NaNo Nightmare!

Well very nearly…I thought I’d jettisoned  6,000 words off into the wide blue yonder, never to be seen again. Did I panic – you betcha. Did I turn the air blue – umm more like purple actually. It truly was a horrendous moment – especially since my brain went into total freeze mode for a little while, and refused to come up with any bright suggestions.

It happened when I downloaded a trial version of the writers’ software Scrivener. I’d been reading lots of good things about it, and thought it would be just the thing to help me get a bit of structure into my NaNo novel. I think I’ve already ‘fessed up to the fact that where books are concerned, I fall very much into the ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ category, instead of being a sane and sensible person and doing at least a tiny bit of planning beforehand.

This Scrivener doohickey is really good at the organising side of things. It allows you to separate your work into manageable chunks, and even has a rather cool virtual corkboard where you can pin index cards with notes about every section or chapter and shuffle them round to your heart’s content.

Scrivener 2.0

Image by mortsan via Flickr

You can also do index cards with notes about your characters – any details you like really, but colour of eyes would be one obvious thing. It can be so easy to have your characters start off life with sparkling blue eyes only to have them turn mysteriously brown halfway through the story!

Apparently some critics are a bit sniffy about Scrivener’s corkboard – they’re obviously far more grown up and serious about their writing than I am, because I think it’s fun, and I’m all for getting a bit of fun into the process. Anything that can achieve the ultimate miracle of getting me even remotely organised has to be a blessing as well.

However – and I’m quite sure it wasn’t Scrivener’s fault in the slightest – but at my first attempt at downloading my precious NaNo baby – I somehow managed to lose a great chunk of it. The most recent bit – the bit I hadn’t backed up and saved and sent to myself in an email and generally done all the other things you’re supposed to do to ensure the survival of your deathless prose.

Have you ever seen a grown writer cry? It was damn close – actually no tears were shed, but after all the gnashing they endured my poor teeth will never be the same again.  I am happy – nay, ecstatic – to be able to tell you the tale doth have a happy ending. I may not have backed up the 6,000 words, but thank heavens I had them on one of those wee memory stick thingies – a memory stick which by some stroke of irony – I had completely forgotten about. All hail to the inventor of memory stick thingies.

So – my NaNo count now stands at 31160, and I am quite chuffed with that – but way too cautious to be smug about it. Anything could happen in the next 20,000 words and don’t I know it.

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9 thoughts on “NaNo Nightmare!

  1. Phew – glad you retrieved it, Gilly. Have heard of Scrivener but have never seen it. Is it of use to total pansters like me? You’re doing well – I’m still unsure that I’m working on the right novel!

  2. Whoa, I feel your pain Gilly! No wonder the air turned purple. Hallelujah for forgotten memory sticks (now that’s an oxymoron if ever there was one). Isn’t writing software fun? I’m using one called ‘Storyist’ and it too has a corkboard. ‘Yarny’ looks interesting at well…however, that will be played with *after* November.

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