Ink-Stained Scribe

New Computer, New Podcast, New Revisions, New Program

I have a lot on my plate this November. Not only will I be turning a quarter of a century old, but I'm tentatively participating in NaNoWriMo to help me finish the rewrites I need, and three friends and I are also releasing a literary variety show podcast called "Pendragon Variety"

Finally, finally, finally, finally I have a new computer! My last one was about four years old, which I bought second hand at a store here in Japan. You know what that means? JAPANESE OS! Don't be impressed--there was very little on the screen I understood, and most of what I was able to accomplish using that computer was the product of trial and error. I don't even want to talk about the first time I got my computer stuck in Japanese and couldn't make it type English...(Thankfully, there's an easy-fix button for that. Apparently, this is enough of a problem even in Japan to necessitate an easy-fix button.)

But my new computer is a big, sleek, shiny thing that speaks English and shows me all kinds of wonderful new programs and features. I think I just met my future husband. I named him Merlin.

Revisions are WAY behind schedule, mostly because I've basically been rewriting rather than revising. The positive side to that is, I'm much happier with the beginning of the story, and the world feels much richer and more complex this time around, as do the characters. There aren't so many trite and unwieldy moments of blatant exhibition, and I do far less telling about my characters. I'm especially pleased with the first half of chapter five, where Bay is introduced. I think he comes across as far more conflicted and mature than he did in the original draft. And less like a child molester (thank you, Raven). Shiro is also a bit different. I wanted to make him even more distant in the first bit, so that his perspective, later on, is more shocking.

Currently, I'm writing chapter six. I know where I need to go, but it's proving difficult to go there for some reason. I already restarted the chapter once, and what I've got is fine, but it's not picking up any bulk, and it's not quite coming organically. Maybe that's just me whining, though, so I'm going to push on with it, and rewrite from a different angle if I have to.

Oh my God. Why did I say I'd have this done by New Years? I think that was awfully sanguine. I'll be lucky if I can finish writing all of the new scenes by that time. I guess I'd better get used to the idea of eating natto.

NEW PROGRAM. Oh my God, if you've never used Microsoft OneNote, you must be initiated into the organization tool of the gods. This is like an organizer's erotica. I can click anywhere on the page and write a note, keep things in separate tabs in a "notebook" and have different notebooks. I can make checklists that link to tasks in Microsoft Word and Outlook, or that I just keep for myself. I'm currently using it to track my revision and do an exercise I stole from Dr. Busonik: the "so what?"-test.

The "so what?"-test is something that helped me write A papers all throughout university, even when I started them the night before. You make a point, and then you ask yourself, "so what?" You then answer that question and use those answers as your support or defense of what you said. Having worked in my Uni's writing center, I found that one of the biggest issues (besides a general lack of grammar and syntax and ENGLISH) was that students didn't tend to explain the importance or significance of the points they wrote, but expected the readers to make the connection on their own.

Back to the point. I'm using OneNote to map out my novel and write out short synopses of the chapters, and on the right side of the page, I'm writing a bulleted list that shows what is accomplished in the story in that chapter. In a sense, that bulleted list is that chapter's "so what?"-test. Arianna does this. "So what?" It accomplishes this in the story.

This is horribly convenient. "Horribly" because I'm not sure whether it's the greatest tool on the face of the planet for organizing, brainstorming, and planning, or whether it's the second greatest tool on the face of the planet for wasting time. The first, World of Warcraft, doesn't apply to me...though I suppose I could substitute that with the internet in general.

See you folks later.