Hail, Scrivener!

With the writing I’ve been doing the past week I’ve gotten curious if there are ways to make, you know, the job easier.  Word has been my tool of choice if for no other reason than it’s something I’ve used for 20 years.  The biggest issue I’ve been having with my latest story is the amount of research I’ve done.  Info on ghosts and other creatures in Indonesia, maps of Bali, keeping long character and village names straight in my head . . . it was a bit of work.

A few months back I found information linking me to a program known as Scrivener, a writing studio program originally developed for the Mac.  Not so great for me, however, is I have a Devil Dell and Windows is my platform.  But, what’s that you say?  There’s a beta for Windows?  Yeah, there is.  And so I downloaded it.

Now, I didn’t really know what the hell to do with it.  Write, yeah, but what else?  With my current project, and the notes I’ve created, the research I’ve developed, I thought, “Hey, lets see what I can do with this.”  So this morning I started loading everything over from my Word document to Scrivener–

Oh, man.  It’s like having a Companion Cube and knowing you never have to burninate it.

You have everything right there at your fingertips, in an online binder, and when you need something do you a quick click and there is information on a character, and there is information on town, or link to a map, or a wiki entry . . . it lets you have everything you want in one place so you don’t have to start looking for a bunch of files to help you bring your story together.

The one function I love is the ability to work on your story scene by scene, which is something I’m doing now.  You can develop and build each seen, put them in sections, and when you’re ready use the Compile tool to merge everything into a single document for submission or publication.  So you can break your story down to the easiest levels, get them nice and tight without needing to scroll all over the place, then put them together in the end the way you like–or your editor likes.

It’s not going to make you a better writer–I mean, if you suck you’ll just be a sucky writer who’s better organized.  But if you can walk the walk, then this is gonna help you enormously.

And if you find Scrivener isn’t your thing, The Lierature and Latte sites gives you a number of alternatives.

Getting a Ghost On Stage Isn’t Easy

Oh, boy.  Today’s writing seemed a bit on the schizo side, if only because I had to take a couple of breaks (to hear about “things”) and to switch music.  And look up the names of towns in Bali, which I thought I had down last night and wuz wrong.  But I rocked out to Yes, and I gave my ghost a name.

I even got people standing in an open lot!

It was a bit strange, because when I was writing it felt like I had a great flow of energy pouring out.  But, I also went in fits and spurts.  Let me show you the log I have in the story (yes, I keep track of my word count over the time of songs played–like I told you, I’m nuts):


  • 464 words in 18:45
  • 195 words in 8:53
  • 216 words in 10:13
  • 156 words in 5:32
  • 116 words in 3:50


What I like when I’m looking at this is I can see how I was moving along, then slowed, then seemed to speed up but probably didn’t, then did, and then . . . well, I’m not sure what that last section did.  If I break down the word count per section, I get this:


  • 24.75 words/min
  • 21.96 words/min
  • 21.34 words/min
  • 28.21 words/min
  • 30.29 words/min


I can account for the pickup in word counts on the last two sections due to it being more of a conversation between the two main characters , where as sections 2 and 3 involved describing the scenes.  “Showing” can be a pain because you need to flip your mind over into seeing the scene in your head, then “showing” it to your readers.  I feel I did a good job–not great, but good–and I’m happy with the outcome.

The final total for the day was 1147 words in 48:13, which works out to 23.79 words a minute, or 1427 words and hour.  And that’s not a bad total, though today I could feel the words fighting to get out, rather than flowing as they have in the previous days, but I don’t consider that to be an issue.  It’s the weekend, folks, and I’ve got . . . distractions.  Tomorrow resets to Monday, and while I have some business in the morning, I’ll probably get through my writing rather quickly.  I know what comes next, and I think this will be there shit starts to get a little real.

Particularly if I get my next big reveal in tomorrow.