Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cabin Redux

Well, I’m 3 1/2 weeks into my 5 week stint at the cabin along with the family. It has been a time for us to relax. To go for walks down by the lake. To go to the fine dining establishment just down the road (It’s called The Hole in the Wall, built in an old Texaco station in a Spanish/Mexican style building and listed in the top 200 restaurants in Canada, I’m not kidding--we only could afford to go once, but it is soooo worth it). Oh, and we’re there to work, too.
Yep, work. I usually get my most work done in August because there are no interruptions. And my multi-project schedule seems to really be helping. Here’s my Monday-Saturday routine.
1st hour--write at least 1 page on my project for adults and work on a book that I’m writing with another author (it’s a secret project so I can’t tell you any more than that).
2nd & 3rd hour--work on the rewrite of Worse Than Starkers, a book about a boy who is struck by lightning.
4th & 5th hour--work on the 1st book in The Hunchback Chronicles, which is retelling of The Hunchback story set in Victorian times.
Lunch
1 more hour on one of the above projects, sometimes 2 hours.

The rest of the day I read, go for a walk with my family, listen to an audiobook or do odd jobs around the cabin (I’m listening to The Amber Spyglass by Pullman and reading Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay).
The whole process of switching from project to project has really given me energy and focus. When I know I only have two hours I tend to work harder. And I find myself at a higher level of excitement than what I would have if I spent the whole 4 hours on 1 project. Many fresh ideas for all the projects have been sprouting, so switching back and forth actually seems to help in the “brainstorming” process.
The other big change is I started using a writing program called Scrivener. It’s brilliant and, uh, it’s only for Mac (there may be a similar program for PC’s, I don’t know). But this program enables you to write in a word-processor, but there is also a window that lists all your chapters, a HUD (heads up display) that has all the keywords like characters and place names. And another section that keeps all your files or websites right alongside the page they are referring to. That info appears in a split screen view. So for instance if you’re describing a certain street in London and you have a jpg of it, you can open it up in the split screen with a click of a button and write about it, then close it. All your research is right there, easily clickable. Anyway, if you’re interested (and on a Mac) check out the website. The final version of any novel will have to be written in Word or Pages or something like that because Scrivener doesn’t do all the page numbering and other stuff, this is just for the first ten or so drafts.

Oh, and watched Firefly, the series. It rocks. Such a shame it was cancelled.

There, that’s about it.
Cheers,
Art

2 comments:

Camille said...

We only discovered Firefly after it was canceled too. Loved it.

Arthur Slade said...

Yeah, it's such a shame. It's a brilliant bit o' TV.