Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Fictional Romance writers - how do you organise your plot timelines?

For the Scrivener fictional writer and authors out there

How many of you use Aeon Timeline with Scrivener?

Aeon Timeline: http://www.scribblecode.com

I’ve been using Scrivener for years and recently wanted to learn more about it and found a blog a while ago (the exact name lost to me know), but in the comments, someone mentioned Aeon Timeline.  I’d been wanting to work out how I could use Scrivener to help me plot the timelines for my novel so this new piece of software intrigued me.

I searched out the website and trialled it and have now purchased the software.  The best part for me is that it syncs with Scrivener and is really easy and intuitive to use (well, after I watched a few quick tutorials).  I love the visual it gives me of how many days have passed since, for example:
Scrivener:  http://www.literatureandlatte.com

“Craig I’ve told you I don’t like you that way.  You are a friend, but I’m sorry, our relationship won’t every be more than that.” Sera regretted being harsh, but Craig wasn’t taking no for an answer and his actions towards her to go out with him were getting more and more aggressive.  Maybe she should stop coming to the gym and start avoiding him altogether?

However, in the chapter previously, Sera had been kidnapped and wouldn’t be going to the gym anytime soon.
This is quite obvious to you as you read it here but if you are the type of writer, like me, that writes a scene or chapter as the muse takes me, I can jump around my manuscript quite a bit.  I’m always moving and re-moving chapters as I change my mind on the order of events.
This is where Aeon Timeline helps me out because I can just look at the timeline and review the order of the chapters and events at a high level without having the re-read everything.  Of course I’ll do that during my edit phase, but when I’m in a buzz and just spilling out the ideas during planning and 1st draft it’s a massive help.
Aeon Timeline is viewed easily by Groups, Characters and Date/Times

This is just the tip of the iceberg for what Aeon is capable of as it can also help organise events into groups and keep your research.  I’m still learning best ways to work with these and see how it all syncs with Scrivener, especially as Scrivener is also so powerful and you can make changes to Aeon by changing values within Scrivener and vice-versa.
Scrivener holds all my research, notes, ideas, chapters, targets and since with Aeon - Brilliant!

Basically I think the combination of these 2 applications are awesome and are making my writing life easier and faster to get the writing from my head to the internet.

How about you?
Do you have a way of keeping your events in order?  
I’d love to hear about other ideas of what works and what doesn’t in the comments.

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Happy writing to all the writers out there and Happy reading to all the romance readers

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Caffeine Free Writer - True Story!

 I gave up Coffee cold turkey!

Can I still call myself a Writer?

As any other writer knows, especially those that are also a solo parent, is that coffee is a saviour.  You can’t function without it and get everything done in a day that you need to.
Well that was until 3 weeks ago.  I’ve been a wannabe writer forever and solo mum to my VERY energetic 5y.o. Together with a day job while trying to write in and around our life.  It was a struggle to give everyone involved quality time and I often lost out on my own quality time.  I’d often fall asleep while putting my little treasure to sleep at 7pm and wake at 2am with all the lights on and the kitchen needing to be cleaned.  How familiar is this to anyone out there?
So coffee has always been a luxury of mine before the boy was born, and then after it became a necessity.  It was my ‘go to’ trigger to help me take a quick break from stresses and rushing around.  I gave myself permission to stop and relax if I had a coffee in my hand.  I began to increase the dose and make them stronger and have them more often.  I became an addict.
Then one day recently I realised I was just constantly tired and getting no where fast with my brain muddled and foggy all the time.  I was struggling to remember basic stuff and if it wasn’t in my diary it didn’t happen.  I was even giving below par quality in my day job (oops, luckily the boss doesn’t read this blog).  Plus I hadn’t been writing for months — thought it was just writers block at first but realised it that I just couldn’t concentrate long enough to think to the next chapter and solve the obvious holes in my plot.

Then I made a very difficult and life changing decision to give up caffeine.

I know, I can hear your gasps of shock and disbelief from here.  

What I’ve discovered 3 weeks on (after a few days of paracetamol to get past the headaches), was that I’ve more energy, I’m eating better by consuming more energy foods and my brain has cleared of all the fog. I’ve also sorted my story so that it will be ready for release 31st July 2015.  Yeh! Well worth the effort.
But I really do have to mention it wasn’t the coffee causing my tiredness or fogginess - it was the fact I was always in a rush and looking for a quick fix that I would have a coffee followed by sugar (chocolate, biscuits etc).  Coffee was also my trigger to allow myself a break so I had to be strong to just allow myself to stop without the coffee cup.  I’ve switched to herbal tea but don’t actually need the same quantity of cups of tea I was having for coffee to feel the relaxation anymore.  I allow myself to stop and refresh by just stopping for a few minutes and have a walk around the house/office instead.  Actually really easy now I’m in a routine.
Also when I gave up coffee I had a breakfast of cereal, fruit, yoghurt, fruit smoothies or breakfast muesli bars instead of just a coffee in my travel mug in the car.
So in reality it was the fact I was eating better and putting energy into my body for it to use rather than the false uppers of coffee and sugar.  So naturally my body has more energy and my brain is functioning normally again - I’m eating better and not craving the same level of sugar I was before.  Maybe I should give up sugar too?   Hmmm, let’s see if I stick to being caffeine free for a bit first.

In conclusion I’ve decided I am still a writer and I’m now more productive so I’m happy with the change.  Although I do look wistfully at the coffee shop as I walk past it from time to time.

How about you?

  • Do you have a trigger that either keeps you writing or helps you relax and focus?  
  • I’d love to hear about other struggles and triumphs in the comments.

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Happy writing to all the writers out there and Happy reading to all the romance readers out there