Wow. I fell off the blog-updating wagon there for a bit, didn’t I. But I have an excuse! You see:
I’m writing a book.
(Yes, yes, and trees are producing oxygen and the sun is transforming hydrogen into helium, I know.) It’s a pseudonymous work-for-hire book, so I can’t say too much about it, but it’s been rough going in a lot of ways. Short deadline. Required a fair bit of research. And I have a thoroughly unlikable main character, which is the right choice for a lot of reasons (and I hope pretty funny), but it’s not very nice spending so much time with this person, living in their head. I think I’ve finally picked up some momentum this week, though.
For the first time in my life, I’m really working from an outline, which is weirdly helpful. If I have no enthusiasm to write? I drag myself over to my chair, look at what’s supposed to happen next in the outline, and just make it happen. I learned long ago that, in terms of the end product, it doesn’t matter if the book flows forth from my fingers with invisible ease, or whether I have to hack every single word out of the living rock: the final work is indistinguishable to readers. So I don’t worry about that much anymore, at least. If I can keep working on this thing a little every day (and a lot on weekends), I should make my April 1 deadline.
My next book under contract — a roleplaying game tie-in for Pathfinder called City of the Fallen Sky — is also extensively outlined. (A detailed outline was required before I got a contract, actually.) Which is interesting, because it means the editor has already been in touch about what the cover art might look like, and what the characters should look like at a certain point in their story, etc. — because they know the story! (I have some wiggle room to improvise, fortunately. I’ve signposted where I’m going, but I have some freedom for how I get there.)
I’m still using Scrivener, and, yeah, for these projects, it works really well. For my usual free-form vague rambling — or let’s be fancy and say “organic” — approach to writing novels, I’m not sure Scrivener would have a benefit over really any other text editor or even a notebook and a pen, but it is very helpful for more schematic works. But I confess Scrivener would in fact serve perfectly adequately for those books, too, being a lovely text editor with some good features, so, sure: consider me a convert.
I didn’t quite break 40,000 words on the book-in-progress this weekend, but I will in the next day or two. It’ll all be over in six weeks or so. Then I’ll take a few weeks, write a couple of short stories I’ve promised people, and race onward to the Pathfinder book. It’s nice to be gainfully employed.