Behold my beautiful pie chart!  And the progress it indicates!

(I didn’t start this piechart until well into the home stretch.  
Otherwise I think I would’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of work I
had to do.  So my advice to you is don’t start a pie chart right away.)

Xposted from https://athenasdesk.wordpress.com

Yet another set of stupid Word tricks


First, if you enjoy tabs, you’ll love this free add-on that lets you have tabs in Word, Excel and PowerPoint (works up until Office 2013):


Second, if you’re like me and occasionally have multiple drafts of the same story running around, here’s an easy trick to differentiate them (in Office 2010 anyway):

On the Ribbon, hit Page Layout, then Page Color.

There!  Won’t affect your printing unless you change things around in Options.

Now you can tell at a glance which version you’re working on!  And perhaps prevent eyestrain!

Finally, Control+Click selects a whole sentence at once.

The things you learn before 8AM on a Thursday!

Stupid Microsoft Word Tricks


After you’re done editing a document in Word, save it and close it.

When you reopen it, hit SHIFT+F5.  Congrats–you are now back to the last place the cursor was editing.

Wish I coulda known this last year when I was in the middle of making SCVK…Would’ve saved me a lot of PageDowns!  On the other hand, it did teach me to use the document map.  Hmm…

* * *

I’m long overdue for an update but I wanted to at least share that tip.

Two Tips for Writers

Muse at 11, Writing

First, the general tip:  If your next scene isn’t starting off right, it might mean your last scene isn’t finished yet.  Take the scene a little further: it might launch you right into your next scene.

Second: When you’re trying to find out different members of royalty are addressed, you’ll have better look looking up “royal stylings” or “royal styles” than “royal forms of address.”  Took me months to discover this!  It also helps if there’s a monarch alive with the title you’re writing for (in my case, I had to go to Denmark.)

Warning to Print-Heavy Writers


I just blew through a brand new black inkjet cartridge in, oh, a half-an-hour, printing the pages of my novel I hadn’t yet printed out (because…er…I was out of ink).  Only 81 pages to go!

The cartridge was only $15 and printed out about 160 odd pages, so I guess it was worth it, but if I had a Delorean, I’d get up to 88 and then buy me a Brother brand laser printer.  I hear that toner lasts for many more pages than an ink cartridge does.

For novel writing, I usually only use black (for text) and red (for things I’m not sure about, or notes to myself), so I could probably make do with greyscale printing only.

So I went from being inkless (many months) to having ink (3 days) and now I’m back to being inkless!

Planning a Novel with Post-Its!


As I said in an earlier post, I tend to get images of major scenes, and then I sort of write my way towards them, picking up other ideas and threads as I go.  Right now I’m organizing everything through the magic of Post-It notes!

ImageThey’re just inside a cabinet door in my room.  The blue ones are scenes I know for certain will happen–and in what order–while green are scene ideas that haven’t indicated when they’ll occur.  Or if.

I like this set-up because I can move ’em around, rewrite, or ‘lock in’ scenes whenever.  On the downside, they occasionally fall off and get crumpled when I’m getting my pajamas out.

“One person’s mess is merely another person’s filing system.”  –Margo Kaufman

The Wall – Part 1


I am not 100% a “pantser” nor a “planner”–I’m more of a “road trip writer.”  I know the general direction I’m heading and some major landmarks along the way, but I’m not picky about how I get to the landmarks: I let the characters do their thing and I end up seeing some pretty spiffy side-jaunts, and we end up where we need to go.

Recently I hit the last big landmark, a massacre at Lanakila Camp (for years it was called “Litlen.”  One of my major characters also got a name-change midgame, from Marzu Makza to Marzu Mākaha, because I want POLYNESIA IN SPACE durnit!!).  After the massacre, I knew my protagonist would date a gal, get married and start leading his double-life with a family in tow.

Only one problem: the family wasn’t showing up.  And except for a name-drop a hundred pages ago, the date wasn’t showing up either.

For many years, I knew Lanakila Camp was my last big scene, and I didn’t have any solid landmarks after that.  I knew afterwards, this family thing would happen (I had bios and names and occupations for all the kids; I’d fleshed out different scenarios with these characters every night in my head while waiting for sleep to arrive) and I figured from there, the novel’d guide me.

It was extremely strange, realizing that this entire time, while I thought I was preparing for the second half of my novel, I’d basically been envisioning fanfic of it for the past few years.

Hunh, I thought to myself.  There was no way I could shoehorn a family in.  And I wasn’t feeling it anyway (I refuse to force things into my stories…they’re either there–usually extremely there, with making up mind-melting explanations as I hang on for dear life–or they’re not.)

Unsure how to cope, I did what any self-respecting writer would do: I wrote about it.  I wrote out all my fears about no longer having a clear direction to follow, about how, if I was honest, it was true, his wife had never had a character that gripped me.  I talked about how this made sense–my cast had grown to a point where it couldn’t sustain another five major characters…but also had enough different personalities to work interesting things with.  Plus, I realized, the story really got cookin’ when things were focused around my two leads–adding a third lead would just dilute the impact of that relationship.

Writing all this helped me let go of that alternate universe that I thought was going to be canon.  I typed out the aftermath of Lanakila Camp and reminded myself that if I showed up, the writing would show me what it wanted to do.

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ”  — Coco Chanel