Emmie Mears
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Crash, Crash, Boom

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Crash, Crash, Boom

That’s the sound of my Scrivener Beta tonight. I got all excited thinking that today I could get my NaNo winner’s discounted full version, only to be punctured with a big, shiny pin that has “DECEMBER 2” engraved across its length.

My hopes and dreams, as depicted by www.loveourcanucks.com.

I’ve been working away in spite of the many (many, many) times Scrivener has crashed on me. I’m awfully lucky it saves all the time. Aside from its seeming inability to stay open for more than thirty minutes at a time, I love Scrivener. I love that I can separate my beast of a novel into chapters and further into scenes. That’s what has occupied my time for the last couple hours, along with fixing some punctuation that didn’t import correctly with the rest of the file. It organizes everything neatly into easy-to-manage bits instead of having to wield a novel and try to edit the thing like trying to sculpt Mount Rushmore with a hammer and a chisel.

Get out your tools. Image via Encyclopedia Brittanica, credit Getty Images.

As I have a heap of work to do on this monstrosity in the next fifty days (!!!), I love the features that allow me to move around those chunks of text within the manuscript and restructure things, insert others, and just generally act like you are writing with building blocks instead of 120,000+ words that need painstakingly detailed arrangement.

Much easier. Image via www.startbreakingfree.com

In short, I love it. I can’t wait to get my NaNo winner’s discounted full version tomorrow. (Grumble, grumble — wanted it today.) I just hope it doesn’t bug out on me after I install the full version. Even if it does, I tweeted the company, and got a response in seconds letting me know that there is a responsive support staff available, so that makes me more confident.

I’m really itching to get this novel polished and pretty. I know it’s a lot to expect in 50 days (again I say !!!), but I feel pretty confident that I can make it happen. Here’s what’s going on in this revision:

1. Name changes. I realized, much to my dismay, that a few of my character names bore resemblance to other series’ characters, and I changed the name of my protagonist from Sarah to Tarah (pronounced TAR-uh). It’s close enough that I won’t sit in a befuddled wash of confusion trying to remember what to type, but sounds different pronounced. I also changed another character’s name from Damon to Gabriel. He’s a Big Bad, and as his back story is entwined with a character named Elaine’s, he needed to change. (Growl, Vampire Diaries.) Luckily, those sorts of changes are as simple as running a quick Find and Replace. Done and done.

2. Switching my underlines to italics. So once upon a time (and verified today), I read that agents and publishers prefer to have paper manuscripts formatted in Courier font with underlining instead of italics because of some very important reason that has slipped my mind at the moment. When I wrote the second draft of Primeval, that’s exactly what I did in an effort to save myself the inevitable migraine I get when trying to format a large document in Word in one fell swoop. Then I read that most don’t care as long as the font is legible (I’m sticking with Courier to play it safe), and that italics are okay. I’ll venture out into italics, because underlining looks stupid to my eyes.

3. Structure. I know. Ouch. This is supposed to be the polishing draft, no? Why am I doing a major structural revision? Well, a couple reasons. *Big Announcer Voice* Are you ready for bullet points?!

Get it? Bullets, with points. Get it?!! These ones came from portwallpaper.com

  • I have three acts, but the climax fell into a weird place.
  • I have no Big Bad to defeat, really. It’s a trilogy, so the ultimate Big Bad won’t be defeated till the last book, and Mr. Gabriel is necessary to keep around for a while because he is deliciously fun to write and has some parts to play later on.
  • I want my books to sell, and the (possibly unfortunate) truth about that is that you have to bow to the Gods of Structure if you want that to happen. Structure Scripture dictates that your protagonist defeats a Big Bad, even if there’s going to be a Bigger Bad next time around. I’m not saying it’s impossible to buck that trend, but let’s face it. When did you last read a bestseller that left the primary antagonist sitting around picking his nose at the end?

Suffice it to say that I’ve gots me work cut out for me. Now if I can keep my new toy open, I’m going to get back to work.

Have a lovely evening, gentle viewers, and try not to pick your noses too much.

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Author | Emmie Comments | 7 Date | December 1, 2011

comments

Antigone's Clamor

I love the names you re-chose for your characters! I intensely dislike it in books when they defeat a Big Bad in the first novel. All the ones after that feel a little too forced for my taste.

I’d love to read your book, if you’re looking for readers/proofers. If not, I totally understand. 🙂

December 1, 2011 | 9:39 pm

    emmiemears

    Thanks! I’m quite happy with them as well.

    My choice for solving the conundrum will help twofold — one, it gives me a semi-Big Bad to defeat in the first novel, and two, said semi-Big Bad plays into the third novel’s prologue (which is back story), which I think readers will enjoy a lot.

    I am definitely looking for readers right now! I am trying to get this thing looking good, and I am to the point of begging for new perspectives. If you send me your email address, I will send it your way. 🙂

    December 1, 2011 | 10:24 pm

tmso

I tried Scrivener, too, and stopped using it because it crashed a lot. I’m back to using Word, but it Scrivener beacons. Let us know if the full version is stable or not.

December 1, 2011 | 10:18 pm

    emmiemears

    I love Scrivener’s features. I will keep you posted on how it works out for me. You can get it for $20 as of tomorrow since you won NaNo, which is quite awesome. I plan to download it as soon as I can.

    December 1, 2011 | 11:09 pm

Chris G.

Well now that it’s the new day, and hopefully you have it now, has the happiness resumed? Haven’t tried Scriviner myself, mostly *because* of all the bugs I’ve heard related to it, and the issues folks have been having…so like tmso, let me know if it works for you.

As to the italics…yeah, publishers and the like have been gradually weaning down old views on that one. More also seem to be accepting Times News Roman for their manuscripts in addition to the old standard Courier. Curious to see the motions the industry goes in.

Good to hear your thought process on the big bad issue, though I could give a couple examples of books that managed the non-big-bad-defeat scenario in a first book, and kept a successful (I.E. well-selling) series going. Robin Hobb’s Rain Wilds Chronicles books, for example. But yes, generally, one does need at least a lesser bad to defeat in that first book…just don’t make him too powerful/entrenched/godly a figure, as it always feels somewhat lackluster for the characters to go through such a massive, epic struggle in the first book, only for the next couple to go, “Oh, him? Well, actually, he was just a peon. But THESE guys…much more powerful. So of course it’s more dramatic…”

C’est la vie.

December 2, 2011 | 1:01 pm

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