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It Don't Come Easy
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A couple days ago Mary and I sent off the manuscript of Nine for the Devil to Poisoned Pen Press. At one time that would have involved stuffing a ream of paper into an envelope, driving to the Post Office, and buying a small fortune in stamps. Now you just press "send" and the whole thing rockets off into cyberspace -- manuscript, glossary, character list, and .jpg map (or rather the rough draft thereof) all delivered more or less instantaneously to Scottsdale, Arizona.

If only the writing were that easy!

Believe me, I keep looking for a technological advance that will make it simpler for me to write. Word processors made it far easier for a non-typist like myself to select and put words into the desired order, which is what writing amounts to at its most basic level. But when it comes to forming and manipulating the ideas which the words ultimately express, I haven't found much help there.

Computer programs definitely are an aid in preserving ideas. My memory is dreadful and so I'm glad I can jot down fleeting thoughts in a note keeping program which won't forget them. And note keepers (I use one called KeyNote) can also help organize ideas and shuffle them around. Much better than the old boxes full of index cards I used to use.

Most of my part of Nine for the Devil I wrote in a small text-only note keeping program called MemPad which lets me keep all my research, notes, outlines, ideas, character sketches etc etc together for easy access. Probably it is mostly helpful from a psychological standpoint, making me feel like I've got things under control. Mary, for her part, just keeps a few text documents with notes and just...well...writes.


I have tried out various programs specially designed to help write novels but all the timelines and character lists and boxes for "motivation" and the like, strike me as far too much, or at any rate, reflect someone else's idea of how you go about putting together a book. All writers do it differently. If I could program I might be able to come up with something that would suit myself. (yWriter which was designed by a working sf writer comes close to being usable for me.)

So you can blame my long absence from this journal on the lack of suitable software to do my writing for me!

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