Tricks and Trade

For obvious reasons I've always worked in Microsoft Word. It's what's on my computer and the new version is improved enough so that I was able to plod along despite it lacking some features I kinda thought I wanted but had been able to do without.

Last year, right when I was in the thick of tweaking More Than This (Touchstone, August '09), I got desperately mired in plot, pages and perspective. Since I was adapting the story from a screenplay I wrote (when I was dumb and hopeful) and it involves two main characters telling the story in alternating first person p.o.v. there was a lot to keep track of. I went as far as to learn a lot more about Word than I ever wanted, like how to make a table of contents and why an index is handy but not what I'll ever need to use unless I write that non-fiction book idea I've been thinking about.

So I asked my friend Paula who is such a clean writer, all her stuff just squeaks on the page, what she used to keep everything straight. She turned me on to a program that had so many doodads and thingamabobs that I went screaming back to Word. My brain just wasn't in the mood to absorb so many options. But last week, after I'd finished my outline for Book 2, I started poking around again. After downloading trail versions of various plotting, outlining and word processing programs I settled on WriteItNow ($49.95 for the download version)

What is does is take the many separate Word documents I've created (outline, character sketches, pitch sheet, chapters) and keeps them in one window.

Now, I'll admit, I tried to tweak the layout so it looks like Word (I use the Print Layout so even though I'm not actually typing on a sheet it gives me the impression that I am) but WriteItNow is not Word and you just type into one big window so the sentences look longer and thinner to me which has taken some getting used to.

Besides saying see you later to Word, not goodbye because I'll be submitting in Word, I'll also admit to another mind trick to make writing easier. Sometimes, when things are tough, I'll "listen" to a Brain Sync's Increase Creativity. It's supposed to-through "pure and precisely tuned sound waves that balance right and left hemispheres of your brain"--uh, increase creativity. Alls I know is that it makes 60 minutes pass in a snap and I do get a lot of typing done. And some days, really, that's all a person can ask for.

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