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  • Writer's pictureBill

Finally Some Help: A Start

Finally! We can get around to writing a new novel. If this were a book on writing (and there are megatons of them) I’d have to summarise and critique a whole bunch of ways to do it. But here, I’ll make it simple. You need to get past the frustration stage by fooling around with three simple programs on the computer. (Don’t tell me you use a quill and foolscap).

1. The one that’s already familiar to you is Word. It’s versatile, and though it has complexities, like bridge or chess, even beginners can use its basics. When you”re farther down the road, the “review” function is hard to beat when others may be helping you with developmental, line, and proof editing

2. When you’re on speaking terms with Word, next Google a line with these three words: “Randy Snowflake Writing.” Up will come his website advertising his books and a download for his Snowflake method of getting started on your novel. The principle is simple. Start with a one word sentence of your idea. Then build it up from there, step by step, into a few pages that fill out your idea including sketches of a few of your characters. That’s about it. You can download his simple program to do it. I've signed up on his website and like his chatty and useful emails.

3. Last, when you’re ready for scenes and chapters, you need Scrivener. You can download a free sample and play with it. After a short while, you’ll delete the program and curse me for suggesting it. Trust me. Go back to the free sample and when you finally figure out the cork board, and how to create a couple of chapters with one or two scenes, you will kiss my toes. Then it can get complicated (in an elegant way)—for example, check out the “compile” feature. Also, it's easy to transport text between Scrivener and Word.

I've talked about the why in earlier posts ("blog" is such a downer of a word. Sound it out. Who would anyone want to read anything called a blog). This post is a start about the how. The content, in all its beauty; that's going to be the hard part.

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