Revamping: Coming soon!

•January 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The title is because I like puns.  But seriously, I’m required to have a blog for my class this semester, so this will be changing its look soon!

Now I have to decide what to write about… just do creative writing?  Juggling school, kids, life?  Talk about in general? Hmmm… thoughts, thoughts, thoughts.


The Precious, It’s Mine!

•January 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So here it is in all its glory, the new laptop!  It’s a 15.6″ HP G62 with an AMD processor.  I could go into how many gigs of memory it has and all that jazz, but this is me we’re talking about.  I don’t really care about most of it.  My husband is happy with the purchase and it will definitely get the job done.  I still have all sorts of software I need to install, but the point is that I have it.

It came with Windows 7, and I’m beginning to notice that some of the problems I was having when surfing the web and doing other things are likely Vista-related.  Plus, the old laptop wasn’t really having any other problems after the replacement of both the hard drive and the motherboard.  The hubby will be wiping it and installing Windows XP so that he can use it as a gaming laptop, which is really all he uses a computer for.  I’m the one who has all the important stuff: pictures, Quicken, Turbo Tax, buttloads of music, and of course, my writing.  We’re still keeping the slow and old desktop as it still serves its purpose and has been ridiculously reliable.  We did have to replace the hard drive on it about five or six years ago, but before it died, it gave us a warning of sorts (I forget what happened exactly), and we were able to back everything up and install a new hard drive before the old one completely went kaboom.

I checked out Scrivener’s website yesterday and noted that they still haven’t released the full version for Windows yet.  I debated downloading the most recent beta, but I think I’ll use the interim time to force myself to finish the reread of “Awakening Bloodlines”.  I’m editing as I go.  Not sure if that will end up being detrimental overall, but I simply can’t help it.  Old habits die hard.  But I figure since I’m having to reread it anyway, I get a free edit pass.  Right?

New Year’s Resolutions

•December 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After a year of doing very little writing but being a mom to a brand new baby girl, I’m about to get back into my writing groove.  My most awesome and perfect brother gave me the world’s best Christmas present.  (Well, okay, best Christmas present for me, at least.)  I shall be taking my $350 gift card to Best Buy and use it to purchase a brand new laptop.  Thus, my laptop crises will come to a most happy ending.  My current laptop will end up in the capable hands of my husband who has spent countless hours working on this blasted thing.  It will become a gaming laptop and will therefore no longer be trusted to hold pertinent information of any kind.

This thing ate about 6,000 words back in November, but I can only blame myself for not backing it up.  I’m taking it as a sign to go back and work on my “shelved” project: Awakening Bloodlines.  As I haven’t even glanced at it in quite some time, I’m a little apprehensive about picking it up again.  I’ll have to read what’s there and then decide if I should leave it and keep writing or edit what I already know needs fixing.  Tough one.  I already know that pretty much the entire first chapter needs to be sliced off, but at the same time, I’m trying to get past this obsessive-compulsive need to edit my work as I go.  I’m up for suggestions, advice and/or recommendations here.  I’m really not looking forward to the task of rereading it, but rather the writing that will pick up after.

So, other resolutions…  I resolve to blog at least once a week, read some of those books about novel-writing on my shelf, and find what works for me in terms of writing time that won’t make me pull my hair out.  Oh, and I’ll continue with my Weight Watchers diet.  Rough stuff being on a diet during the holidays, but it was nice to have already made progress before the new year.

And now to print up my current draft of Awakening Bloodlines.  Pay no attention to the moaning and whining.

The Laptop Saga Continues…

•October 27, 2010 • 1 Comment

Last time on “The Laptop”, we found our intrepid writer busily readying herself to get back  into her groove…

Yeah, okay, well, I’m on the laptop, but I’m not a happy camper.  If I have the number lock engaged, several of the letter keys come up as numbers.  Watch this: He336 every6ne, 5sn’t th5s the c663est th5ng ever+!  Heh.  Not a lot of fun.  I could pretend to be cool and try and say it’s L33t speak or whatever that nonsense is, but those in the know would be happy to tell you that I’m not that cool–or more to the point, that my grammatical prowess won’t let me type something so obnoxious because I’m just a tad OCD about good grammar, punctuation, etc.  So there’s problem number one.

The second problem is that the quote and apostrophe key is temperamental.  If I want to use the quotes, I have to space and then back up to get it to work.  Same with the apostrophe.  When writing fiction, this becomes a difficult obstacle.  Especially when one types as fast as I do.  It’s really putting a dent in how long it takes me to type a page.  I don’t know if there’s any real fix for these problems because after a little investigating, other HP laptop users have encountered the same problem.  Bleh.

The good news!  Yes, there’s good news!  As promised, Scrivener has released a beta version for Windows users!  Pardon me while I do a craptastic happy dance. <Insert pause here.> Okay, all better.  But seriously, this is the absolute best software out there for novel-writing.  It’s why so many authors can be seen with Macs–well, that’s my theory at any rate.  Interested? Please understand that this is the beta version and you should read all the info there about how a beta works and what they need, etc, etc.  If you have a Facebook page, I highly recommend seeking them out on Facebook for helpful tips and whatnot.  The guys that created this software are awesome!

Now to figure out how to get around this quote and apostrophe issue…

Technology Bites…or Bytes?

•October 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Somewhere between Illinois and the great state of Texas, my laptop’s new motherboard resides in that chaotic state of being “in transit”.  I know I’ve been quiet for ages, but trying to accomplish anything noteworthy on my dinosaur of a desktop is a lesson in frustration.  It’s slower than molasses and even though I’m one to attempt murder on a keyboard, even with how hard I type, sometimes it doesn’t register a pressed key.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I could go on at length to explain how not being able to zone out to Pandora while utilizing WriteWay isn’t even possible, but I’ll spare myself the agony of those details.  Thinking of it even now makes my eyes well up just a bit.

Once the new motherboard arrives and is lovingly installed, likely amidst a strain of inappropriate expletives, I will be all set to tear up this year’s NaNoWriMo.  I currently have in the works a brand new idea as well as the foreign concept of a rough outline.  Never outlined a manuscript before, so it feels awkward, but at the same time, it feels very organized.  I feel the days of writing as a “pantster” are close to an end.  We’ll see what comes of it.  I have this feeling it’ll either be a complete disaster or lead to me finally reaching that goal of “The End.”

In other writing technology news, the lovely makers of Scrivener have announced a Windows version.  Le gasp! And they’re even doing it in conjunction with NaNoWriMo, so that successful completion comes with a coupon for 50% off the product.  How sweet is that? And just in time for NaNoWriMo will be a beta release around October 25th or so.  If you’re not familiar with Scrivener, it’s quite possibly one of the best software programs on the market for novelists.  Up until now, it’s only ever been available for Mac users.  This is why you see many of the best-selling writers using Macs. I’d be willing to bet they’ve got Scrivener.  Just one of those little things I’ve learned through my personal writing experience.

Feels like this is just that month where things will turn around for me in the writing sense.  With any luck, my next blog will be done from my laptop!

The Perfect Drug

•February 8, 2010 • 3 Comments

I admit to rarely (if ever) bothering to read entire articles printed in the RWR (Romance Writers Report), the monthly magazine printed for and by RWA (Romance Writers of America).  But this month’s “The Last Word,” written by Jillian Clemmons, screamed at me.

“Are Books Your Crack?” was the title.  Simple answer?  Yes, yes they are.

I knew that I didn’t even need to bother to read the “Eleven Ways to Tell if You’re Addicted” to know that I had a serious problem.  One look at my Quicken expense report on how much I spent on books last year would be enough.  I had one bill totaling over $100 in one trip.  That’s bad, folks.  And there’s no Readers Anonymous meetings for those of us compelled to read more than we write.  Still, I feel compelled to share this list.  And no, I’m not going to tell you which ones I’m guilty of.

–          Your bookshelf is stuffed with unread books, and you just bought one more.

–          You have a different audiobook every day… for your car, laptop, and iPod.

–          The library clerk has to remind you, again, that you’re at your limit for check-outs.

–          You have more than 200 friends on, but the local librarian is your best bud.

–          The only writing you do is book reviews.  (Okay, so clearly doing a review of this article makes me guilty of this one.)

–          People have begun to follow your reviews.

–          You’re skimming a magazine on the elliptical machine, while you’re listening to a book on tape.

–          There are more than 500 books on your to-read list.

–          Friends say they’re amazed at how many books you’ve read.  Repeat: read, not written.

–          Neighbors marvel at your ability to walk the dog while reading.

–          Your family resents books.

While the above list can easily be laughed at and even seem somewhat extreme, it is actually a real problem for me and can very much be blamed as one of a few reasons why I haven’t finished one of my manuscripts yet.  (I plan on covering the other reasons another day.)  The article listed twelve steps to recovery, but that list is somewhat longer and more involved and not necessarily relevant to me.  So, I’m going to use parts of it to create my own fail-proof method for making sure I get some writing done.

  1. No more buying books for a while until I get through the books on my shelf. Now, I know this sounds harsh, but it will also put money back in my pocket.  I’m excluding books purchased with gift cards and I’m also excluding the possibility of utilizing the library.  We’ll see how this goes.
  2. I must limit myself to reading no more than one non-craft book a week. If I’m reading more than one book a week then there’s the potential for all sorts of things not getting done in my life.  So this is just good practice.
  3. I’m not allowed to read until I’ve written at least 1,000 words on a weekday or 100 words on a weekend. Breathe, Kathryn, you will live through this one.  This also goes for craft books.
  4. Leave the dishes there. They will still be there later.  So will the laundry, the cleaning, the bills… ugh.
  5. Take a solid week off from reading. Eek!  This was one of the suggestions from the article, but I admit that I am too weak to even think of doing this one right now.  I just started a new-to-me series and I want to get through the most current one before I do this.  I hate forgetting what happened in prior books.  So yeah, that’s my excuse.  Lame, I know, but…moving on!
  6. Set goals for myself. Again, taken from the article.  Letting these manuscripts drag on unfinished for however long it has been now is tragic.
  7. Stay away from time-wasting websites and no logging into Yahoo! Messenger during writing time. This will be another hard one.  So if you see me online when I should be writing, throw a virtual shoe at me?

With any luck, some or all of these will help push me closer to finishing one or all three of my current manuscripts in progress.

Writing Software: The Journey

•November 16, 2009 • 6 Comments

After starting three separate manuscripts, I’ve discovered that writing in Word is not what to do if you’re trying to accomplish a completed full-length novel.  Successful novelists I’ve spoken with look at me as if I’ve told them I’m using an abacus instead of a calculator.  Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but I’m not far off.

I had started researching various writing software after I read on someone’s blog (possibly Larissa Ione’s, but I’m not sure) about Scrivener.  Scrivener seems to be what many prefer, but that only works if you’ve got a Mac.  Much to my dismay, the software is not available for Windows-based systems.  So, while I’m now (for the first time ever) praying for a Mac, I decided to investigate some of the software programs recommended by the Scrivener folks for those of us not blessed with a Mac.  They list several good ones on their website.

Last Tuesday, I went to an ARWA meeting where our speaker was going to be our own Julie Kenner talking about building a story bible.  Little did I know, this would be a life-changing experience for me.  Well, okay, a writing-changing experience for me.  She had several screen shots printed out of what Scrivener looked like and how she used it for various things.  She also used something called Evernote, but I have yet to look into that.  After asking some of the ladies in our group what they used and after some investigation, I discovered that WriteWay Pro is my best option.  For a close but not quite comprehensive option that’s free, look into yWriter 5.

For me, the more organized I can make something, the more excited I get about it.  This goes for just about every aspect of my life.  Case in point, I bought a new family planner recently and sat down for quite some time just to play around with the dates, stickers, etc.  My schedule is now highly organized, but I digress.  I was feeling lost and overwhelmed after sorting through 100+ pages of current manuscript trying to figure out when the first time my hero bit my heroine occurred.  Yes, I said bit; it’s a vampire story.  Plugging it into WriteWay Pro (only the demo right now as I have yet to purchase the full software) has been extraordinarily helpful, but it is taking away from my writing time while I try to organize my scenes into chapters.  The good news is my first chapter is 100% established and I feel that this manuscript now has a concrete base that I’m excited about continuing to develop!

Note: I don’t have links to any of these posted, but if you Google the aforementioned software, it’s easy to find.