at 200 pages, which just happens to come out to approximately 50,000 words. Conveniently, 50,000 words is the magic winning number for NaNo.

Most likely, I've bitten off more than I can chew. But, it is supposed to be a challenge so there we go. Challenge away. Even if I don't manage the entire 200 pages in one week, I'll get a substantial amount of writing done and that'll make me happy.

I hope to have the rough draft of Mercy wrapped up by the end of the month. My goal for Mercy is 100,000 words, but whatever it takes to complete the story is what will happen.

What are your goals for BIW and/or NaNoWriMo?

Scrivener Revisited

Okay. I admit it. I was wrong. I'm not 100% sold yet, but I'm still playing with Scrivener and I've found some features I really like that are not available on OneNote. Word count. I love knowing how many words I have in a document. In OneNote, I had to use an Add-on to get word counts, and it still only counted the words on each page, there was no way to count how many words in the "draft" section of my notebook. Scrivener does word counts.

scrivener_text_statsText statistics (click on the picture to see it larger). Scrivener has the ability to tell me how many times I've used each word in a document. As a few people who have read my drafts know, I tend to have a LOT of bobble-heads who like to pat each other and shrug. In Scrivener, I can see that I used "shrug" 78 time in the first chapter and "nod" was used 24 times in the second paragraph.

Targets. It's nice to set a target word count for each scene and see a bar graph change colors as I get closer to reaching my goal.

Corkboard. And everyone's favorite feature of Scrivener, the corkboard, is awesome for rearranging scenes! I assigned a different color label for each of my plot lines and can visually see when all the "red plot lines" are bunched together instead of spread through the entire story. The same could be done with perspectives to see if Character A has more scenes told from their perspective than Character B in any part of the story.

Cross-platform compatibility. I can open my Scrivener projects on either of my computers and make changes. Some features are only available on the Mac version right now, but it's nice to know I can use either of my computers, as long as I keep the files up-to-date on Dropbox (or a similar online storage site). I'm currently using the trial version on both my iMac and my Windows 7 laptop.

If you have the same type of desktop and laptop, you can use the same license for both. If you have different operating systems on your desktop and laptop, you'll have to decide whether it's worthwhile to you to purchase a license for each. Scrivener does provide directions for syncing with SimpleNote on an ipad.

These are just the features that I used over the weekend and really loved. I saw some other stuff in the menus that I think I'll like, but will wait to comment on those until after I've used the feature.

Don't take my word for it, download your own trial version and see what you think. It's available for both Windows and Mac now! Just don't give up if the tutorial confuses you, like I almost did.

And if you decide to buy, S.M. Worth has a coupon code on his blog for 20% off. He also has lots of other great stuff!

Cleaning house

If you've ever been to my house, you may have seen some antique steamer trunks in various places. (We actually only have two in use in this house, the others are in storage.) One of them is full of shoes and doubles as a bench in the entry way. The other day, I went through it and donated a bunch of shoes to Goodwill since the shoes no longer fit. The other trunk is hiding in the corner of the living room, behind the kids' toybox. In there are 15 years of accumulated scribbles. Notebooks, multiple revisions of various stories are in there. I'm not sure why I've kept them all this time, but I really like looking at my scribbled up pages.

Today, I reached my writing goal earlier than normal, so I decided it was time to start sorting that out.

So far, I've scanned four stories scribbled on notebook paper, one story that's 90 pages long (typed yet not saved in my backups), and a couple of pages of ideas I'd scribbled and never developed. My goal is to clean out the trunk, yet have everything I can't part with stored on CDs. That'll free up the Trunk O' Writing Junk" for other purposes.

What about you? Do you have boxes and boxes of paper that you can't bear to part with?