Posts Tagged With: scrivener

How to write a book, Typewriter keyboards, Short stories, and Philosophy – Weekend Roundup June 5

If you write, and you haven’t heard of Scrivener, go look it up.  Right now.

I found out about Scrivener during NaNoWriMo last year.  It’s a Mac program, but they have been working on a release for Windows, and it’s been in beta for over 7 months now.  I’m anxiously awaiting the full release, which will hopefully be in July.  I admit, I haven’t fully explored Scrivener and all it can do, but I can say, even with my limited use of it, it has changed my writing life.  You can break up your book into moveable pieces, make notes, do outlines.  You can easily find a scene you want to look at, without having to scroll through pages and pages (and pages) as you would in Word.  I can’t wait to explore it more.

Someone on BoingBoing posted a link to a list of tips from writers, and wrote that the most valuable thing she took away from the list is Scrivener.  Yep, it’s that awesome.

What I took away from the list:

Writing on the Wall

Image by Indiana Public Media via Flickr

  • I would love a huge wall to write on.  Whiteboard, chalkboard, or maybe just a wall I paint over every so often.  A big place to write down ideas, storyboard, timeline events, etc.
  • I need to write every day.  I’ve known this for…ever, of course, but I really need to do it.  Even if it’s only five minutes, I must write every day.
  • I need to get my characters in trouble.  I know this, but I love them, so I don’t want to hurt them.  But pain is a key component of survival.  I need to remember that.
  • I need to find a way to deal with distractions.  I read that Jonathan Franzen has an old laptop stripped of all distractions, including the internet, and has pretty much nothing but that laptop, a desk, and a chair in a room.  I don’t know that I can do that, but it’s probably exactly what I need.
  • I really need to get into a writing group.
  • Maybe I’ll look into a residency program next summer…hmmmm.

I love sticky, noisy keyboard keys.  I know, I’m a weirdo, I don’t care.  I’ve wanted an old-fashioned typewriter for years, but I realize it’s not practical – you know, since it’s not in an editable format.  I wondered if there was a typewriter-like keyboard somewhere out there in the world, and discovered you can make your own!  It’s well beyond my technical expertise, but maybe I can get one of my technologically inclined friends to give it a go.  Or, maybe I can buy one online...for $800…

Yeah, I’ll add that to my Christmas list…

One Story Blog made a list of the best short stories.  I’m embarrassed to say I think I’ve only read one of those on the short list, and only a couple more from the long list.  But it got me thinking about some of my favorite short stories:

How’s this for random fun?  “Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at ‘Philosophy.’”  No, really, try it!

Categories: On Writing, Random, Writer Sara Johnson | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Favorite Things

(***This post was originally posted on Open Salon on March 6, 2011, in response to an Open Call for Favorite things.  Please see this post about my decision to migrate to WordPress…if you’re interested.***)

In response to Alysa Salzberg’s Open Call, I submit the following things that bring me joy lately:

All things Firefly.  I was a Buffy and Angel fan, but came to the Firefly game a little late.  I’m not sure why I ended up watching it on DVD, but I immediately fell in love, and introduced the (sadly, cancelled) series to friends.  They gave me a quote tee-shirt for Christmas this year (see below – “Also, I can kill you with my brain.”).  Jayne slays me with lines like “I’ll be in my bunk” and “It’s my very favorite gun,” and my love for Summer Glau is immeasurable.  Every time Nathan Fillion eludes to it on Castle, I squee (especially when he showed up on Halloween in his Malcolm Reynolds outfit).  Lately, there has been a lot going on on the Firefly front.  Fillion made an off-hand comment recently that he would buy the franchise if he won the California Lottery, and Browncoats (aka: fans of the show) immediately seized on the opportunity to show support.  While I don’t think more Firefly is likely to happen, I would love to see it.

Also, I can kill you with my brain.

My new teacup.  I have plenty of large mugs, but one day I decided I wanted a proper teacup and saucer.  A visit to a local antique mall uncovered this cute little gem, complete with pretty much every zodiac/good luck symbol you could imagine.  On the outside, it says, “Perchance this cup will show it thee.   Would’st thy fortune like to see?”  (Seems like those sentences should be reversed, but that’s what it says.)


My Haiku bag.  Another recent Christmas gift.  I have a little Acer notebook, and really wanted a bag that I could carry it in.  Being particular, as I am, I wanted very specific things – a bag that went across the chest, so it wouldn’t kill my back, and the ability to use it as a regular purse, sans computer (IOW, I didn’t want a laptop bag).  My friend found me The Perfect Bag, and it’s only gotten more perfect over the last couple of months.

Haiku bag

(Haiku Laptop Courier Bag available at REI.)

My japa mala.  I have been wanting a japa mala for a while now, but really wanted to make my own.  I finally sucked it up and made one.  It’s just simple, cheap wood beads, and I hope one day to get more significant beads and make a new one, but for now, this one makes me happy.

japa mala

Scrivener.  I’ve never had a Mac.  I grew up on a PC, and that’s what I’ve always had.  So I didn’t know anything about this software called Scrivener until last November, when I discovered Scrivener for Windows.  It’s in beta right now, due to be released in early April, and I’ve already requested it for my birthday.  I now understand why I could never finish a book in Word.  Trying to edit and revise 70,000 words all at once is…daunting.  But break it up into little moveable parts, with the ability to make notes, and…well, let’s just say I’m getting closer.

Metafilter.  Random news, sometimes weird, sometimes beautiful, sometimes boring.  My favorite post of all time (the one I still tell people about) is people playing Roomba Frogger on 6th Street in Austin.

Margaret & Helen.  A friend of mine (Thanks, Paula!) recently introduced me to this blog, and I was an instant addict.  I love little old ladies who say it like it is.  Screw being PC, screw worrying what people think about you, and screw anyone who messes with Helen.

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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