Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Writters Block

It's been a long time since I posted and there are many reasons excuses but the main reason was writers block. I'd written 17-18,000 words and had ground to a halt. I couldn't see how to move forward. The idea of painfully sitting and reading the whole thing with a red pen was excruciating. I did it for a while but Christ it was boring. I knew I needed a new approach if this was ever to move on.

I was reading Darcy Pattisons blog and somewhere she mentioned about spreadsheet editing and since I was messing around writing short stories and doing some e-book formatting in InDesign I needed another distraction.

Spreadsheet editing takes a series of columns labelled:

  • Section -  a number
  • Chapter - The chapter name or number. This includes several sections.
  • Purpose - Why is this section here what purpose does it serve
  • Time
    • Day
    • Time-of-day
  • Characters
    • Major
    • Minor
  • Setting  - In a living room in an office or wherever
  • Summary - I don't use this as a summary more of a place to keep all of the work that I've been editing. so it's the most up to date version of the novel
  • Follow Up - bits' that need to be researched websites, images etc.
I took my original draft and broke it down into sections and at last I had something I could look at in small chunks.

Once in the spreadsheet I tried to edit directly in there, but spreadsheets are crap for editing large amounts of text, despite working on a large widescreen monitor. So I went back to basics and copied the Summary text into Q10 which I keep on a USB flash drive with PortableApps installed.

And now because I'm only ever working in chunks of 500 or 1000 words  it's easier to see what I'm working on at any given time and therefore ensure that there are consistencies and because it's always in the spreadsheet I can see at glance that I've got the character names correct and should I need to move a scene around from one place to another I can.

So with things going again it's full steam ahead.