Gone Fish^H^H^H^HWriting

Hit 25K words total on the current work in progress.  Looks like the prologue is actually going to end up somewhere around chapter two.  As frequently happens in any endeavor, initial plans (and outlines) have been modified and altered as things progressed.

In terms of tools, I started off using Google Docs.  It became apparently quickly that while that's a great thing for short (4-5 page) editing, it doesn't quite work for longer form stuff.  I tried splitting things up into separate chapters.  Then separate scenes in each chapter.  That was kind of OK, but I kept forgetting where I was, and keeping all my research notes organized was a hassle, and geez I wish I could search everything at once...

At which point, I recalled a "writer's editor" that I heard mention of in the past. A quick search reminded me that I was thinking of Scrivener.  They had a 30-day free trial, and the features looked really, really good, but... I mean, you know how these specialized tools are.  You give them a try, and yeah, they do just what you need, but then you look at the price and...

Wait, what?  HOLY COW!  It's only $45?  Are you serious?  I can afford that!

At that point, I figured it had to be worth trying out.  I mean, yeah, maybe it was overhyped.  If it turned out it was a halfway decent editor, though, at least I could afford it, and anything had to be better than a bunch of random Google Docs strewn all over the place.

So I downloaded it, spent an evening going through the tutorials, and... wow.  I'm a programmer in my day job, so I've got some pretty strong opinions on editors.  Scrivener does a lot of things right.   A lot of things.  It's got some quirks, but overall, it's amazing.  What really sold me on it, though, was the way it lets you put things in multiple documents within a project and "compile" them to produce a final product.

This is exactly what I was trying to do in Google Docs, poorly.

It's like they read my mind or something.

It took me just a few minutes to import my work to date from Google Docs.  Then I spent about an hour refactoring it (which is a highly technical programmer term that means "split it up and shove it around").  When I was done, I had a document structure that reflected my outline, split into chapters and scenes.

Writing a book?  Hard.  Writing that one scene? Then that other scene?  Then jotting down some notes?  That's a whole lot simpler.  A couple of days later, I had doubled my word count, imported a bunch of reference docs, and had notes and metadata all through my work in progress.

I'm sold.

The only thing that I was kinda sorta worried about was backup.  Scrivener will do automatic backups of your project to any local drive, but I wanted something on remote storage.  For a couple of reasons, just mounting Google Drive or Dropbox or whatnot locally is not an option for me.

Then a friend at work mentioned something called rclone, which is a free command-line program that lets you sync files to a rather large number of cloud providers.

Did I mention I'm a programmer?  Command line tools are awesome.

It took me a few minutes to download an install rclone, get it set up to talk to my Google Drive account, and then I got to spend a couple of minutes writing and debugging a shell script to do periodic backups.  Of course, I wanted to generalize my backup script, so I needed to set up a couple of additional Scrivener projects - one for for some snippets I've been working on, another for the Sweepers story that I tried to do for last year's NaNoWriMo.

I suspect I'll create another for sermons and preaching notes before to long.  Scrivener just makes it so easy.

Scrivener and rclone.  A+++, highly recommended, would buy again.

1 comment:

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