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what the voices in my head tell me to write

Thursday, February 17, 2011

sometimes you really do need the right tool for the job 

For quite a while now I have been trying to write a novel. Its more like a collection of short stories that kind of link together and cross over all around a common theme. Up to now I have basically been using a mixture of Evernote for research, a remote SVN for versioning and a remote project hosted at Projectlocker.com for cloud based svn and backup and of course vim as an editor.

Then recently I have been using JDarkroom to cut out the distractions of twitter, blogs, email, IM etc. (Pulling the network connection on your pc also works too)

The problem is that everything is becoming very complex with the novel. At the last count there are a dozen or so major locations and around 30 or so "major" characters, some of which turn up in several locations. None of it is strictly linear in terms of time either. Think a bit like Catch-22 but with no central Yossarian character to hang everything and everyone on.

Basically its got too complex to keep in my head and a bunch of text files. Then there is all the research for various things ranging from survival techniques to artificial intelligence. (the latter is a lot easier to make up than the former). After a lot of head scratching I remembered something about a program called Scrivener but I had remembered that it was Mac only. Now there is a windows version (beta only but hey) and I have had a good play with it. I think its perfect for what I need. I can arrange and re-arrange things in its outliner, store all the research in one spot and even set up the editor like JDarkroom. Now to import all my current stuff to it and add the project to SVN although it does versioning itself too the remote backup is good of course.

Hopefully this will be a big help for me. I am running out of steam a bit with the novel and I think this will enable me to get a good picture of what is going on in different threads of the story and help me tie up loose ends.

Permanent link and Comments posted by Rob Cornelius @ Thursday, February 17, 2011

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