Project: Jaipur and Thanks Vicente

Well I downloaded Scrivener 3 the other day and have had a couple of days using so far. Not got to grips with all it can do yet but I am liking it so far. I didn't use it on Friday for Microcosms, I just stuck with Pages. Nice to get a quick story out and today it got a Honourable Mention from the first time judge Vincente Ruiz. Thank you Vicente!

Be Happy

Yesterday in forty minutes of writing I completed the first 700 words on Project: Jaipur. That works out at about 1000 words an hour; I can happily live with that for now. Not sure how long I wrote for today but it was another 1400 words or so - (so maybe an hour and a half) and I also wrote a quick story for Flash Feed, where I am currently ranked as a St Bernard. Woof! The prompt is the grinning bearded man above. If it strikes you as interesting then there's still time to get on over there and get a story out.

Bernie
That's me on the right.
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Scrivener Trial

Downloaded Scrivener 3 for a Trial tonight. It was always going to happen, wasn't it?

It's nice that the 'thirty day trial' is for thirty days that you actually use it and not just from when you download it (the seven days of the iA Writer flew by and I probably only used it on three or four days). Should get me plenty of opportunity to see what it can do. It's obviously a lot more complex that iA (understatement). The pdf guide on the website is almost 850 pages for crying out loud!

Will let you know how it goes ...

Scrivener



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iA Writer Trial Over

The iA Writer software trial is over. It's only a week long and the time absolutely flew. I must say it is a really nice environment to write in. I used it for a couple of the FlashFeed and a Microcosms piece. Thoroughly recommended for writing shorter pieces. But as expected I am hoping to write some longer pieces this year and beyond so I think I'll be investing in Scrivener 3 at some point soon so can't justify spending £20 on this on top of the £44 for Scrivener.

The last thing I wrote using it was the first 1113 words of
Project: Sarah Hughes. It's nice to get one of the two projects begun even if none of those words end up being used in the final story. As all writers say about writing the primary advice is JUST WRITE and who am I to argue?

Get Writing. Keep Writing.

Links:

iA Writer
Scrivener
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Whittling

The other day I sat down with my notebook from last year and looked at the plan for 2017. Boy, it was full of good ideas and intentions, but I failed to deliver. My bad.

I'd have been better off just choosing one to go with and attack that, surely? Maybe, maybe not. When I raised this on my beloved Twitter the other day Steph said write for all the projects and see which ones work the best and I think that is probably a fine idea - as long as I don't use it as an excuse to procrastinate.

whittle

So for this year I've whittled the projects down to five (yes, that does not sound like serious whittling) - and I haven't even included the Semi-Mythical "Fergie Time" from NaNo.

  • Project 1 - HbSt1 - Fantasy
  • Project 2 - TT1 - YA Fantasy
  • Project 3 - PS - Short story anthology
  • Project 4 - LRA - None Fiction
  • Project 5 - 2HAB - Fiction (comedy)

As I sat looking at the notebook I found myself asking some questions about the projects, including; which stories (or premise of) were the most interesting and which ones would be fun to write and get invested in? I think if it is going to be fun and/or most interesting to write I am more likely to get stuck in and run with it.

So from having five projects which were pretty equal in possibilities I got to a point where I could put them into a priority order.

The short story anthology could be relatively easy to complete, but I'm more interested right now in writing a novel or novella length piece so having that as an aim will just take me away from focusing on that aim. There is a similar argument with the none-fiction work - which also may be of limited interest. That leaves the three novel ideas. For the first one (HbSt1) I have a good idea for world setting and I think it has great possibilities, but I don't have
the story to tell yet in that world. Clearly, unless an idea pops into existence within my grasp, that project should be put on the back burner. As for Projects 2 and 5 I have the story ideas together already.

That means then I have indeed whittled - I really have - and come down to two novel ideas to work on: 2HAB and TT1. It'll be much better to work on two than five. And then if one takes off then all the better.

Before I get stuck into these two beauties I need to do one thing though... I can't call them "Project 2" and "Project 5" and certainly not "2HAB" and "TT1". I need to give them cooler project titles. So what do you give them? Well, me being me, naming the projects after beers or breweries seems like a mighty fine idea (and can be extended infinitely). Here we go then:

2HAB is now
Project: Jaipur
TT1 is
Project: Sarah Hughes

and for completion's sake, and a bit of fun, in case I dip back into the others:

HbSt1 is
Project: Neptune
PS is
Project: Tiny Rebel
LRA is
Project: Plum Porter

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Steps Stopped

Today was my last day wearing my Fitbit, so you won't be seeing anymore pointless Tweets saying how many steps @zevonesque did yesterday (it was 14,644 steps today).

I found the data from the Fitbit itself (an Alta) quite interesting. Basically it showed that nine times out of ten on a working day I well exceeded the standard 10k steps 'recommended' - and 'achieved' a maximum somewhere over 20k. On days off it was hit and miss whether I hit the 10k or not.

Basically it measured what I was doing anyway, but I wasn't using it as a motivational tool - it wasn't changing what I was doing. To that end I am going to go totally old school and return to wearing an analogue watch. I'll still be able to tell the time but I won't have a record of how many steps I've made and I won't have to charge the damn thing.

So what have I learnt: I know the above. On average I walk between 150 and 190 miles a month or 11-12k steps/day. Apparently I have walked further than the equivalent of the length of Italy. As I haven't used the Fitbit to change what I do then I'll still be doing that anyway. Whoopee Do! (sarcastic)

I've already deauthorised the device from my Fitbit account and the Alta is moving on to a new home tomorrow. Hopefully it will prove useful, or at least interesting, to the new owner.

Fairwell Alta. It's been mildly interesting.
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More Class

Class Songs Of The Days

Put the next ten days of songs on to
Buffer ready to go on my Twitter feed each day at 8am @zevonesque #ClassSongOfTheDay

Amazingly that will take me up to
289 songs, which means that there is just over another two months before I'll have completed a year of tunes without missing a day and without repeating an artist (although I've cheekily done a few band and then solo acts from them, but hey they're different acts). After the year I can drown you all in Warren Zevon, Wilco, Ryan Adams and Bob Dylan. And Boney-M ...

GramP

Keep listening.

#ClassSongOfTheDay


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Writing Software Options

I have used StoryMill a little in the past which I quite liked, however it is an old version (Version 3) and now keeps crashing to a point of uselessness on my Mac. An 'update' to Version 4 would cost £39 - almost as much getting the new Scrivener3 which I'm now quite minded to do. But rather than splash £44 out on that without seeing if I can find a cheaper option I've downloaded a Trial Version of iA Writer, which I have never used before. Not sure how long the Trial lasts, but will use it for a while to see whether to spend £20 on it or whether I should go the whole hog with Scrivener.

My initial view is that Scrivener may be better for my attempts at novel writing. But the 'distraction free' page of iA may prove enticing in a different way. From reading about it online it does actually have quite a few options with respect to Markdown (which I haven't used before but appears very simple) and Viewing the document etc. It seems it will be a case of practicing and getting used to how to access and use these options to the point where I get what works best for me.

Ultimately though it's probably a case of whether the multitude bells, whistles and orchestra of Scrivener outweigh the simplicity of iA.

Anyone else had experience of using Scrivener3 or iA Writer, or any other Mac based writing software?

(and yes, I typed this up in the iA)
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Writing and Twitter Democracy

This week I've written three (yes three) FlashFeeds and one Microcosms; not bad over a five or six day period. They were all between 300 and about 370 words. The one day I didn't write I was out putting some thoughts on paper together on what my main target(s) could be for this year's writing. Anyone who follows my Twitter feed knows I am struggling with a multitude of ideas and not sure which to target yet. I think that Steph Ellis who suggested getting on with all of them and seeing which runs best seems a fine idea - if a tad MA-HOOSSIVE.

The other writing I've tasked myself with is doing some memoir pieces and to that end I put out my first ever Twitter vote with the choices between; Russia, Turkmenistan, China, and Nigeria. The results are in ...

Turk

It's the fabulously bizarre Turkmenistan. Where the hell am I going to start and end with that one (other than Turkmenistan)!?

Thanks to all the bods who voted. Just glad to receive more than a couple of votes! Who says democracy is dead?



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Reading & Writing

Reading

Forty plus books is the aim again this year. And I've got piles on the floor now as well as the ones on the shelves; so no need for any more visits to second-hand (or new) bookshops is there? Yeah, right.

Yesterday I was in Penmaenmawr and there is that great bookshop there. So when I got home I had a HB copy of Ray Bradbury's '
Death is a Lonely Business', Iain M. Banks 'Inversions' and Sherri S Tepper's 'Gibbon's Decline & Fall'. So I think I must have gone in.

I seem to have bought three or four Iain M.Banks recently from that bookshop. I need to get on to them!

Not going to identify all my reading in advance - as my bookshop visits keep changing what I have - I'll just go with the flow, but reading this year will have to include some of these book piles then i.e. some
Iain M Banks and "Name of the Rose", "The Underground Railroad" and the last two of the Gormenghast trilogy. And as far as a basic plan goes that will be it (and I probably won't achieve this either).

Writing

Set myself a goal of writing everyday. I just need to not let it drift with life and that damn sleeping thing getting in the way. A provisional goal of circa 500 words/day seems reasonable, but two days in and I've done about 350 each day. These have just been flash stories for
FlashFeed (1.12 and 1.13). To be fair if the word limit had been 500 then I probably would have fulfilled the goal and I think it is not the number that matters but simply getting into the habit of daily writing.


FF1-13
FlashFeed1.13

Now I've done the FlashFeeds then tomorrow will be writing for something else. What though? TBC.
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Writing Plans. Sometime.

All this thinking about reading and writing.... well? Well, when am I going to get time to think about it? Not got a Scooby.

So no update yet on a plan. I am however thinking that I should just make sure I set a daily target, something like 500 words a day. I think that would make a good target whatever the words may be spent on. Just making the concerted effort of regularly getting anything down on paper will be a good habit to get into however well aimed the words may be; 5 days in to 2018 and I ain't written much at all yet.

I'm of on a beer trip tomorrow so this 500 word goal I'll start from Sunday.

Will let you know how I get on (with the words on Sunday and the beer trip!)
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2017 Reading

2017 was a cracking year for reading and thanks to Goodreads I've got all the covers bar one er, covered below (the missing cover was one for a non-fiction book about Charles Dickens). In addition to these 48 books I also beta-read a novel which I expect to see come out this year from one of the FlashDogs.

In terms of the reading as per usual it has an SF & Fantasy bias:

  • Over half the reading - 25 books - was of SF or Fantasy.
    • Five of these were Terry Pratchett.
  • Three history/geography books.
  • Two books about writing.
  • One book about beer/pubs (Liverpool).
  • One book on music (Wilco).
  • One on football (Liverpool of course).
  • One on the planets.
  • Classics, included books/plays by: Shakespeare, Doris Lessing, William Golding, Mervyn Peake, Graham Greene, John Steinbeck and JRR Tolkien.
  • Oh, and I'm only featured in one of them (The Infernal Clock: Calendark)

I'd set myself a goal on GoodReads of reading 40 books which I exceeded. I've set myself the same goal for 2018 as rather than upping it I'd like to think some of the books I won't be reading will be because I'm writing some more. Haven't made specific plans on reading goals but I suspect that it will end up being broadly the same (though I'm running out of Pratchett's to go after!).

Reading and writing are both great hobbies. So the next time you are complaining that there's nothing on the telly - or you find yourself in a Twitter Refresh stall - then pick up a book (or write one). Then again go pick up a paintbrush or guitar. Or crochet needles. Whatever, get creative folks.

And so that is my first little blog for 2018 finished - I dare say the next one may involve more writing goals than reading ones. Here's to a fab 2018.

2017 Books 1
2017 Books 2
2017 Books 3


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