Scrivener – My favorite writing tool

I stumbled upon Scrivener last spring while searching for a writing program to help me streamline my process.

Until then, I solely relied on MSWord and had two approaches to my keeping my stories organized. Some were broken into chapter files, while others were massive documents that I would have to scroll through to find where I’d last worked. (Those always trapped me into editing as I found my place to begin for the next day.)

My search criteria: reviews, functionality, and price. For me, Scrivener met all the requirements.

With Scrivener:

chapters appear all at one time and can be broken down into scenes,

there’s an option to create setting descriptions and character sketches,

and a cork board for brainstorming or posting ideas is provided.

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Scrivener won’t write your story for you, but it helps streamline the process. What is your most helpful writing tool?

If you’d like to learn more about Scrivener, click here to visit Literature and Latte.

 

Critique Tips

Before offering/receiving a critique, here are a few guidelines I try to keep in mind.

Photo Credit: Flickr by tsuacctnt

Photo Credit: Flickr by tsuacctnt

Every writer is a human being with feelings. Start the critique with positive observations. When a writer shares their work, it requires a level of vulnerability most people would avoid. Respect their efforts.

Writing requires time, effort, and talent. And while the amounts of each of those vary by individual, the end goal is similar—a book, poem, or story worth reading. Flagged items in your manuscript are opportunities for improvement. Treat them that way.

Be clear when describing what type of feedback you want. If you’re in the draft stages, you probably don’t need a line edit. I understand now that there are stages of editing, just like there are stages of writing. Why slip on your veil if the wedding isn’t until next month?

Be honest. I said start with a positive. I never said lie. You’ve been asked to critique their work because they want to improve. Help them.

Have more than one critique partner and understand what each offers. Does one have an eye for plot holes while the other practically smells dangling participles? Does one’s voice soften the harsh realities of the second? You need the cheerleaders and the ass kickers. But better yet, the ass-kicking cheerleaders.

Giving and getting critiques are important parts of the journey.

I wrote a short blog about critique partners in December. https://elsieelmore.com/2013/12/06/dont-go-it-alone/

Click here to see an article from The Search Guru with critique tips.

Sharing The Writing Process

The charming and talented Abby J. Reed asked me to join the Writing Process blog hop. And I’m glad I agreed.

Writing is an individual endeavor. I often forget that other writers might face similar challenges, experience the same satisfactions, and perhaps edit the same chapter fourteen times too. The Writing Process blog hop offered me a peek at the inner workings of other writers. (And made me think about my own.)

1) What are you working on?

I have two WIP’s right now. Two very different WIP’s. The first is a fairy tale retelling named Ryder and Wolfe that started as my Nano project. (A YA Fantasy with Paranormal elements.) It’s Red Riding Hood in 2014. With Red now a seventeen-year-old male named Ryder and the wolf a Mayor bent on finding donors to treat his family’s chronic condition. Finding grandma isn’t the only priority. I stepped away from this WIP while I worked on my edits (if you saw my post entitled Lost, this was the WIP I discussed)  and now I’m diving back in.

My second WIP is a YA contemporary. (I hope to keep it a contemporary. Demons may pop up at anytime.) That’s all I can share about that one. It’s not super secret, just super fragile 😉

I’m also in the editing stages of The Undead which will be published by Curiosity Quills this year. Katie Teller saw me pitching this story last year during Pitmad. Here are the two pitches I used: Corpses aren’t 16yo Lyla’s biggest problem. She can either save the brother she idolizes or the reaper she loves. YAPR     16 yo Lyla can save the reaper she’s falling for if she’s willing to sacrifice the brother she idolizes. YAPR

2) How does your work differ from others in its genre?
What an interesting question. To borrow from Forrest Gump, I feel like stories in the same genre are often like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get until you bite into one. Stories consist of the same ingredients, but the recipe of characters, conflict, pace and plot differs. That’s what  makes reading and writing so rewarding.
In The Undead, I approached the relationship between the brother and sister with a greater focus because it was my anchor. The Undead qualifies as paranormal with elements of horror, but I kept the gore along the lines of eerie and not unsettling. At least, that was my goal.
3) Why do you write what you do?
Because writing makes me happy, seriously. That seems like such a simple answer, but sometimes simple answers are the best. I write the stories that come to life in my mind and the YA genre is so rich and complicated. I love being here.
4) How does your writing process work?
Oh, heavens. I am Type A with tornado tendencies. I like things organized and planned, but my mind often operates chaotically. Creatively, I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person. When I first get an idea, I mull over it for a few days, test driving the plausibility in my mind. This is sometimes super challenging because I want to sit down and pound it out…immediately. But I’m learning to hold back and let it percolate. If I think I can run with the idea, I’ll jot down a few notes, maybe prepare a rough outline, and then take off. I use Scrivener to organize my work and my WIP stays in Scrivener until I’m ready for a real first edit. I then transfer the ms to MSWord for the remainder of the journey.
After I have a first draft, I go back and apply Dan Wells Seven Point Story Structure as a litmus test. (Backwards thinking I know, but it works for me.)
I also have awesome CP’s that exchange work with me along the way and hold me to my deadlines. (I use Text to Speech when editing and have my laptop read my story aloud.)
Thanks again to Abby Reed for inviting me to join the hop. Please look out for the following bloggers to join the hop between February 14th and February 21st.
Next week’s featured bloggers:

KisaWhipkeyKisa Whipkey is a dark fantasy author, a martial arts demo team expert, and a complete sucker for Cadbury Mini-eggs. She’s also the Editorial Director for YA/NA publisher, REUTS Publications. She developed a passion for storytelling at a young age and has pursued that love through animation, writing, video game design and demo teams until finally finding her home in editing. She believes in good storytelling, regardless of medium, and applauds anything featuring a snarky lead character, a complicated narrative structure, and brilliant/uncommon analogies. Currently, she lives in the soggy Pacific Northwest with her husband and plethora of electronics.

Her personal blog–featuring sarcastic commentary on all things storytelling–is located at www.kisawhipkey.com. Or connect with her via Twitter: @kisawhipkey. And, of course, to learn more about REUTS Publications, please visit www.reuts.com.

Kisa will be blogging about her writing process and her editor’s perspective.

jayrespic Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a Language Arts middle school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. Although she spent her youthful summers around Lake Michigan, she now lives in Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she’s thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Her books include the first two installments of her trilogy, 18 Things and 18 Truths. Visit her online via Twitter, Facebook, or at www.jamieayres.com.

self pic T.A. Brock spends her days gleefully plucking words from the chaos of life and dressing them up so they look pretty. Then she calls them stories and tries to convince people to read them. She resides in the great land of tornadoes (Oklahoma) with her husband, two children, and her beloved Kuerig machine.

You can catch her on Twitter @TA_Brock or visit her blog ta-brock.blogspot.com

 

Thanks again for stopping by. If you’d like to join the Writing Process Blog Hop to share your own story, let me know! And don’t forget to check out Kisa, Jamie, and T.A.’s blogs.

4Abby J Reed writes YA sci-fi novels that ask what if, whether set in a parallel world or in deep space. She snuck away from Wheaton College with an English and Writing Concentration degree and is one measly hour from finishing a Certificate in Christian Formation and Soul Care from Denver Seminary.

Abby wrestles with Chronic Migraine and is an active member of the Art Students League of Denver, where she lives with her sexy husband. If her hands aren’t on the keyboard, they are stained purple and blue with paint. Read more about Abby at Abby JReed.com