Category Archives: Writing

Thoughts on writing, both general thoughts and relevant to anything I might be hacking away at, or thinking of thinking of hacking away at…

Well, at least that week is over

OpenSSL 2014 ... Heartbleed bug What you need ...

I’m afraid the real world has crept in and made a mess of both blogging and writing this week. No doubt, you’ve probably heard about Heartbleed by now. If you need a Dummies Guide to what it is, I can’t recommend a better source than the geek comic XKCD – this comic covers it all in a neat nutshell infographic. If you haven’t, don’t panic, but do make an effort to follow the obvious steps and change your passwords and then panic. If you use an application like Lastpass, all the better – Lastpass (and presumably other security services) have added awareness of heartbleed and will let you know which sites you should probably change your password on – and which ones you should change it on as soon as they get around to patching.

Sadly, all this day jobing and patching and such has left little time – or interest – in writing. I’m a little flummoxed on where that leaves me with Writeageddon. I haven’t given up (and let Mason win) yet, but I’m teetering. I’m just not into the story I’m writing right now, and nothing else is really overwhelming my brain.

Wife calls this my “typical Spring behavior.” As if my creative bouts could be predicted by a regular circadian rhythm as defined by the seasons. [Reads through his own paper journal and collected stats.] OK, there might be some truth to that.

All right, enough griping. Off to read something – if I can’t write, at least I can sit in someone else’s world for a while and stew.

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The end of the first week of Writeageddon

When I was full of bravado and ego (not quite 7 days ago), I scoffed at the paltry goal of 2,500 words a week.

English: So many words to keep track of!.

English: So many words to keep track of!. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I know from past writing tracking (thanks Jamie Rubin for teaching me those tricks!), there is a cadence to my writing habits, and that over time the amount I write per day up ticks until it settles around 1,000 words a day.

I have not reached that peak yet. In fact, this week has been such a struggle to get some words, any words, out of my head and onto the screen that at my lowest this week, I barely put down 200 words. Ouch.

That said, the writing continues. Today I should hit the first week’s goal of 2,500 words (currently sitting at 2,159), with a full day still ahead of me to finish minding that gap. So, for week one, I’d have to say I’m on track, but its been a struggle sometimes. I no longer feel as confident that I will be able to whip this before the end of September (the natural finish date for 2,500 words a week), but I haven’t given up hope yet.

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Today I did write – Writeageddon day 1.

coffee cup

coffee cup (Photo credit: Terry Freedman)

Today is the first day of the self proclaimed writeageddon, and not as shaky a start as I expected. Nothing spectacular today – 500+ words during lunch – but that’s still more than I’ve written since finishing the first draft of A Mountain Fell From Heaven. Add on to that that for the day job it was a late night (it is April Fool’s after all) and I’ve had about 5 hours of sleep, not too shabby for exhaustion.

Now to do it again…tomorrow.

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Write-ageddon starts in a few days (so you still have time to join in!)


words (Photo credit: ceoln)

Sometimes, one thing leads to another. This is one of them. Mason and I have something in common – we’ve been fooled into thinking we might be able to write. After what might be a long time of talking about it, and half hearted stabs at it, we’ve both agreed to put our words where our mouths are and actually have an almost competition.

Almost. And you can join in if you want!

Here’s the deal: Starting April first, we’ll be posting to each other our writing progress weekly. There might be some manuscript sharing involved, but don’t let that scare you away. Our pseudoscientific method of throwing numbers up in the air and letting a castrated chicken peck out which ones we should use suggests that even with work and unexpected surprises, we should be able to average about 2,500 words a week, which is just over 350 a day. The initial goal is 75,000 words total. More is fine, but at 75,000 we’ve A) hit my normal max and B) gotten to a point that if you aren’t done yet, you’ve written a fair commitments worth and will probably keep on until it is done.

Want to participate? You’re welcome to! Just drop me a line, either in the comments, email, twitter, facebooks, someplace where I read messages addressed to me that isn’t also a creepy revelation of your stalkerness, and we’ll get you setup. If enough people join in, why, it could become its own movement. What would the kids think then?

Yes. I’ve done the math, I realize that at 2,500 words a week, to reach 75,000 words is roughly 7 and a half months of work. That’s when I point out that that 2,500 words is an average minimum, not the upper goal, for a week. Doing less will be frowned on, doing more is fine. There are no rewards, no prizes, not even adulations. Mason thinks he will whip me with this. I think he’s right. This exercise is just to verify that. But it sure would be something if we had another participant join in, a dark horse, an unknown factor….you!

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And the winner is…

Scrivener (software)

I just couldn’t do it, folks. I wanted to, oh I wanted to, but I just couldn’t break up with Scrivener. Before I get to that, let me tell you some things…

The good

Storyist on the iPad? Phenomenal. It was everything we dream Scrivener’s foray onto iOS will be. All of the elements of the desktop version are present, synchronizing via dropbox is mindnumbingly easy, and frankly, it just works. Editor, cork board, outliner, it’s all present, functional, and intuitively easy to work with.

The bad

The desktop of Storyist is awkward. In a lot of ways, it looks very similar to Scrivener, but it lacks polish. One thing I really liked was how index cards are grouped by the chapter, but still visible en masse. That was nice.

Unfortunately, the meat of why you’re using a program like Storyist was needlessly difficult. Maybe I’m a little spoiled with Scrivener, but when you offer a binder like sidebar that displays chapters and scenes, don’t make it so confusing to actually work with them. In Scrivener, each scene is a solitary file. In Storyist, everything is really one large file, which makes planning ahead, even for a pantser like myself, well, confusing.  You see, if you’ve sketched out a dozen scenes or so, maybe in the outliner, and then switch back to manuscript mode, you can’t tell which scene you’re working in. What you see is a column of nicely centered hash marks. Where do you put the text? Not sure. I couldn’t easily  tell where I was in a document to know what scene I was adding text to. That makes it hard to work.

Talk about spoiled? I’ve grown so accustomed to the presentation layer and the compile layer being able to be different, I felt stifled when Storyist only appears to have the same static view for everything.

The (sadly) obvious choice

I liked being able to switch to the iPad in situ, working with the same tools in the same document as on my desktop. I really, really did. I’ve grown weary of L&L yearly promise that sometime in the  year they might have the iOS version. I like them, they’ve always been really friendly (ok, at least DJ is, and DJ puts up with me on twitter, so that speaks volumes).

But beside all of that, Scrivener really is the tool I find easier to work with on the desktop. Sure, there were some features in Storyist that had appeal, but the meat of it was just too clunky. Add to that that Storyist costs twice as much as the initial purchase of Scrivener, and you can see where this is going.

L&L folks, if you stumble on this – give us something for the tablet! Meanwhile, I have a write off in the works with a friend in Arizona. Must get busy.

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