29 September 2013

NaNoWriMo - and those who [don’t] can’t

For reasons I won’t go into – it’s a lengthy list – I’ve been nearly three weeks away from applying a keystroke to The Bull At The Gate. This is not good. Especially as I am well within its last quarter.

Not only have I lost the emotional surge of the main character that went with cranking up the ante, but the quiet tapping from the shaky structure of one of the three intersecting storylines has changed into a bass echo from the abyss.

So today I have spent a good amount of time updating the written chapter outline – when, where & with whom; harvested seeds sown and sown seeds for harvesting later; conflict & motivation; atmosphere; mental tone of the viewpoint character; and all the rest of the small fry that most readers glance over but together become Big Fry. I wanted this detailed overview to see if I was worrying unduly (unfortunately, no) and to help put together a plan to SORT IT.

Into this, like the timely Irish fairy that she is, came into my Inbox a blogpost from Catherine, Caffeinated on the length of time it takes her to write, punctuated by what passes for a certain amount of gnashing of teeth. Apart from soothing my own fevered brow – writers always think they are alone when these sinkholes appear – she asked for readers’ solutions in the Comments.

Oooh, some of them are very instructive. Do go look. If you’ve ever found youself in a bind, it may well prove a writing-process-changing moment.

[Note: for those who’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, it’s the (Inter)National Novel Writing Month of November organisation where plucky individuals sign themselves up to write 50,000 words of a dirty draft in 30 days. No pondering allowed. As I intimated at the top, not much point me signing up then.]

17 September 2013

Home again, Home again, clickety-click

Except it’s not quite that simple. Is anything?

Just returned from a great holiday in the Austrian/Swiss Alps where we travelled on the Bernina Express (three spectacular glaciers) and the Glacier Express (but saw no glaciers on the Davos-Andermatt section). Okay, so I’ve got a thing about glaciers. There are worse things to be awed by.

Like Microsoft.

Yep, I returned to find Windows 7 had updated. For reasons too complicated to get embroiled in, I still use Word 2002. Hey, if I’d had the choice I’d never have abandoned WordPerfect, but we all have our crosses to bear. Windows 7 comes with Word 2010 Starter. I tried it when I bought the new laptop. It attempted to wreck the formatting of my then work-in-progress so I installed good ol’ 2002.

But due to the recent updates my system will not recognise Word 2002, only Word 2010, and my files are a sea of orange icons – Argh!! It’s enough to send me into the arms of Apple. If Microsoft would stop “acting in my best interests” and merely work I wouldn’t be spending all tomorrow uninstalling and reinstalling software.  

Any odd sounds detected could be a gnashing of teeth.