scrivener

What’s the Opposite of Writer’s Block?

I’m not sure if there is a term for the opposite of writer’s block but I think I have it. Let me explain.

For the past two years, I have been working on the same novel. A writerly friend once told me that an author said to her that it takes five years to get through your first 50 pages. I was skeptical but now that I’m two years in and still working on the first 50, I understand what he means.

What I planned was a slim, little absurdist novel that involves a quirky narrator set in present day NYC. The only thing that remains is the quirky (somewhat off-kilter) narrator and the main plot thread that ran through the narrative. The characters’ names remain the same and their relationships to the narrator are still intact but everything has become more complicated!

There is much more research than I originally envisioned, I have so many redrafts of those first 50 that I need to consolidate into one file folder and the characters have become much more fleshed out. Since I first started, I knew the plot from beginning to end, and many of the key points remain the same but everything is even more specific–events have changed and people have switched sides…

The reason why I say I’m experiencing the opposite of writer’s block is because I’m not having a shortage of ideas to write about or no project to work on. I have countless notebooks filled with my scribbles; my character profiles alone keep changing moment-to-moment.

How do people accomplish National Novel Writing Month?!? I know that the novels written in November are just first drafts and need to be worked on further but come on. I can see why professional authors employ research assistants. A corner in my bedroom is just library books.

Scrivener is helping me organize myself and not lose track of where I am in the manuscript (besides a ton of historical research, there are no chapters to divide the narrative). I was speaking with an aspiring playwright and she told me she uses a program for her “daily targets.” The name of the program escapes me but I also think this is a good idea.

Perhaps, in February, when I have nothing important due (I say that now), I will dedicate the month to my own version of NaNoWriMo. I just need a clever acronym or whatnot.

Contemplating Scrivener

Yesterday, I read about this fascinating software designed for writers working on long projects. It is called Scrivener and it is designed to keep track of all of your writing, research, notes, etc.

In Scrivener, you can enter a synopsis for each document on a virtual index card and then stack and shuffle the cards in the corkboard until you find the most effective sequence. Plan out your work in Scrivener’s outliner and use the synopses you create as prompts while you write. Or just get everything down into a first draft and break it apart later for rearrangement on the outliner or corkboard.

As an aspiring novelist, I have multiple files saved on two computers, many scribbled in notebooks, files that I email to myself, and stacks of books for research. Everything has been growing day-by-day; I find myself amending character profiles on random scraps of paper.

I’m always a little behind when it comes to technology and the internet, and had no idea about this software. I was about to go out and buy a corkboard/white board combo to hang on my bedroom wall, but if Scrivener lives up to its hype, I might have to nix the bedroom wall idea. Some of the features include: corkboard, outliner, tools for non-fiction writing, etc. (it even boasts a name generator).

I’ve never used this software or anything like it (just your standard Microsoft Word). I don’t know anyone who has it but I am very interested in hearing people’s reactions or personal experiences. Scrivener is an affordable $40 (with a $5 discount for students and educators). Should I take the plunge? They have a 30 day free trial. Perhaps, I will take a test run this weekend.

Their website also offers an extensive listing of Links for Writers. In the very least, that seems like well worth a glance.

Also, some information and reviews of the software courtesy of my tech writer, mamma.