It would be more fun if I were back in the ring with a new WIP drafting away. First drafts are heavyweights, epic battles. It’s you versus the blank page. It’s Ali-Frazier, it’s Balboa-Creed. It’s toe-to-toe, throwing the big punches. It’s prime time, baby.
But I’m back in the ring with a rewrite. The Gravity of Mammon? My online novel experiment? I wrote that as the second in a series, but now it looks like maybe it will have to be a standalone. So that will take some work. Plus, crime uber agent Stacia Decker had some on-point-as-usual recommendations about ratcheting things up in the back half of the book, and that lead to a whole ‘nother plot line I gotta weave in, and that will take a shit load of work.
But rewrites aren’t heavyweight fights. You can’t just wade in and swing from the heels. Little fucker will just throw jabs in your face and dance away all day and after fifteen rounds you’ll be all sweaty, your nose’ll be a little numb, and the cocky little bastard will win on points without ever once really laying a glove on you. Rewrites are lightweights. It’s all strategy and angles. Cutting down the ring, backing that slick little mofo into a corner so you can go to the body and break a few ribs.
If you’ve been following along, you know I’m no fan of planning. Outlines and mind maps and all that stuff, they just don’t work for me. I’m a seat-of-the-pants guy. Just the way it is. But you can’t be a seat-of-the-pants guy when you’re rewriting because you’ve already made the goddamn pants. You’ve decided on a style, you know how many legs there are, you’ve picked out a nice, garish plaid that’ll wake the dead at a zombie golf course. Now you’re doing tailoring. Taking shit in, letting shit out, maybe you’ve decided you want cuffs. But now you’ve gotta measure shit. Now you’re working within the confines of a story you’ve already created. Now there is an internal logic. Characters already know who they are. Things are happening in a certain order. You can’t just ignore all that.
So now I am outlining crap, just to make sure I remember where shit goes. And I find myself doing things like searching the document for a character’s name so I can remember what chapter they show up in. So I keep a copy of the doc open in a second window so I can search in that without losing my place in the document I’m working in. And then sometimes I’ll forget what document I’m working in and start editing the wrong one. And then I have to copy the crap I just wrote out of the search doc and drop it into the revisions doc. Annoying shit like that. And it makes me wonder if maybe I’m using the wrong tools. Also, if I’m just a dumb ass.
I was thinking, hey, I should upload my story into my shiny new Kindle – I can search there, highlight stuff, even make little notes. And no way I’ll accidently start typing on that puppy. Then I remembered people talking about these novel-writing software programs. My initial reaction when I heard about those was, “Hey, Shakespeare didn’t use no program. Steinbeck didn’t use no program. Hemingway didn’t use no program.” Of course, Shakespeare wrote with the pointy end of a feather. Also, I’m not Shakespeare. Or Steinbeck. Or Hemingway. I’m just a marginally talented schmuck still looking for his first book deal. I can use all the help I can get. So I Google up that shit, and I see a mess of options there, including this free one, Storybook. And I like free. So I read their spiel and it all sounds pretty good. But I’ve been working in marketing for a long time. I’ve written copy that sells shit. I know you can make unprotected anal sex with a syphilitic man whore sound pretty good if you pitch it right.
So I’m asking. Any of you guys use any of these writer programs? Which ones? They any good? Or am I a procrastinating workman wasting my time blaming my tools when I should just muddle ahead in my traditional Luddite fashion.