Woohoo New Laptop

I am so fricking excited to have a shiny new laptop! I had an Asus Chromebook for a while. It suited me really well, long battery life and light weight.  Even after I spilt water on it causing the arrow and shift key to stop working I still had an affinity for my little Chrook (because who doesn’t love a portmanteau).

When it started turning off at random intervals I started looking for alternatives. Not long after that it point blank refused to turn on. It was at that moment I realized how much I relied on my Chrook every day. My mental health took a hit. I am eternally thankful for a loan from my mum, I would have been waiting a long time to save enough money.

After looking at a fair few Chromebooks I decided that I wanted windows based operating system. Scrivener is my writing tool of choice and Chromebooks are unable to support the programme.  Browsing John Lewis I stumbled upon the Lenovo Yoga, Super lightweight, nicely spaced keys, decent sound and good quality video. It actually holds up to the claim of eight hours of battery life, really simple battery saving mode too. I’m enjoying using the Cortana voice recognition for dictation. I never thought I’d use the touchscreen or convertible mode, the screen can rotate 360 degrees. However, I’m finding it really useful. My husband and I like to watch shows in bed and folding the keyboard back gives us a bit more space.  I’ve ended up using it as a tablet too.

For any writers out there interested in a lightweight laptop I can recommend both the Acer Chromebook and Lenovo Yoga, depending on your priorities. The Chromebook has 12 hours battery and a larger screen.

 

acer
Acer Chromebook CB3-431 14 with 14 inch Screen, 4 GB RAM, 32 GB Storage, Chrome OS, 12 hour Battery Life
lenovo yoga
Lenovo Yoga 710 Convertible Laptop, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 11.6″, Windows 10 OS, 8 Hours Battery Life

 

Todays Wordcount: 322

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Fun with templates

I’m a big fan of Scrivener, I’ve been using it to write for about a year but only recently discovered how much fun I can have  with templates. If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know I’ve been working on getting my novel ready to be sent off to a couple of competitions at the end of the month.

I’ve got my synopsis somewhere close to where I want it and now I’m working on the first 10,000/15,000 words of the novel. I very much like all the words in my first few chapters, however not all of them are necessary or particularly relevant. Luckily for me, Lady Writer has provided a scrivener template which I can follow. I’ve written a short sentence for each chapter and I feel like I need to get to the action a bit sooner.  I never thought I would be excited to cut words but I’m a sucker for a good plan.

You guys should definitely check out this yummy spreadsheet.

Today’s word count: around 300

No Synopsis, but a Hero’s Journey

Once upon a time, I used to think authors sprung into life fully formed. They produced a novel without advice or influence from another living being. In my teens, I was steadfastly stubborn. I did not want books or official teaching on writing. I assumed it would somehow cheapen the ‘magical’ experience of writing a novel. I wasn’t the smartest of teenagers. Looking back on it now it was probably my crippling insecurities masquerading  as pride.

I now hold strong to the belief that being confined by a structure breeds rebellion and therefore, creativity.

I still think my most intricate and creative work comes from free-writing, but I am no longer ashamed to say I need help to structure that creativity into something that can be understood.

I was first introduced to the concept of the Hero’s Journey, or the Monomyth, at university, I began researching Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a thousand faces for an essay and came back to it for my dissertation. My dissertation centred around Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A piece I happened to be very high on painkillers whilst writing. They were for a slipped disk, not recreation, but it did give me a unique perspective. I was thankful for Vogler’s  slightly less dense text Writer’s journey: Mythic structure for writers.

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To get back to my original point, if there was one, I found this spectacular website, Better Novel Project, run by the ingenious Christine. She   takes the essence of the Heroes Journey and shows how Twilight, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games all adhere to it.

Teenage me would have scoffed at the idea but present me is absolutely delighted. I’ll not waste time with my current novel as I am revising it now. However this simple, if highly detailed, template will make plotting out future novels something akin to painting by numbers. I have no trouble creating worlds, and I sometimes forget the characters in my novels aren’t real. Structure is my issue.

I discovered this website  whilst skilfully avoiding writing my synopsis. I did, however, find a few promising pages to help me write the synopsis. I then spent far too long copying and pasting the articles into Scrivener and formatting them with gaps for my own word.

I’m itching to start a new novel, or more accurately, return to a very rough draft. Being ill for the past couple of days and doing absolutely nothing has given me fresh creative enthusiasm. However, I must get back to this synopsis. I’m trying to get it done because there are a couple of competitions coming up which require a synopsis and the first 15,000 words or so of the novel. Competitions feel a lot less scary than agents.

Here’s the useful links I found for writing a synopsis

How to write a synopsis By Glen C. Strathy

How to write a 1-page synopsis by Susan Dennard 

The anatomy of a short Synopsis by Christine Fonseca 

Chiselling Through the Second Part of my Novel

Here we go, after much procrastination, I sat myself down at the computer and opened up Scrivener. I was determined to get started on the next part of my novel. The point of view changes in the second part and I am, in essence, rewriting this massive chunk from another perspective. With the greatest of intentions, I stared at a blank screen. Several minutes passed before I realised I could not crack on until I gathered all the scenes from this  character from my   earlier draft.

I spent my time copying and pasting masses of text, a lot of it very poorly written, into my current draft. In the end, this will save my time, but right now it hurts my brain. I did manage to cut out almost 4000 words by ignoring irrelevant or repeated scenes.

The only writing I actually did was a scene by scene breakdown of the next chapter. I am looking forward to writing the chapter now I have a place to start.

Word Count: 339

Words read and copied: 17,474

My eyes hurt now.

Getting back to writing my Novel

Today I sat back down in my writing nook opened Scrivener and actually worked properly on my novel again. I’m working on revising this draft, it involves a lot of  re-writing and shifting around of perspective and timelines. Today I planned out a fair bit of the structure for the next few chapters. I also completed  the penultimate scene for this part of my novel.  I’m pretty happy with the scene, but then I always am before I’ve re-read it.

Today’s Word count: around 600 words 🙂