/begin random thoughts

Do you remember when vans were cool?

Scooby Doo rode around in one, so did the A-Team.  Heck, my aunt and uncle came to town one year and had one that was really tricked out.  You had the shag carpet (floor AND walls, of course), the swivel chair (very Bond.), the booth in the back with the table (“…and the kids can sit back here and play games when we’re on long trips!”).  Vans were ~cool~.

Now, vans are creepy.

I mean, you see a van going down your street and what’s the first thing that pops into your head?  I know what pops into mine.  “CREEPY VAN!  HEY EVERYONE – LOOK!  CREEPY VAN!  CREEPY SERIAL KILLER VAN GOING DOWN THE STREET!  RIGHT THERE – DO YOU SEE IT? OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD!”

* * *

Passion overrules reason with the majority of people (my own, humble opinon, of course).

When someone is passionate about something, anything, they tend to not like anyone who disagrees with them or contradicts what they believe.  This leads to attacks; attacking the person verbally, dismissing them, undermining them, attempting to lower their value and worth which raises your own (right?).  In the extreme, this can lead to violence.

Politics is a perfect example of passion overruling reason.  My mom will tell you how much she hates people on the opposite side of the aisle.  She will spout what is really just political rhetoric; that sort of grandiose, all encompassing statements meant to fuel peoples passions and dull the reason centers of their brains (all sides do this, btw).  She’ll bandy about words and prhases like: evil, nazi, hate, uncaring, despicable, they don’t care about people, they only care about themselves, they don’t listen, they only want to hear themselves talking, talk, talk, talk.  But she can’t point to specific or rational examples of these points and gets flustered and angry when anyone points that out or tries to draw more out of her.  it’s not just my mom, though.  I think everyone reacts in a similar fashion, regardless of subject, when their passion is enflamed and people around them don’t immediately agree and bolster them.

Passion isn’t necessarily about things making sense in a rational, logical way.  Passion is about emotion.  We can ignore a lot when engulfed in passion, and that’s when we get into trouble.

* * *

I installed Scrivener on my Macs a little bit ago.  Scrivener is this program for writers that is intended to help you write by taking away the burden of all the other stuff that comes with writing.

Let me esplain.  One could spend hours playing with Word.  I, for one, have dug through all the little settings in Word and stripped out things like ‘convert single quotes to curly quotes’ because that breaks web browsers and I do a lot of web stuff.  You can also setup things like: margins, indents, text size, headers, footers, fonts, blah, blah, blah and when you’re all done and it’s time to submit your piece to someone for consideration, you have to go through and redo everything to match the submission guidelines.

One of the features of Scrivener is that it takes all that out of your hands.  You can setup your writing environment however you like, but when you export, it’s always gonna export it according to submission guidelines, which it keeps separate from your gui settings.  That’s #1.

The second cool thing that it does is organization.  When I first started using Word to write, I would do one chapter per doc, save each chapter in a folder for the project, then move on.  Jumping from chapter to chapter involved opening multiple docs.  Later, I started keeping a ‘running file’ where I would copy/paste each chapter so I had the piece I was working on, and a reference piece in a single doc.  The more complicated the project, the more complicated and messy this system got.  Plus, I never figured out how to do notes and stuff like that, so I also would have a little notepad going or another doc with my notes in it running, so at least 3 Word docs going at any one time.

Moving to Mac when I dumped Windows, my methods didn’t change much.

Enter Scrivener.  It organizes things really well.  You can have chapters broken down by scenes, each scene its own piece but still part of the whole.  You can have scenes nested with other scenes or in folders.  You can edit all the scenes of your chapter at once (a slight color change from scene to scene tells you where the breaks are), or one at a time, or two at a time with a split screen or you can even have the same scene open at different parts – very, very slick.

You can have notes and synopsis without having to dig around for it, flag things, mark the stage in revisions where a particular piece is at (draft,revised draft, final draft) or create your own, custom stage names (crap, utter crap, volcanic neon crapola).  You can attach photos and articles and pdf’s and a slew of other things to your manuscript in a handy research area.  Best of all, you can switch between different views of your manuscript including outlines or storyboard / cork-board.

I want to say that it has already made me more productive because I feel more productive.  I dumped my WIP in and immediately starting playing around and learning how things worked and what worked for me.  Soon, I found myself taking full advantage of the features I didn’t think I’d ever use (like the outline piece and notes).  In the middle of a scene and need to remember something you’ve written ten chapters ago?  No problem – it’s all right there in the doc and there’s a couple ways to find it.

I think I’m in love…

/end random thoughts

~P