Saturday, April 10, 2010

Writing Software...and Frustration!

I recently downloaded some software that is supposed to help you write.  It has sections for scenes, chapters, characters, settings and so on.  It was easy to install and looked easy to use.  HA!

Actually, it's probably just me.  I'm the world's most technologically challenged person.  It took me three days just to figure out how to operate my computer camera.  This software was just as bad, except I don't have three days to figure it out.

I'm working on an historical novel about pre-Civil War days...the Underground Railroad.  I thought I had my story line all figured out, so I set about writing the first few chapters.  Sounded good to me.  Sounded good to my critique group, except for a few things they pointed out.  So it's good, right?  Another HA!

My ICL instructor pointed out several things that were so obvious it was pitiful...things I should obviously have seen for myself.  So now I have to go back, regroup, and basically start all over again.  I wanted the software program to help me do this:  something where I could paste what I had already written in somewhere...preferably in a screen I could see while I was writing something else.  Then I could change, add, delete or whatever, but not have to write every single word over again.  Well, this softward doesn't do that...or, if it does, I can't figure it out.

So now I'm back to square one, and Word.  Talk about frustration!  Oh, I know I can do two screens at once in Word, but so far it still isn't working right.  I need to have what I've already written on one side, the new stuff I'm writing on the other side.  Word can do I'm told...but I still have to figure it out.  Husband is no help, he's more challenged than I am.  I may have to get my grandson to come over and show me how to do this.  You would never in a million years know that I've been using a computer for at least 15 years, would you?

I've decided to start doing some book reviews.  I'm reading the neatest book...The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly.  It's a middle grade novel and I'm anxious to finish it so I can review it.  "Calpurnia"...isn't that the neatest name?  Did you know that Julius Caesar's wife was named "Calpurnia?"

Stay tuned for the review.  So far it's a great book.

If you've ever used a writer's program software, and been successful with it, let me know!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

This and That

Happy Easter every one!  Hope you are all having a good day, enjoying friends and family, and the ever-present ham dinner.  Did you ever wonder why 'ham' is almost pre-determined to be THE meat for Easter dinner?  It seems so prosaic to have the same thing every single year.  But guess what, in my family "prosaic" is the name of the game.  One year I had roast lamb for Easter, and I've never heard the end of it.  Oh yes, we're having ham this year, only not today.  With the family's medical professions all over the place, Sundays don't seem to be a day we can all get together, so this Friday evening is our...ham...Easter dinner.  sigh...

I just began reading Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel.  Yes, I know, I'm probably years behind everyone else else, but nobody ever said I was the first one out of the gate.  Anyway, it seems to be a great book.  Of course, my ICL instructor may not think so when she gets my latest assignment.  I had hardly finished reading the second chapter when I got this "wonderful"  what if  idea.  You know how we're always supposed to ask what if such and such a thing happened?  Well, this particular what if  will throw the entire first part of my novel out...given that my instructor likes it.  Oh...what if she doesn't but I do?  Umm...I just thought of it, so I'm not really that invested in would mean a HUGE the long run, it might make the novel better.  But I guess I'll just wait until I get the assignment back and see what she says.

Last night we watched The Blind Side.  What a great movie!  No sex, no violence, no profanity, no horror, no vampires, no werewolves, no outlandish fantasy.  Oh my gosh!  How did Hollywood goof up and actually make a movie that didn't have at least one, and preferably all, of those elements in it?  It will probably be at least another 10 years or so before they make that mistake again!  What made is so great, though, was that someone thought enough of this boy to write his story and then try to get a movie made of it.  That's what made it totally AWESOME.