How I write and the tools I use

My Tools

I write on Mac, using a program called Scrivener.  Scrivener is a great tool for both writing and organising work.  What Scrivener does well is sort your work into chapters and scenes, these can be easily moved within the manuscript.  When it comes to publishing the program will compile and spit out a formatted document in MOBI format (or PDF or Print or whatever you need).

In addition Scrivener also allows background material to be produced and stored within the same project-I find this useful for character development and world building.

There is also mobile version of Scrivener and I find this really useful for editing while on the move.

For editing I use two programs, one is Naturally Speaking.  I find it really useful to hear the text read aloud, it helps me spot missed or repeated words.

I have recently started to use an automated grammar and style checker called Pro-Writing Aid.  This program is just awesome.  It checks for problems in text such as grammatical errors, awkward sentences, unnecessary words (Adverbs in particular).  Some care is needed as it is easy to sanitize your text but  overall this a great tool, essential if you do not have the budget for a pro edit.

There are times when a standard word processor is also handy, I use LibreOffice Writer, because it is free and works like word used to!

Away from the keyboard I have notebook, I scribble ideas in it when the occur to me.  Quite often the notebook stores concepts and ideas for later books.  It often holds lines of dialogue and random character names.

Finally I have a paper dictionary and a thesaurus.  While online versions of these exist and the software has its own built in tools; I find that it’s often better to break from the screen and physically look something up.  It’s good exercise for the mind and eyes.

How I Write

I’m not going into outlining and planning here-that’s a whole other post, I’ll just explain a little how I get started and what I tend do.

I usually write late evening – after 10pm.  This has become a habit and in some ways that’s good thing, but it does mean I can suffer when I am tired.  From a habitual point of view I aim to do something everyday.  If I am not writing, I am editing.   If I am not editing I am world building or coming up with ideas. Making it a habit means I make progress.

I don’t produce the first draft completely before I start editing.  I will often break from writing and rough edit previous chapters, I find this useful as it tells me where I need to pick up the pace and highlights potential pot holes.  In Ark of Souls I had one character pop up at a location before he had left to go there, I aim to remove that sort of stuff before I get full editing.

Overall it takes me about a year to have my first rough cut and then around six months to edit toward publication.

Other Stuff

Right now I am totally independent.  I’m rely on myself for editing and cover design.  I also produce my own website and handle my own marketing.  I would rather outsource all of these processes; but cold economics come into play.

My ultimate aim is to buy in services, so every penny I earn from book sales goes back into writing.  In real terms that means books 2 should have a budget of sorts.

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