About lexyneedham

I'm a writer and dreamer, muddling through life with the help of many, many words.

I have bitten the bullet

I’ve been using WriteWay for years, because I got it before Scrivener was available on Windows. Now, though, I have two new computers and no access to the email address I used to buy it, so I need to purchase it again. As I’m at that stage, I’ve downloaded the Scrivener trial to see if I like it as much as WriteWay.

I Have a Cunning Plan

Since the disastrous meeting of apple squash and my story notes, I’ve been sort of drifting aimlessly through the plot, and that worked out really well… Wait, I mean the other thing. I’ve got four scenes, not in any sort of order, possibly not all relevant to the story.

This time, it was A3 paper and many colours. It did take a while to figure out what I needed to exorcise the details, and I cycled through post-it notes, note cards, notebooks and Evernote before the penny dropped and I decided that what I really needed was to cover the whole of the kitchen table.

Mind map showing characters, plot events, locations and a SWOT analysis.

Nothing beats a mind map for planning. I started out with my characters in the top right corner, then (because I’m a masochist) I did a SWOT analysis for the business, then fished out my key plot events, the romance subplot and then finished off with my locations.

After a week of failing to work this out, I managed the lot in a couple of hours. Next I need to transfer it into an organised layout (coming right up… tomorrow), and then stick it to my wall and get on with writing.

Of course, there’s a disadvantage with pen and paper

I had a stack of notes, a page for the overall story arc, a page for each section, and a few pages of characters. Loose sheets for sticking to walls when I needed them.
Had is the operative word here.

I also had a pint of squash, but when the pair came together across the kitchen table I lost both. When I write on my computer, I save to my external hard drive and to Google Drive in the same action. I should back up more, but the only computer problems I’ve actually had have been losing small backups (I have memory sticks everywhere, but never the one I need) and just not having computer access. It’s a lot harder to put down a computer and forget where you left it, or spill a pint of liquid over it.

Rule 1: Backup. And then backup again.
Rule 2: Backup some more.

I should know this. The last ten years have been the sort of years where losing my work would be a Very Bad Thing. GCSEs, A levels, degree, ten years of NaNoWriMo, living overseas for six months, really not a good time to lose things irretrievably. So all my work stuff is in one attaché case, the journal I keep my notes in, my business plan, even my passport.

Yeah. I’ll just, um… Go and fix that. And get out a really big piece of paper to redo all my plot notes.

Our cat fails at catting

We’re pretty sure that last night he fell in the pond. The back half was wet and muddy, the front half was just sad. It’s only a shallow little pond, but he wasn’t pleased. We got him mostly dry and gave him a wipe down and then brushed him, and finally let him be to go and lick his wounded pride.

Aren’t cats supposed to be sleek, elegant creatures? He once fell off a chair by lifting his leg to wash it. And when we took him for his jabs he escaped from the carrier and hid under the seat instead. One day I will write a children’s book about him and his brother, who is as sure as Tyb is clumsy and likes to climb… everything.

The nice thing about pen and paper is that they work

This morning I had my bi-weekly writing group in town, where I showed off just how little I’d got done in the intervening fortnight, but did scribble down a new idea for a novel about an allotment.

Then I came home and fought some more with my new computer. It… doesn’t want to install Windows 7. This seems to be a fairly common problem, judging by the number of results when you search for “Windows 7 hangs at startup screen during clean install”. (About 17 and a half million, if you’re curious, but I didn’t get beyond the first page of people having the same problem as me to see if they were all relevant.) As far as I can tell, Windows have said nothing on the subject. People seem to have solved the problem by swapping out their power supply, RAM cards, hard drives, all USB attachments and video cards, to find the culprit. I do not have the components available to do that, and as it was delivered yesterday, I don’t feel I should have to.

So I am going to have to get them to take it back, and ask that they check that Windows 7 will install on it. I do have another computer, but it doesn’t run Sims. This makes me a very sad panda.

Tomorrow, though, I am going to watch morris dancing, so I might have to set my mother on them. That’s always fun, and gets the job done.

What I’ve Been Doing

I’ve been a very busy girl. A very busy and slightly nervous girl. A couple of months ago, I blogged about starting a business. I’ve mentioned it a few times since then, but everything was waiting on the flat sale. The flat sale went through a couple of weeks ago, and as a result everything has started trundling again. As a result, I am now bursting onto the internet like a sparkler. Continue reading

Sweat the Small Stuff

I am, first and foremost, a fanfiction writer.  Even when I’m writing original fiction, it’s usually fanfiction of a larger work I’ve not got round to writing yet. The thrill of fanfic, for me, is finding the spaces within the story and filling them. It’s a bit like going on holiday, and wandering the back streets and drinking in bars where they don’t speak English rather than sticking to the tourist trail. The main plot is important, but behind the scenes I can find my own story.

Perhaps because of this, I am a bit anal about my details. Not completely, not to the level of my brother, who once made detailed notes about the real-world weather for each event in his novel and never got around to writing it. But I check routes on Google Maps, research fashion and technology to avoid anachronisms, and build my houses on Sims so I know exactly what I’m looking at. BBC, please take note. (This post will contain spoilers for Doctor Who and Torchwood, and as much of Happy Valley as I gleaned from the promotional material)

Continue reading

This is not an easy horse to remount

Blogging is a habit I find it very, very easy to get out of. I make plans too far in advance, and then a couple of days throws them out. A couple of months, and now I can’t even remember what my blogging plan was. There was writing, and there was Tuesday Toolsday, I think? I probably blogged it somewhere. Now I’m staring up at the mountain, wondering how to get back to the base camp I fell from. Don’t worry, though. I have a cunning plan. Continue reading